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The Silver Lining in the Cloud

By Robert Covington

No one can deny these are unprecedented times. As if the current pandemic, political turmoil and civil unrest weren’t challenging enough, many families and businesses are now dealing with fires, hurricanes and tornadoes that have voracious appetites for destruction. Everything you have can go up in smoke, or down the drain, faster than you can say “flash flood.”

The recent fires in Southern California came close enough to Toshiba’s office, and even my house, forcing evacuations from both locations. Disasters facing others on the five o’clock news might result in evacuations, but until you are confronted with the reality it’s unlikely you give the “what would I take” question much thought.

While a little forethought, both at the office and at the house, may not spare disaster, it can make a little easier to recover.

You always hear “take important documents and photos.” These days, more and more documents and photos are digital. And while gone is the paper of the past, the storage media, be it laptop or hard drive is still subject to destruction from wrath of fires or other havoc.

Being prepared

My suggestion is to make a subtle change in how you store these digital documents.

Your laptop and even your MFP have massive hard disk drives that can easily store all of your documents. However, the safer alternative is to store all of your digital assets in “the cloud.”

Companies like Microsoft and Google offer cloud-based storage at a nominal monthly charge; probably less than you paid for that Pumpkin Spice Latte this morning. In fact, the Enterprise version of Microsoft Office 365 defaults to storing your documents in the cloud within your OneDrive account.

And low-cost connectors for Toshiba MFPs simplify the process of scanning documents directly to your accounts within the most popular cloud-based storage services. Documents stored in your cloud accounts can even be accessed conveniently from a Toshiba MFP to print and take with you.

Security and quick access

The perception that documents are safer being in your possession than stored remotely is tantamount to keeping your life savings under your mattress. It just doesn’t make sense anymore. The cloud offers the protection of being offsite, redundancy and back-up, security beyond anything the individual user may have, with virtually no chance of loss.

Another advantage of cloud storage is instant accessibility. Have you ever left the office, only to get that call from someone needing to see an important document? If stored in the cloud, a couple clicks on your phone, you’ve sent what is needed, and you can resume life.

Cloud storage isn’t going to prevent disaster, but it can make it easier to recover. It offers convenience and peace of mind that is hard to place a price on.

The recent wildfires out west lit a proverbial flame under my you-know-what. It was enough for me to make a few adjustments in how I store things to prepare for the next disaster. While the clouds may bring rain and potentially floods, I’m looking at the silver lining.

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