Tips for Effectively Managing Shared Data

Tips for Effectively Managing Shared Data

The beauty of computers and online files is that it eliminated the intra-office manila envelopes, the time to move them from one person to another, and the solution to that age-old question “What happened to that file? I thought I sent it to you?”. Or did it?

When there isn’t a clear understanding of how and where to store files, sharing them can get even fuzzier. Whether you store files in the cloud or on an in-house server (or both), you need to have a consistency in specific ways you use files so everyone understands how to access those files. It also keeps your files more secure when you have everyone follow a digital agreement.

Below are some of the guidelines you’ll want to address in a digital agreement with your employees. These tips make it easy for anyone to stay productive without spending a lot of time looking for files and helps ensure the security of your documents.

Document Names

One key ingredient to having files everyone can find it by encouraging a ‘naming convention’. Agreeing on how to name your files in a consistent manner can help anyone find the right file without having to open many or using the wrong version. Depending on what is important to you, some people use the date, project name, or client name followed by information that is pertinent.

  • 2019_09_01_Smith_Finalpresentation
  • BlueRoadProject_phase1_contractor_notes
  • SmithJoe_2019_09_01_waiver

Folder structure

Just as important is where you put the document. Folder structure is about allowing the people who need to have access, have it AND be able to find what they are looking for. Again, this depends on the way your company is set up, but some companies structure by projects, by clients, by dates, by teams that are working together, by department… it just depends on what makes the most sense for your company.


Data security is a big deal – especially when you have customer data or financial data. Ensuring that there is a policy and guideline that clearly identifies what is confidential, who can have access to certain documents and where to store them is critical to keeping data secure. Be sure to include whether they can have a copy on their hard drive, or how to edit or share sensitive documents safely.


While it certainly is easier just to allow everyone to access everything on the server or in your company cloud, it is risky. It’s much better to have a policy that regulates access only to the folders and files necessary for their position. Critical information, leadership information and especially human resources information should not be available to everyone. Plus, it only becomes more confusing to have so many folders they don’t need anyway.

Policy on hard drive documents

Even with cloud tech, some people are accustomed to putting documents on their personal hard drive. Encourage them to keep everything in the company files and have a policy around confidential files.

Auditing your security

While we don’t like being big brother on employees, to ensure that your data is not at risk, it is sometimes necessary. We’re not talking looking through people’s hard drives, but instead to have a program that watches your server or cloud storage that can audit who has been where. This will help you see where your security is weak or needs to be tweaked, who is accessing the wrong folders, and who is being consistent with files and folders and who is not.

Need more tips?

Contact us and we’ll help you find the right solution to keep your data safe, your employees productive and your technology headaches to a minimum.

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