Yes, the “cloud” is becoming a term that is popping up more and more, but not everyone in the property management industry is clued in on what it is, or how they can take advantage of it. In general terms, the cloud is a manner of storing information securely and remotely, without worrying about significant storage in-house. So, if you have a property or a portfolio that you need to track data for, but don’t have a lot of storage space online or off, the cloud can help. Taking advantage of one of these systems may make life much easier for you and your firm.
For starters, having the ability to access your information anywhere can do wonders for business, and also eliminate pesky office clutter. Imagine an office where you didn’t have to print anything out, and you could easily jump from computer to computer to get ahold of any and all information you need.
On-Site provides one of these services, and we feel it’s quite an attractive option for property management companies. CloudFile will help when it comes to storing new information regarding lease agreements, rental applications and any other important company business, but the service will also help alleviate the storage space issue when retaining historical rental paperwork. This is an easy process, and you’ll be certain to see operational and cost efficiencies in no time at all.
Of course, before investing in any business product, performing due diligence is a must. Not to fear, as we’ve got all the As for your Qs.
Q: How do I get my files into the cloud?
A: Putting your files into the cloud is an easy task, and there are a couple ways to accomplish this. However, when just starting out with cloud storage, it is a good idea to take care of your electronic files before archiving your paper documentation—just so you have a basic understanding of how the system works. With CloudFile your electronic files can be added to the cloud by just dropping everything into the program window. It is really that simple. All it takes is a little time to transfer over, and you are all set. You can also organize them in any way that your company needs to make everything work. A good best practice is to organize files and folders the same way you have them in your physical filing cabinets. In this way you maintain some level of familiarity for your leasing staff that might otherwise be unfamiliar with cloud storage.
Paper documents aren’t any more difficult to put in the cloud. It will just take a little bit longer, because you need to convert the files into an electronic format first. This can be accomplished by scanning the documents into your computer using a flatbed scanner. Some commercial fax machines even allow you to scan and email the document to yourself. However, CloudFile allows you to cut to the chase by faxing the documents, with cover sheets separating the files, directly to the cloud. Generally, faxing documents is the fastest way to get paper documents into CloudFile en masse.
Q: How secure are my files?
A: High-end storage solutions, including CloudFile, use what is called “redundant storage.” This is a method where multiple class-A facilities across the country store your files independently of each other so that if one location is compromised due to natural disaster or some other catastrophic failure, your files remain secure in the co-location. This hosting system is considered first class and is both PCI compliant and SAS 70 certified.
Q: Who can access my files? How does the system deal with permission controls?
A: Permission to access, edit and remove files in this system is completely customizable. This can help make things easier if some information is only intended for certain roles within your company. CloudFile simplifies the permission setup process by using default permissions based on standard apartment industry roles like leasing agent, property manager, etc. (a feature that commercial solutions like Dropbox can’t match). Better yet, if you’re already an On-Site user, your pre-existing access levels will transfer over to CloudFile.
Q: What type of information can I put into the cloud?
A: Nearly anything. Any file or folder that you need to store can be uploaded to the cloud. Most cloud storage solutions place sever restrictions on what and how much you can upload. In contrast, CloudFile lets you upload almost any kind of file, including, but not limited to, Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, Word documents, videos, and photos. While individual files are limited to 10mb each, there are no total storage limits, so upload as much as you want.
Q: Can I have help setting up my system?
A: Yes. If you use On-Site, we’ll give you every bit of information that you need to ensure that CloudFile not only works for your company, but that all users are comfortable with it. On-Site has much experience in helping clients get started, and we’re here to answer any questions to help get your program up and running. Even after your initial setup we’ll continue to provide first-class support. Accidentally delete a file? We’ll help you retrieve it. Need to transfer a community in your portfolio to another property management company? We’ll provide you with a digital copy of all the files specific to that community.
Q: Aside from storing my files, how does cloud storage make it easier to find my files?
A: There are many features to cloud storage that make it easier to find files. CloudFile in particular includes a powerful search function that allows you to look up files by apartment number, file name and resident name (i.e. the resident associated with the file). CloudFile even tracks revisions so that you can recover older file versions at any time.