Organizing Your Files in the Cloud

Tara LevinCloud Computing, Legal IT

Cloud technology makes it easy and convenient to back up your files online. Rather than sift through stacks and boxes of physical papers and photos, you can now access all your files digitally in one place. To get the most utility from your cloud, make sure you take the time to organize your cloud so it can best serve your needs. Keeping your files neatly organized in an easy-to-navigate format will ensure you can locate exactly the file you’re looking for exactly when you need it. The following tips can serve as a starting point in your organizational efforts.

Create a system for naming your folders

Develop your own or decide on an existing system for naming your folders. TechSoup recommends using a simple system that you will easily remember, such as Date_Type_FolderName, where “Type” refers to either personal, work or other files. So, if you have a folder full of photos from a given legal case, you could label the folder October2018_[Case Name]. Keeping your folders organized like this will help you easily navigate through your cloud. You can simply scroll down chronologically to find the exact document or photo you’re looking for.

Create your folders and start moving files

It helps to create the folders before you start moving your files over so you have somewhere to put them and can avoid the clutter of random bits and pieces that all belong in different places. Once you’ve created and labeled your folders according to your naming system, you can start dragging and dropping files into their respective folders.

Tag your files

Every file on a system has a certain set of attributes like author name and date last modified called file properties. Another type of file property is called a tag. Designed for user customization, tags are a good way to make searching easier because they function as searchable keywords, according to TechRepublic. Use words and phrases that make sense to you when tagging your files. It helps to assign more than one tag to a file so you can search it up using multiple keyword terms. Consider tags like #evidence #finance or #testimony.

Create and use subfolders

Creating main folders may not be enough to tame the clutter of your files in the cloud. Organize files within your folders into subfolders, or even group your main folders into larger ones to make the navigation process easier. Make sure you use the same naming system from before so nothing gets confused in the added steps. It is also best to have the same subfolders in all your main folders. Consistency in organization makes navigation much easier.

It’s important to clear out the old before you implement the new. Consider taking the following two steps before you even begin setting up your cloud environment:

1. Declutter. Get rid of any files that have been sitting around untouched and which you no longer need.

2. Purge. Agile Law suggests adopting the “one touch” rule for this step. Pick up a file or document and decide whether to keep it, destroy it or store it, and then, most importantly, act on that decision. Don’t just set the file down just to deal with later. You should only have files that are open and active. Keeping closed files mixed in with open ones just creates more work as you sort through files to find the one that you need. Those closed files which you choose not to destroy can be stored in a folder like 2017_Archive.

Depending on how many files have compiled over the months or years it’s taken you to switch over to cloud storage, organizing can seem intimidating. However, as long as you make a little bit of progress each day, you will slowly but steadily work your way through the clutter and create the perfect organization structure for your needs. Learn about cloud storage and the Afinety Cloud Platform, designed specifically for lawyers.