Especially for remote teams, cloud-based file storage can be a critical part of the communication and collaboration process. The right file storage system makes it effortless for remote teams to cooperate, create documents, and keep sensitive data secure. On the other hand, the wrong solution can cost distributed teams time, causing frustration and confusion. To make sure you choose the right solution for your business, look for these six features of cloud-based file storage for remote teams.

Security

While all cloud-based file storage companies invest in protocols to keep your company's sensitive data safe, the details of these policies may vary. To keep your documents safe, look for providers that offer bank-level encryption, two-factor authentication, and encrypted automatic backups.

Depending on your team's needs, you may also want a solution with customizable permission settings based on users' roles within your organization. Being able to restrict viewing and editing for certain documents can help protect your data and maintain clarity for your company. 

Ease of use

Another critical component of online file sharing is ease-of-use. What makes a system easy to use will vary based on your team's file storage needs. However, there are some basic requirements to keep in mind.

Users should be able to view and edit files without downloading them to their devices. Accessing files via a web browser will save your team time on every update. In addition, make sure that the user interface and navigation are intuitive. Check for recognizable icons, clear labels, and modern design elements. Familiar editing tools can save employees time and energy that are better spent working on your business. Likewise, a flexible folder structure can help keep you and your team organized.

Real-time sync

Anyone who has experienced the frustration of being locked out of a document while a coworker edits it--or worse, realizing that you've both edited separate versions and now need to go about the arduous task of reconciling them--knows the importance of automatic, real-time file syncing. Beyond ruining your mood, desynchronized files can disrupt workflow, cause confusion, and result in errors.

For seamless remote work collaboration, choose a solution with real-time synchronization that enables individuals to view their teammates' changes as they are happening. This type of group-based editing will make colleagues feel as if they were in the same room together. 

Communication

The best file storage providers understand that their tools are used for more than simply saving documents. While real-time sync will assist greatly in encouraging collaboration, the best-in-class solutions come with additional tools for communication. These include the ability for users to tag one another, receive notifications when updates are made, and leave comments that are not directly a part of the document.

Automatic file versioning

Like many businesses, my team maintains Standard Operating Procedures, which are living documents and require frequent updates. We also prepare reports, white papers, and presentations that go through multiple drafts before being subjected to annual updates.

Automatic file versioning keeps a historical record of every update, helping us ensure quality with each iteration. Each version is timestamped, labeled with the user's name, and displays the changes that were made. If needed, we can easily review or revert to a previous version.

Integration with other systems

The final feature to look for when choosing a remote file storage system is integration with the other platforms where your team spends the majority of their working hours. Depending on your business, this might be your project management system, CRM, or primary communication tool. Integrating your files with a familiar platform can help your team maintain focus and productivity.

Ultimately, selecting the right cloud-based file storage solution means choosing the tool that best aligns with your team's needs, preferences, and workflows. Using these six requirements as a guideline will help ensure that you remove barriers from their day and enable them to do their best work.