Box is similar to Dropbox or Google Drive in that it is a cloud-based content management application that syncs with your desktop. It provides 10GB plus syncing capabilities with its free profile. Box can be accessed by any mobile devises such as iPad, iPhone, Android and tablets. It also has a very nice document preview capability without opening the document. Users can add comments and view versions with documents with a paid subscription to the app.
The advantage of Box over DropBox is that it allows online editing of documents and has 8 GB more space with a free account.
When restructuring the shared drive network, it is likely that there will be a considerable number of historical documents that need to be kept and archived. Often, records that are considered permanent, such as financial and personnel records, must be retained by the organization. Other records, such as strategy and business plans, provide history and background to an organization.
Historical data can be identified with the following criteria:
The data does not need to be accessed again and are solely being retained for historical and archival purposes;
The data are closed, completed, and finished, such as with projects and initiatives that do not have to be accessible;
The data relates to old businesses, sold assets, and dissolved entities or departments that do not need to be accessible but may be required for historical purposes; and/ or
Former employee work files (not their personnel file) that have been reviewed do not have to be accessible any longer but are still important to keep if future access is needed.
Be cautious moving historical data onto external hard drives. Although external hard drives are plug and play devices, once data is moved to an external hard drive it becomes forgotten and less accessible to staff. The following are ways to manage historical files on a Shared Drive network. These options should be discussed with IT and management before implementing an option.
Integrate into the file structure: Within the file structure, data can be organized chronologically to archive historical data, as shown in the screenshot below.
Create a “historical” file folder: A folder labeled Historical or Archive can be created in the first line of file folders. Within this folder a mirror image of the first line of folders (i.e., divisions of an organization) can be made. When documents become outdated for each division, they can be moved into the same topical folder in the historical folder. Or sub-files can be designed by year. As files and documents become outdated they can be moved into the appropriate historical year folder.
Archive them on a separate drive: Another option to manage historical data is to create a separate drive allocated on the server solely for archived and historical information. The structure can be designed in one of the options recommended above. Keeping the archived data on the server enables the data to be accessible quickly. It also will update files and documents automatically as software and operating systems are upgraded. Another option is to store historical and archive data on an external hard drive.
In Windows Explorer you can rename multiple files at one time, however it will the same file name with a sequential number at the end. To do this highlight or select all the files you want to rename in Windows Explorer, then right-click the first one and select Rename. Type your desired base file name and press Enter. All the files that were highlighted will be renamed to that exact same file name with a sequential number at the end. This is useful especially if you have pictures or graphics that are similar. Here are more details to do this function that applies to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and 8, How to Rename Multiple Documents in Windows XP.
All File Renamer,File Renamer and Rename are free applications that allow renaming of files, folders and documents in a batch mode and offer a lot more functionality. These tools actually allow you to change multiple files with only a partial change and not a full change. For instance, let’s say you have a client file and want to add to all the documents, the client name in the name of the document without changing the original file names, these utilities will do it.
Once you get the shared drive reorganized it is important to establish accountability and responsibility to help maintain file structure and organization. As organizations evolve and change, so do file structures and record guidelines. It is essential for a person or department be accountable for the documents, records, and knowledge of the organization to maintain good record keeping. This can be the IT department or a person can be identified in each department or area of the company or organization. This person could have a title called ‘Organization Record Manager’, ‘Department Shared Drive Manager’ or ‘Electronic Record Coordinator’.
The following is a list of possible duties that this person would be responsible for as it relates to documents and records on the Shared Drive network:
Planning and coordinating annual review and purge of the shared drive with their respective department or area
Updating the shared drive guidelines and/or policy
Periodic check and review of the file structure on the shared drive to ensure it is in accordance with the guidelines
If unknown or unauthorized files are found, investigate ownership and accountability
Providing training for new hires, including contractors or employees, on the shared drive structure and guidelines
Authorize user permissions for restricted files within the respective department or area
It is also important to establish end-user and staff accountability. The responsibility for managing individual files or documents should reside with the author, team, or department who created the original file. The document originator or end-user should be responsible for:
Managing owner or authored files and documents on the shared drive
Ensure the file and its contents are in accordance with the file structure and document naming conventions
Removing the file and/or document contents, per the retention guidelines
Establishing this accountability will help an organization to maintain good structure and organization on the shared drive as well as create accountability for all staff to be responsible for good record and file keeping for the organization.
Taking on the task of reorganization and structure of the shared drive can be daunting. It is important to choose the right internal person to assist and manage this type of project. This type of project requires someone or a team to create user-friendly, standardized, comprehensive, and extensive file structure, taxonomy and data/record management guidelines.
Sometimes an organization delegates the project to entry level or administrative staff. However, with limited decision-making authority, these individuals are often hesitant to change, alter, move, or remove files and documents from the shared drive network. Further, without buy-in from all employees, revised structures developed by one staff often can end up to be a short-term solution and not long lasting.
It is important for organizations to train internal personnel, engage a team, or hire consultants who have IT knowledge and understanding along with a clear process of how to facilitate groups to develop guidelines and an electronic file structure that can last into the future. These project managers or consultants are essentially in organizing the project, facilitating the process and providing counsel on data management best practices.
It is recommended in choosing internal personnel as project managers or project team participants to have the following skills;
A good understanding of server systems and shared drive networks
Excellent group facilitation skills; with the ability to foster dialogue and gain group consensus
Strong organizational skills and the ability to create file hierarchical systems and taxonomy
Strong skill in navigating and using functions and tools in Microsoft Office, and in particular Windows Explorer
Good knowledge of file extensions.
Information management, technology and professional organizing consultants can provide the service that offers the expertise needed to develop shared electronic file guidelines and structure. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.