There are multiple locations in which to save, file, store and organize electronic data. It is best to have one system that is considered the ‘master’ repository of data as well as clarity on each system and how it will be utilized. When there are too many systems and locations for data it can be difficult to manage and keep organized. The following are various storage locations for electronic documents and ways to use each;
Shared Drive (common shared folders): The Shared Drive is the common document location for all files relating to an organization unless the organization has a designated document management system. These documents usually contain key information that should be available throughout the organization. The common Shared Drive, along with IT Systems, are considered an ‘official’ record keeping location. Ideally, all documents that are pertinent and key to the organization should be available in the common Shared Drive.
Shared Drive (Personal folders/ H Drive): In most organizations, staff usually has a personal location on the shared drive that is often mapped to the letter H. Usually no other associates has access unless permission is given. Working and personal documents could be kept on the H drive. The H drive is also an appropriate location for all personnel or confidential files for a manager or supervisor. Ideally it is best to have ‘official’ records of an organization in a common repository and not located under someone’s own personal filing system. To learn more how to create an electronic file structure, see the article How to Organize Your Computer Documents.
Local Drive (or C drive): Some individuals prefer to keep their documents on their local hard drive, or C drive, and not on the network server because they find it is easier to access via home or other remote locations. The C or local drive is usually not backed up by IT departments therefore this data is at risk if the hard drive fails. This best location to store personal electronic data that is either on the personal shared drive (H drive) or an online cloud based system, such as Google Docs because either location is backed up and only accessible to the user.
Online Cloud Storage: Google Drive, DropBox and MS Skydrive are all examples of document online storage systems that have become popular with today’s workforce. Working, reference and personal documents could be kept in online cloud storage system. These systems do give users that ability to share data and collaborate on documents with users who do not have access to an organizations shared drive or network. it is recommended that pertinent, important and ‘official’ data to an organization also be saved on the common Shared Drive. See this blog entry, Organizing Documents in the Cloud for Mobile Devises, for more information on system options to organize electronic documents.