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Cloud-based services have been instrumental in helping employers around the world adapt to the sudden transition to remote work caused by COVID-19. According to a report by Devo Technology, 81% of organisations had accelerated their cloud transformation plans as a result of the pandemic. 

Cloud computing environments support agile teams, making it easy for remote workers to access their data, resources, tools and workloads from anywhere in the world — provided they have a secure internet connection, of course.

What’s more, remote or hybrid work set-ups are likely to become the norm in a post-pandemic world. According to a 2021 survey by RADA Business, nearly half of UK professionals want some form of remote work to continue permanently post-pandemic. 

This means that employers need to act quickly and embrace cloud-based tools to support their off-site teams. But with the sheer variety of tools, services and platforms out there, which ones can empower your remote teams while offering the best value for money?

We’ve put together a list of essential cloud-based tools to support different aspects of remote work.

1. Collaboration and communication — Microsoft Teams

Image source: Microsoft Teams 

One of the biggest concerns business leaders have about the exodus to remote work is that it creates barriers to effective communication, collaboration and teamwork. With people no longer in the same physical workplace, it can be easy to think that team cohesion and your hold on company culture are at risk. 

This is where cloud-based communication and collaboration tools come in. 

If your organisation already uses Microsoft tools and services, such as OneDrive and Office 365, it should be easy to adopt Microsoft Teams as your central communication platform. 

Teams allows remote workers to chat one-on-one or in a group, make video calls, share files, consolidate meeting notes and upload and download attachments. This reduces your reliance on emails and makes real-time communication fast and convenient. 

2. Task and project management — Asana

Image source: Asana

Although there are dozens of cloud-based project management platforms on the market, there’s a reason why companies keep going back to Asana.  

Asana is a task and project management service that consolidates all tasks and processes related to projects, increasing real-time visibility of your remote teams’ work in one platform. 

Asana lets project managers and administrators:

  • Assign specific tasks to specific members of your remote team
  • Create dependencies so that certain tasks are assigned only after certain tasks are marked complete
  • Create workflow templates for repetitive tasks
  • Organise tasks into sections

You can also automate weekly status reminders to prompt remote workers to send status updates and keep stakeholders apprised of pending and completed tasks, blockers and other to-dos.

According to the company, 80% of customers that use their platform report an increase in accountability on their teams, while 74% said that Asana enables them to meet deadlines more consistently. 

3. Shared storage — OneDrive

Image source: Microsoft OneDrive

Shared cloud storage is a vital component of any remote team’s workflow and processes. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of enterprise-level solutions, with the best service ultimately falling down to your team’s specific needs.

For example, if you want a cloud storage solution with excellent security features, you can’t go wrong with Microsoft OneDrive for Business. Aside from playing nicely with other Microsoft apps that you’re already using, OneDrive for Business uses disk-level and file-level data at rest encryption (DARE) to secure content. This per-file encryption system gives each file a unique encryption key for added security. 

Administrators can also set permissions, configurations and specific sharing settings to control access to your cloud storage environment and provide custom privileges to stakeholders like customers and clients. 

When in doubt, talk to a cloud expert

If you aren’t sure what cloud-based tools to choose for your remote workforce, it’s a good idea to consult a cloud services specialist to get an overview of your remote work needs and match them with an ideal cloud-based platform. These consultants can also factor in your budget to help you identify the cloud-based solutions that offer the best value for money. 

Author: Todd Gifford

Todd’s world can be a detailed and complex one. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (or CISSP for short), with over 20 years of experience in IT and Information Security, Todd helps customers understand the risks with their information, where it is stored and processed and how best to manage those risks in our ever-evolving digital world. He writes a mean blog and prides himself in turning technical language into simple sentences we can all understand.