Cloud software often makes headlines as a means to optimize business and convenience, and it is still a long ways off from becoming as mainstream in our lives as say, cell phones and USB ports but having access to your data anywhere isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about disaster-proofing. Not everyone understands the mechanics of cloud software, but they do come to understand that backups of your files are stored somewhere safe and can be made to appear out of thin air. Smart use of these programs means that the age of losing documents to hardware failure is almost over.
Software like Dropbox allows files to transcend the physical frailties of paper and ink. Not just in the sense that paper can be ripped or damaged, but that these documents can actually be made to exist in multiple places at once via the cloud. It is a level of data security that is unprecedented for the average consumer until recent times. It has gone even farther beyond just safely keeping information though. Functional use of electronic documents has been around since the first email attachment, and only continues to improve as electronic devices become more and more portable. Keith Krach’s Docusign has not only digitized important forms but their function as well; you can send legally binding signatures electronically and securely. It’s a seemingly mundane step up, but the translation of physical action to digital transmission with no real downside is probably the biggest step towards the future of business interaction. And consumers seem to agree, with Dropbox reporting 100 million users in 2012 and Docusign reporting 13 million and growing around the same time.
This becomes particularly relevant when you consider the recent surge of natural disasters. When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, many companies found out the hard way that data centers are just as susceptible to flooding and power outage as any other building. Entire data storages that only had backups in Sandy’s path were lost. The flip side of this is that those who took advantage of the clouds ability to easily allow data redundancy survived unscathed, and events like Sandy are highlighting the needs to keep data secure from all threats, including Mother Nature.