Use a Onehub Virtual Data Room to Maintain Bidder Anonymity

Onehub’s virtual data rooms make it simple to securely share sensitive information with multiple parties without them being aware of each other. Anonymity management allows you to solicit bids or investments in a controlled environment that’s optimized to support a profitable transaction for your business.

When is user anonymity important?

There are several instances where anonymity is key to successfully closing a deal. Below, we’ve highlighted just a few of the common use cases for virtual data rooms.

M&A auctions

An M&A auction allows a seller to probe the market for as many potential bidders as possible. This increases the chances that a company will find the perfect candidate for its merger or acquisition. The drawback is that the seller must share all of the company’s financial and proprietary information with each bidder. 

Onehub’s virtual data rooms enable a seller to collect all of the necessary information in one secure location and share it without revealing the identities of the other parties. This protects each bidder’s privacy while providing the access everyone needs to make decisions about their bids. 

Due Diligence

There’s no way to overstate the importance of due diligence, whether it’s for a simple property purchase or a complex business merger. Due diligence requires a massive amount of data to be collected and securely displayed for multiple interested parties. 

Until a few years ago, the due diligence process was paper-based and conducted in physical rooms. Thousands of pages of information had to be organized in a way that would make it simple for prospective buyers to review it. Data room access had to be carefully controlled and scheduled out so that the various interested parties retained their anonymity. 

With Onehub’s virtual data room, you can dramatically speed up the due diligence process without sacrificing the anonymity of potential buyers. The interested parties can access the data room from anywhere and at any time. Multiple people can be logged into the VDR simultaneously and never know anyone else is viewing the data. 

Property sales

Real estate firms and property owners often need to share property photos, building plans, contracts, tax documents, and many other files. Firms can use a virtual data room to house their data for multiple properties and customize access so potential buyers only see information for the properties they’re interested in. 

While in the data room, no user will be able to see the identities of anyone else or view what documents are being shared. Sellers are able to review the bids of several buyers and pick the best option, all without compromising any bidder’s anonymity. 

What happens if you don’t have bidder anonymity?

  • Potential for lower bid or sale price. If multiple bidders are aware of each other’s identities, they can organize against your company’s interests to control the sale price. 
  • Negatively impact the bidder’s financial interests. For example, if word gets out that Company A is bidding to merge with Company B, it could negatively impact Company A’s stock prices and investor interest. Potential buyers need to stay anonymous to protect their business interests. 

It’s important to keep identities confidential in a VDR to ensure you get the best price for your M&A, property sale, or other transaction. You will also attract more bidders and investors if you can protect their interests by guaranteeing anonymity. 

Onehub’s anonymity management enables you to keep virtual data room users anonymous and hidden from each other. This allows you to conduct due diligence, M&As, real estate sales, and many other transactions with complete privacy. 

Additional VDR features for Onehub users

Anonymity management is an important part of conducting sensitive transactions successfully. Onehub also offers many other essential features to ensure your data room has the highest level of security while still being simple to use. 

User-based roles and permissions

Onehub gives you strict control over what people can see and do in your data room, ensuring that your sensitive data is used only in the ways you approve. To keep your confidential information from being shared, you can prevent document details from being copied and pasted, or you can keep files from being printed or downloaded. 

This means your information can only be viewed while logged into the data room. It keeps unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information from printed files left on someone’s desk or hackers stealing files downloaded onto a vulnerable network. 

NDAs

With Onehub’s virtual data rooms, you can require all users to accept a customized nondisclosure agreement before accessing anything in the data room. This ensures that there’s a legally binding NDA for everyone who views your financial, proprietary, or other sensitive information.

Watermarking

If you allow users to print or download data room content, document watermarks can help keep that information safe. A watermarked file will have “CONFIDENTIAL” diagonally across the entire document along with the IP or email address of the person who printed or downloaded it. Associating the user with the specific file copy means you can trace the source of any leaked information.

Audit trails

Audit trails allow you to view every action by every user in the data room. This provides another level of security and also gives VDR administrators valuable insight into what data is most important to each user. 

With this insight, you can improve your pitch to a bidder or investor. Suppose you see a potential investor has repeatedly viewed a less-than-stellar quarterly financial report. You know the report is an area of concern and can proactively address it. 

Automatic indexing

It’s not uncommon for VDRs to house thousands of files and folders that users need to easily sift through. To help with this, Onehub provides automatic indexing of files and folders so they can be quickly and easily referenced. Organized information is essential to successfully closing deals, so this deceptively simple feature has a big impact. It can speed up the due diligence process and keep bidders from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated and withdrawing their bids. 

Are you looking for a secure, easy-to-use data room solution for an upcoming deal? Sign up today for a free 14-day trial to find out how Onehub can make the process seamless.

Everything You Need to Know to Find a Great Client Portal Provider

What is a client portal?

Client portals, or customer portals, are secure digital workspaces that companies use to share information, communicate, and collaborate with clients. Clients access this area by logging into the portal from your business website. 

Once they’ve logged in, your customers will be able to access the documents you’ve made available to them. They can see invoices, project updates, tasks, and so much more. The possibilities are endless and will depend on how your company prefers to work with clients.

What can client portal software do for your business?

Your customers want to have easy access to your team and the information they need. Client portals can function purely as a self-service area where your customers can view how-to guides and business policies, or it can be an interactive space where clients create tasks for your team, review and approve updates, and upload important assets. 

Improve the customer experience

Today’s customers have high expectations for the companies they work with. They want to feel like your business is accessible 24/7. You can give them that by using a client portal, and it won’t require any additional work for your employees. In fact, it will make their jobs easier by keeping client comments, requests, and project tasks all in one central location. 

There are countless other ways for clients to benefit from using a portal. If it’s 1 a.m. on a Tuesday, and your client wants to see the latest changes to a website mockup, they can do that without any direct interaction with your team. If they’re suddenly hit with inspiration about a project after hours, they can log in and leave a comment on the document it pertains to. This level of service creates happy clients, and happy clients are great for business. 

Remote access for your clients and your team

Client portals enable your employees and your customers to access the information they need from anywhere and at any time. This gives your team the ability to work remotely when needed without compromising their effectiveness, and it gives customers the 24/7 access they need in order to feel supported by your company. 

Secure file sharing

Many projects involve sensitive data such as financial details, company innovations, or medical information. This is the kind of data hackers would love to get their hands on. Many companies still share these types of files by email, but email is inherently vulnerable to attacks. When you share documents through your secure client portal, you and your clients know that the data is protected. It gives peace of mind to both parties and avoids costly data breaches or ransomware attacks.   

How do you find the best customer portal software?

Your company’s needs will determine the types of “extra” features you need in a client portal. However, there are some universally important aspects of client portals. 

Strong digital security 

Hackers love to target businesses because companies store an incredible amount of sensitive data. Ransomware attacks rose 158% in North America between 2019 and 2020, and this trend isn’t stopping. Strong security protocols are essential for any software you use, including client portals. 

Below, we cover some of the most important security measures to look for as you evaluate customer portal providers. 

256-bit encryption

Encrypting data such as files and communications makes them unreadable to hackers. The “256-bit” refers to the length of the key needed to decrypt a file. For 256-bit encryption, a hacker would have to try 2256 combinations to access the file through a brute force attack. There isn’t a computer on earth that’s fast enough to break this level of encryption. It would take billions of years, and we’re confident you would not be concerned about your business data by that time. 

Some client portal providers offer 128- or 192-bit encryption. These are also good options, but they don’t offer quite as much protection. Think about it in terms of a home safe compared to a bank vault. Consider the value of the data you’ll be storing and sharing through the portal, and choose the level of protection that will give you peace of mind.

Strong passwords and two-factor authentication

A weak password is a hacker’s best friend. If you feel confident that your employees will automatically create secure passwords for your company’s software, we urge you to reevaluate. Weak employee passwords are responsible for 80% of company data breaches. Instead of relying on your team to come up with passwords more secure than “abc123,” choose client portal software that can enforce strong password requirements. 

You can take your data security a step further and choose a provider that also offers two-factor authentication. As the name implies, this is a method of account authentication that requires two factors — traditional login credentials and an alternate verification method. The second factor is often a security code sent to a mobile device or email address; however, there are many other options such as a thumbprint, voice confirmation, or a security token. 

Two-factor authentication ramps up your account security by ensuring stolen passwords are useless. Without the second verification method, which is extremely difficult to get, a hacker won’t be able to access the account.

Advanced options for roles and permissions

Some files and features in your client portal might not be appropriate for all users to access. For example, if you upload a confidential report for your client’s accountant, you don’t want every user with client portal access to see it. 

To control this, you need to be able to set roles and permissions for your users. Look for providers that allow you to customize which users can access certain files, as well as features such as who can assign tasks, leave comments on files, or print documents.

Collaborative tools

To make the most of your client portal investment, find a provider that’s offering more than a simple online file repository. Look for features that will support collaboration and communication between your staff and your clients. 

File syncing and version control

File syncing allows users to work within the same file simultaneously. Changes made to the document are updated in real-time, so everyone is working with the same information. This is an essential feature to ensure you and your client are literally on the same page. 

File version control solves the problem of having multiple versions of the same file. We’ve all experienced the struggle of trying to find the most up-to-date version of a file or identifying that one small change that differentiates two file versions. File versioning keeps a history of the changes made to a document and makes it simple to revert to an older version if needed. This feature is a lifesaver for client collaborations.

Comments on files and folders

File storage is one of the main functions of a client portal, so the ability to leave comments on files and folders is a valuable feature. Without this context, it can be difficult to know which file a client’s question or comment is about. Commenting directly on the file or folder eliminates the need for time-consuming back-and-forth with the client to determine which file they meant.

Tasks

Businesses often choose to use client portals to simplify project collaborations with clients. Tasks support this collaboration by making it simple to manage project details. A client or employee can assign a task to a specific user and then track its progress to ensure it’s completed. This feature is especially helpful for complex projects with many moving parts. When you can assign tasks, there’s no need to worry about who is doing what or what’s left to be done. 

Custom branding and white labeling

Client portal software that has custom branding or white labeling options allows you to present customers with a secure digital workspace that looks professional and seamlessly integrates with your website. 

Taking the time to brand your client portal makes for a better customer experience that aligns with your company. It can be a jarring experience to land on a sign-in page or receive notifications that, at first glance, don’t appear to be from your company. Custom branding allows you to remove that potential confusion that could make clients hesitant to use this valuable software. 

The best custom branding options will include adding a logo and brand colors, branded emails and sign-in pages, and custom domains. A white label option will provide all of that functionality and will also remove any third-party branding from the portal. 

Intuitive interface

It’s important to choose a client portal with a user-friendly interface to get the greatest level of opt-in from your clients. Customers don’t want to spend hours training to use new software. If the design is overwhelming, they’re not going to use the portal and won’t be able to reap the many benefits it provides. 

When you’re evaluating client portal solutions, look for designs that are formatted in a familiar way. During your free trial (which should definitely be on your list of “must haves”), pay attention to how well you can intuitively use different features. Is it immediately obvious how to upload a file? Did you spend five minutes searching for a way to assign a task? Did you click around so much you couldn’t find your way back to the main dashboard? Let your initial experience within the portal determine whether it’s a good option for your staff and customers. 

Free trial

The best way to get a feel for how a client portal will work for your business is to take it for a test drive. Screenshots and demo videos are great, but they don’t compare to working directly with the software. A provider that is confident in the quality of their client portal will offer potential clients a free trial. Be wary of any client portal solution you have to pay to try out, or even worse, sign an up-front contract for. 

At Onehub, we firmly believe that a free trial is the only way to understand how well new software will work for your company’s unique needs. We offer a generous 14-day free trial and no long-term contract lockups because we’re confident that our client portal’s security, custom branding, user-friendly interface, and collaborative features will meet your needs. Sign up for your free trial today!

6 Tips to Set up a Successful Virtual Data Room

What is a virtual data room?

A virtual data room is an extremely secure digital space for storing and sharing high-value business files. Data rooms work much like a traditional Onehub Workspace but with even stronger security protocols and more advanced features such as document watermarking, stealth users, automatic indexing, and NDAs.

These features make data rooms the perfect solution for transactions that require top-level confidentiality. VDRs are commonly used for M&A due diligence, series funding, and legal proceedings. Using Onehub’s virtual data room keeps all users anonymous and hidden from each other to maintain privacy and security during these sensitive transactions. 

Setting your VDR up for success

  1. Add your company branding

Branding your virtual data room makes your business look more professional. You can simply add your company logo and colors, or you can choose a white-label VDR. Our white label option allows you to remove all Onehub branding and create a custom domain. 

  1. Customize your settings

Virtual data rooms come with many advanced settings that you can customize to fit your specific use case. Below are a few features and their benefits to consider as you customize your VDR. 

Watermarking

Automatic watermarking helps protect proprietary data or other sensitive information by linking the file with the person who accessed it. When activated, all previewed, printed, or downloaded files will have the user’s email or IP address and the word “CONFIDENTIAL” watermarked diagonally across the page. The watermark can’t be removed or edited. Administrators will still be able to print the original version of the file without a watermark. 

Non-disclosure agreements

You can require all users to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to access the data room. The NDA is entirely customizable to provide maximum flexibility.  The agreement will appear the first time a user enters the workspace. If they accept the NDA, it will be recorded in the activity log. If they reject the agreement, they will not be able to use the virtual data room. 

Two-factor authentication

You have the option to add an additional layer of protection to your data room by enforcing two-factor authentication. To access the data room when 2FA is enforced, users enter their login credentials and are then prompted for a second authentication factor such as a security code sent to their phones. This means if a hacker steals a user’s credentials, they still won’t be able to access your data room.

Stealth mode

Some transactions benefit from anonymity. With stealth mode, you can keep users’ identities private and their activity hidden from each other while still having access to everything they need in the data room. 

Session timeouts

Create customizable session timeouts to help further secure your data room. You can automatically log users out after a set period of inactivity. This ensures that no unauthorized person can take advantage of a user’s account because they forgot to log out. 

  1. Make a list of all the documents that need to be uploaded to the VDR

Virtual data rooms are most often used for sensitive transactions such as series funding or M&As. It’s important to present your company in a professional manner to ensure you’re able to land the deal successfully. You can put your company’s best foot forward by ensuring all necessary files are available in the data room as soon as it’s live. 

Your list will vary depending on the type of transaction you’re working on. As an example, a due diligence list would include documentation such as business licenses, shareholder information, tax documents, and a list of suppliers. For each item on the list, you’ll need to locate all the corresponding files from your current storage location so you can upload them to the VDR.  

Organizing this information beforehand means you can account for everything easily. You don’t want to risk leaving out a key piece of information that may compromise your deal. 

  1. Pick your file upload method

Onehub offers two main ways to transfer your files to your data room. The first method is a drag-and-drop feature that’s easy to use and allows you to move over multiple files or entire folders at a time. The second option is to upload your files using FTP. This is the best route if your files are extremely large or you want to move entire directories at once. 

  1. Determine the access level of your files and folders

With Onehub’s detailed options for roles and permission, you can customize access to every file and folder. You have complete control over which users are able to view, print, download, or copy certain files. Permission levels can be granted or revoked at any time with a single click.

  1. Double check everything before going live

Do a final review of your data room’s content and settings before you begin inviting users. Here is a checklist to help you make sure you’ve reviewed all the important aspects of your data room:

  • Data room custom branded
  • All documentation uploaded
  • Watermarking enabled
  • Session time-outs enabled
  • Two-factor authentication enforced
  • NDA customized and activated
  • Stealth mode enabled
  • Permission levels set

Once you’ve completed your VDR review, you’re all set! You can start inviting users to join the data room and kick off the next phase of your project.

You can try out Onehub’s virtual data rooms for free for 14 days. No strings attached. See our advanced features and security protocols in action, so you can decide if Onehub is right for your business.

Break Down Information Silos With Cloud Storage and File Sharing

What are workplace silos, and how are they hurting your business?

You may not have heard the terms “workplace silo” or “information silo,” but you’ve likely experienced them. A workplace silo separates different types of employees, often by department or management level, that prevents workers from sharing information and collaborating freely. 

Simply having departments within your organization doesn’t constitute a silo. It’s normal to group people by specialty for efficiency’s sake, but a silo forms when those departments become cliquish. Their loyalty is to their department colleagues. All others are seen as outsiders despite everyone working for the same company, and presumably, the same goals.

This mindset has significant negative effects on a company. It inhibits creativity, collaboration, innovation, and camaraderie. Departments compete for resources and become resentful of each other. It creates an unhealthy work environment where ideas and information are hoarded instead of being freely shared so they can be explored, improved, and implemented. 

How can you break down silos?

Address the problem directly and promote common goals

The first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem. Address this head-on with your staff. Educate them on the issues that information silos are causing within your organization, and lay out the steps you plan to take to heal these divisions by increasing communication and cooperation. 

Take time to outline common company goals with your team. Identify where each department fits into the picture and ways they can support each other to achieve their objectives. Hold

regular staff meetings to keep employees updated on their progress toward these goals and highlight positive examples of teams working together to make this happen.

Another important step in breaking down silos is to have your leadership team exemplify the behaviors you want to see throughout your organization. It should become commonplace for managers to engage with all employees, no matter their level or department. Employees model their attitudes and actions on the example set by upper management, and seeing this new behavioral standard will make workers feel more comfortable reaching outside their departments. 

Provide collaborative tools and resources

Major culture shifts are always accompanied by a period of growing pains. It’s difficult for employees to change the way they work, so it’s important to support this growth with smart tools and resources. 

Online storage and file sharing

If your company isn’t already using online file storage, now is the perfect time to start. Online storage platforms provide secure cloud servers that keep your data safe while making it more accessible to employees. Your staff can access files on-site or remotely using any device. 

Switching to online file storage will greatly improve your employees’ general access to files, but it’s important to keep in mind that information silos often extend to a company’s file organization. If your teams have been divergent for a long time, they’ve likely developed their own file organization systems. This makes it difficult to share information across company boundaries.

Renaming all these files under a cohesive system may not be practical, but you can have each department create a brief guide to explain their systems. A helpful guide will include:

  • The department’s folder hierarchy
  • A brief description of the type of content stored in each folder
  • An explanation of their file naming conventions

Share this across the organization so all users understand where to look for the information they need. 

While the goal here is to knock down silos, there is still a need for digital security protocols within any organization. Security measures will vary across cloud storage providers. With Onehub, for example, you can choose to keep files with sensitive information hidden, password protected, or accessible only to certain user types. Granular control over roles and permissions allows you to tailor access to your company’s unique needs.

Collaborative tools

Many online file storage platforms come with a variety of tools that will help your teams work more cooperatively. Look for features such as messaging, tasks, file syncing, and file versioning. 

  • In-app messaging enables colleagues to reach out to each other without leaving their digital workspace, allowing them to find the answers they need without interrupting their productivity. 
  • Task assignment is an important feature that will keep teams from questioning the progress of other departments or worrying that important details are falling through the cracks. In addition to staying updated on specific projects, tasks can also be used to track employees’ own to-do lists.
  • File syncing is essential for effective collaboration. It ensures everyone is working from the same up-to-date information. With file syncing, you can have multiple people working in a document and see changes in real time.
  • File versioning is the sanity-saving feature your staff needs to avoid the confusion of multiple file versions. If you’ve ever had to read through multiple files labeled “final” to find out which one is actually the final final, you know what a help this feature is. File versioning also ensures you can restore older versions easily if needed.

Collaborative spaces

Your company should function as one unit, so it’s important to set up your office space accordingly. Try creating a communal area within the office that provides ample space for multiple departments to meet for brainstorming sessions, project updates, or team-building exercises. 

Instead of holding cross-departmental meetings within any departments’ “home base,” move these meetings to neutral ground with tables and chairs that can be reconfigured easily. Removing the home team advantage puts every department on equal ground and allows employees to share ideas more confidently. 

Are you ready to break down information silos and encourage collaboration within your team? Onehub can support your company’s culture change with organized online file storage, secure file sharing, and a suite of collaboration tools. Try our free 14-day trial today!

5 Best Practices for Successful Internal Documentation

Last week we covered how investing in internal documentation can save your organization significant time and money, not to mention hassle and stress. This week, we’re focusing on implementation. Where do you start? How do you keep internal documents accurate? What’s the easiest way to make this documentation accessible? We’ve answered these questions and many more to help you create and implement valuable internal documentation.

Determine what information needs to be documented

Procedures and workflows

Documenting your business procedures can be a daunting task, but it’s one that will save the company significant time and money in the future. To get things started, identify the core processes in your organization. These will vary by industry, but to give you an idea of the types of questions it’s helpful to ask, let’s say your organization is in retail. What steps are taken to order new inventory? How do employees complete returns? What’s the escalation procedure for an unhappy customer? How do you onboard new employees?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the most important core processes that keep your business going. This is where you want to start with your internal documentation. Begin with the most essential of these practices and continue down the list until all major policies and workflows are documented.

Projects and clients

In addition to the core processes of your business, it’s smart to keep documentation on your projects and clients. This is the best way to keep everyone on the team aligned during a long, multi-phase project or to provide valuable insight for future projects. Referencing project documentation can help employees in many ways such as providing inspiration for new projects or choosing the best way to structure a complex project with many milestones.

Keeping documentation on your clients is also a great idea. It makes your company look more professional when employees can simply reference internal documentation to be reminded of client preferences and important information instead of asking the client for these details again. 

Identify the best format and keep it simple

Internal documentation can quickly become overwhelming, so it’s important to consider how you’ll convey the information. Hierarchy of Information is a design principle that is helpful for this stage. Information hierarchy refers to the way elements are arranged on a page or in graphic design that conveys at a glance what information is essential. You can use this design principle in your internal documentation by using headings, bullet points, and other common formatting tools. 

In addition to formatting text elements, you can also use a variety of documentation formats such as videos, screenshots, flowcharts, checklists, or diagrams. The type of workflow and its complexity can help you determine which format is best. For example, internal documentation on how to add a new customer to your CRM might be best conveyed with a quick video tutorial. While you could write these steps out and include screenshots, this would take much longer to create and be less helpful to your employees than a video that shows someone actually using the CRM. 

The end goal of all international documentation is to make it easy for employees to quickly review standard procedures or get up to date on the current state of a project. This helps keep their work organized and boosts their productivity.

Connect with relevant departments or employees

To ensure your internal documentation is up to date and accurate, include the departments or specific employees who carry out these work processes or projects. They have the most intimate knowledge of the subject, so their input is invaluable. 

This is also a great time to ask them if there are any steps that could be improved or eliminated to make the procedures faster or more effective. Employees who regularly do these processes will undoubtedly have helpful insight on how to improve them. Don’t reject these suggestions out of hand simply because they’re not the established method. Listen to the reasoning behind the suggested changes and talk them through to see if they’re viable. A smart tweak to your systems could stimulate meaningful changes to the quality of work or how quickly it’s completed. 

Quality management

Recording the core processes and projects of your organization is time consuming, but when done correctly, it can save your company significant money in employee turnover, recruitment and training, avoidable mistakes, and increased employee productivity. The key to keeping internal documentation valuable is to implement quality management. Have departments regularly review the documentation relevant to their teams to ensure the information is current. If any changes need to be made, designate a specific person to update the record. 

To get the most benefit from your internal documentation, it must be organized, accessible, and up to date. If employees find that the information in these documents is wrong or outdated, they will stop using them. Without a central document to govern procedures, employees will eventually begin to make mistakes. Quality management of your internal documents will keep workflows from being disrupted and affecting the company’s bottom line. 

Online file sharing and storage

Once you have your documentation ready, you’ll need a secure way to store it and make it accessible to your team. Online file sharing & storage such as Onehub allows you to create secure, shared folders that are quickly and easily accessible to employees. Accessibility of this information is vital, as it ensures all the effort that went into accurately documenting your internal workflows, procedures, and projects will pay off. 

For procedures that contain sensitive information such as HR documentation, Onehub provides granular control over roles and permissions. This means you can decide which users are authorized to view sensitive information. In addition to the security that roles and permissions provide, Onehub also protects your data with bank-level encryption. 

Some Onehub clients such as BankTEL have even been able to simplify business processes by creating automated, auditable, one-click actions within the platform that improve efficiency. Our robust selection of collaboration and communication tools also help support your employees’ productivity. 

To test drive Onehub’s online storage and file-sharing tools, sign up today for a free 14-day trial — no credit card required!

How Investing in Internal Documentation Saves Your Company Money

When budgets get tight, cutting unnecessary costs is a standard strategy to maintain a successful business. While the big expenses tend to get the most attention — finding cost-effective employee benefits, buying supplies in bulk, cutting out catering for staff meetings — sometimes it’s the smaller details that can have the most impact. 

Internal documentation is one of those minor details that are rarely at the top of anyone’s money-saving list, but it definitely deserves a spot. Internal documentation refers to any detailed information about your company’s processes and procedures that’s kept up to date and is available for employees to reference as needed. 

It’s a simple concept that’s easy to implement, yet many companies don’t make it a priority. Good internal documentation has the potential to save businesses tens of thousands of dollars each year, and it can directly increase profits by reducing turnover rates and improving every aspect of your business, from onboarding to customer service.

Investing in internal documentation increases company efficiency

Workers can easily spend up to 30% of the workday scouring company databases for basic information they need to do their jobs. If your company has 50 employees and they’re paid the U.S. average of $25.68 per hour, you’re losing $3,210 per day in employee effectiveness. 

If you’re wondering what this expensive time-wasting looks like in action, picture your top-performing employee — the one everyone goes to for help because they have accumulated years of company knowledge. Now imagine that person leaves your company. Without proper internal documentation, they’re walking away with priceless information that your other workers need. When your team is left without their go-to resource, they have to waste an enormous amount of time piecing together information to recreate that former employee’s knowledge base.

If your company’s documentation is nonexistent or lacking, it’s quite likely that a scene like this has played out within at least one of your departments. Imagine how much more your organization could achieve if those hours were put toward customer service, improving products, or training employees on new skills to stay competitive? Productivity and effectiveness would explode, and the results would speak for themselves in your company’s bottom line. 

Great internal documentation makes onboarding easier

Not only is searching for information costly in terms of time wasted, it can also cost you top talent. Work tends to be stressful in general, and insufficient internal documentation is an unnecessary obstacle that adds to that stress. If this issue isn’t addressed, you may find some of your best employees packing their bags to head to more organized pastures. 

If your organization’s lack of proper documentation is causing employee burnout and high turnover, your onboarding process is likely also suffering. New workers are bombarded with more details during onboarding than they can possibly digest in their first few days. It’s important to streamline this process to ensure your new talent feels supported and confident in their position.

Hiring and training new workers is a huge expense. You save your company big bucks by making the process faster and more effective with quality documentation. Set new employees up for success and reduce turnover by clearly documenting your company’s policies, processes, and job-specific information and storing it somewhere that’s easily accessible. 

Internal documentation supports collaborative work

Workplace collaboration is vital to a company’s success, especially in today’s market. The best ideas are rarely the sole effort of a single person. Combining the perspectives, skills, and experiences of a diverse group is the most effective way to develop a robust product or service that will delight your customers. 

Every step of that process, from ideation to implementation, requires employees to share information. When you have solid internal documentation in place, as well as a secure method to store and share it, this process is seamless. This speeds up the collaborative process, meaning your team always hits their deadlines with quality work in hand. 

This also makes your company look competent and professional from a client’s perspective. When your team completes projects in an organized and timely manner, clients will be impressed and feel confident choosing your company again and again for their needs. Alternatively, team collaboration that’s clumsy and behind schedule will send customers straight to one of your competitors, and you can bet they’ll readily share their bad experiences with others. 

The more information about your company, clients, products, and services you document, the more ammunition your employees will have to draw from when it’s time to collaborate on new projects. All employees will have the base knowledge they need to do their parts, whether that’s details on how to use certain software or information about the success or failure of past ideas. This facilitates better, more profitable products and projects that will increase your company’s profits. 

Accessible internal documentation improves work-from-home effectiveness

Working from home became a necessity in 2020. It opened the eyes of many executives to all the benefits that remote work can bring, from downsizing office space to having a wider pool of qualified job candidates. Employees also took a strong liking to the flexibility that remote work provides, so it looks like this trend is here to stay.

As with any major change in business models, remote work poses a few challenges. In-office employees struggle with finding the information they need, and this issue is amplified even more when workers are remote. At the start of the pandemic, the Harvard Business Review reported that work-from-home employees were surprised by how much more difficult it was to find the information they needed to do their work. 

This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Work-from-home effectiveness can be equal to that of on-site employees if internal documentation is a company priority. Business efficiency increases even more when you store that documentation in the cloud where all employees can easily access it and share files as needed internally or externally. 

Ready to whip your company’s documentation into shape? Onehub can keep it secure, organized, and easily accessible to employees. See for yourself with our free 14-day trial (no credit card required!). 

How to Choose a Dependable Cloud Storage Solution for Your Business

What is cloud storage?

The term “cloud storage” may sound abstract and ephemeral, but it’s actually a secure method of storing your business files online. It eliminates the cost, security issues, and maintenance hassles that come with traditional on-site servers. 

It’s no surprise that business owners are moving to the cloud in droves. With the cloud, you don’t have to maintain or replace expensive hardware, it’s simple to scale your storage up or down to suit your needs, and your data is protected with high-level security protocols that outperform those of physical servers. 

There are many online file storage providers, and they all offer something a little different. It can be overwhelming to try to narrow down the best options for your company. We’ve highlighted several important cloud storage features to look for as you start your search.

What to look for in online file storage

Security and dependability

Secure and dependable cloud storage is a necessity. If a provider can’t immediately give you a breakdown of their security protocols and uptime, go ahead and scratch them off your list. Without these two basics, no other impressive tools or features will matter.

256-bit encryption

Encryption is the process of turning data from plaintext (readable) to ciphertext (unreadable until decrypted with a key). With 256-bit encryption — the same type that banks and the CIA use — it would take a hacker billions of years to crack the data with a brute force attack. No one’s got that kind of time, so even if a hacker gets their hands on your business files, the data will be useless to them.

That’s the level of security you want for your online file storage. Hackers are targeting businesses at an incredible rate, and they can do extensive damage to your company, your employees, and your customers if they get the data they’re after. Keep your business secure by selecting a cloud storage provider that offers 256-bit encryption.

Roles and permissions

Roles and permissions are important security features for your online file storage. These allow you to customize access for each user and even specific files or folders. Look for providers with multiple options for roles and permissions to give you the flexibility you need for the wide variety of information companies store. If there are only two or three roles available, it may not provide the level of nuance that your company needs.

With permissions, you can customize access even further. For example, you may decide to share a file with someone but don’t want them to download it or share it with anyone else. With a provider like Onehub, granular permission levels can be added or revoked with a single click. 

Two-factor authentication

Employees are the most valuable resource your business has, but they’re also your biggest security risk. Despite knowing the importance of using strong, unique passwords, 83% of Americans use weak passwords that can be cracked within seconds. 

Usernames and passwords generally don’t keep hackers out for long. The solution to this problem is two-factor authentication. This type of login requires a user to enter their username and password, followed by a second type of authentication. This can be a security token, a code sent to a mobile device, a thumbprint, or numerous other methods. 

The second type of authentication ensures that hackers can’t access your system with just a username and password. Unless they’ve also stolen the security token, mobile device, or thumb of the person whose account they’re hacking, their attempts are futile, and your data is safe.

Redundant backups

Businesses today simply can’t function without on-demand access to their files, and good online storage providers understand this. That’s why they back up your company files across multiple devices in multiple facilities. If an earthquake destroys a server, your company won’t even notice because there’s a secure backup of your data at another location. 

File sharing options

The best online file storage will offer several secure methods of sharing files. Inviting users to access a file or folder is standard practice, but it’s also important to have an option for sharing files with people external to your organization. This allows people who are not users on your cloud storage platform to access the file without setting up an account. 

Onehub took this feature a step further. We allow users to send secure direct links that can be password protected and assigned an expiration date. Cloud storage providers that offer these additional features ensure you have the ultimate flexibility and security for your online file storage.

Collaboration and communication tools

Few successful companies are a one-person show. It takes collaboration and communication between colleagues for a business to consistently produce a quality product or service. Many cloud storage providers such as Onehub offer features that go beyond basic online file storage.  

A great cloud service can provide you with tools to make your team more effective. When evaluating your cloud options, check to see if the provider offers some of the popular features listed below. 

Tasks

Keep track of a project’s progress by assigning tasks. Onehub allows users to assign tasks to others or themselves. Whether you use this tool as a personal to-do list or to monitor who is doing what and when, tasks will help keep important jobs from falling through the cracks. Having this easy-to-use task list means you don’t have to expend any mental energy keeping up with the thousands of little details that bring a project together.

File syncing

File syncing is a must in today’s busy world. It lets employees work on a file simultaneously, from anywhere on any device, and know that everyone is looking at the same information. If a team is stuck working in files that don’t automatically sync, they’re literally not on the same page. It’s a recipe for confusion and misunderstandings. You can sidestep all that hassle by choosing a cloud service that has automatic file syncing.

File versioning

Like file syncing, file versioning is key to preventing projects from derailing and costing precious time and money. Automatic file versioning means your team never has to spend hours skimming through a file’s contents trying to figure out if “important-project-FINAL2” or “important-project-FINAL-FINAL” is the real final version. 

File versioning keeps a history of changes made to the document, and they can be restored easily if needed. It’s a fantastic feature for any business that relies on employee collaboration to get things done.

Comments and messaging

All work requires communication, so it’s essential that you provide employees with a quick and easy way to get in touch with each other. This is especially true if your team sometimes works remotely. The Harvard Business Review noted that remote workers were often surprised by how difficult it was to get simple information from colleagues. 

You can facilitate easy communication between coworkers by selecting an online storage provider that has integrated communication channels. This lets workers get their questions answered without even leaving their digital workspace. It’s a simple tool that saves employees a ton of time and frustration. 

Intuitive interface

Extensive research about what makes a great user experience is readily available online, so there’s simply no excuse for a bad user interface in 2021. If a cloud storage provider has a clunky, confusing interface that requires in-depth training for employees to understand, you may want to keep looking. 

The right online file storage for your business will have a clean design that’s not overwhelming to look at, and you’ll intuitively know how to do all the basics such as uploading a file, creating a new folder, or inviting new users.

Good cloud storage design is a sign that a company cares about its customers and is competent in its field. 

Find a dependable cloud storage solution for your business

The tips we’ve covered here will help you evaluate different online storage solutions so you can choose one that’s right for your business. You’ll know when you’ve found the perfect fit because you and your employees will become more organized, communicate and collaborate better, and feel less overwhelmed with daily tasks. 

To really get a feel for how a cloud storage provider will benefit your organization, ask for a free test drive. Onehub offers a free 14-day trial so you have plenty of time to explore our features and make an informed decision for your business. Sign up today!

Regular Software Updates Keep Your Business Secure and Productive

Installing updates is one of the simplest ways to protect your company’s files and keep your business running smoothly. Devices and software that are up to date provide data protection, improved functionality, and helpful integrations. 

Why do companies issue software updates?

To improve security

A known vulnerability is a glitch or weakness in software or operating systems that hackers can exploit. When a software company identifies a vulnerability and finds a solution, they release a security patch to fix it. This patch comes in the form of a software update. 

There are many reasons it’s essential to stay on top of updates, but digital security is one of the most important. Cybercrimes are steadily increasing, and businesses are a favorite target for hackers. Companies store sensitive data ranging from customers’ credit card numbers to intellectual property, and this data is incredibly valuable. Hackers can encrypt this data and demand a ransom for the decryption key, use a known vulnerability to take your business offline, or conduct any number of other malicious schemes. 

To add or remove features

Software updates are also issued to add new features, remove outdated features, and improve functionality. These updates can enhance the user experience and offer your company better tools for productivity and efficiency.

To offer new integrations

Updates can also be issued to make the software more compatible with popular programs. For example, Onehub recently updated its file-sharing and cloud storage platform to integrate DocuSign. This allows Onehub users to get electronic signatures from clients quickly and easily. 

What are the risks of not installing updates promptly?

It’s important to install software updates as soon as possible. We’re all guilty of hitting the “install update later” button when we’re in the middle of something, but consistently putting off updates can have significant consequences.

Data breaches

The biggest risk of not staying on top of software updates is a cybersecurity attack. Updates act as a data safeguard, ensuring a malicious individual can’t easily steal sensitive business information or hold your data for ransom. 

Once software has a known vulnerability, it becomes a favorite target for hackers because they already know exactly how to exploit it. There’s no time-consuming guesswork involved. Even after a software company releases a security patch, hackers will still target these programs. They know that many people, especially employees, don’t bother to update their computers or software. 

A good digital security plan can help employees understand the importance of data safeguards such as regular software updates.

Lower productivity

Not installing software updates also means your company is missing out on great new features that could dramatically improve collaboration, productivity, or efficiency. This risk is often overlooked since you’re unlikely to know what you’re missing out on. But competition among businesses is tight, and if your competitors are benefitting from faster, better tools, your business could fall behind. 

Unusable software

Installing updates ensures that your software stays compatible with your operating system and the other programs it interacts with. If you’re behind on updates, you may find that some or all of the features of your software stop functioning. 

Lost time

The longer you put off computer updates, the more updates you’ll need to install. If you stay on top of updates, you most likely won’t have to wait very long for a single one to install. But if they’ve been piling up for months, it may take ages to complete all the updates. During that time, you’re essentially out of commission work-wise. 

This is especially frustrating if your software has stopped working and you need it updated ASAP so you can meet an important deadline. You resign yourself to restarting your computer, anticipating a brief, single update, and instead, you have three months’ work of updates being installed in succession. It’s an easy situation to avoid; simply make software updates a regular part of your work routine.

Ensuring your business software stays updated company-wide

Choose cloud-based software

Cloud-based software such as Onehub doesn’t require users to install updates. Every time you log in, you’re accessing the most up-to-date version of your cloud software. This makes it extremely efficient and more secure since there’s never any delay in installing vital security patches. 

Allow automatic updates

Many devices and software have an option to install updates automatically. Allowing automatic updates means you don’t have to worry about remembering to check for or install updates. If you choose to do manual updates, it’s helpful to pencil them into your work schedule so you don’t forget.

Create a digital security plan

The best way to ensure software and devices are being regularly updated company-wide is to create a digital security plan. The plan should cover common cybersecurity threats and effective data safeguards such as regular updates, strong passwords, and two-factor authentication. Make sure employees know they are responsible for keeping their work devices updated, as well as any personal devices that they use for work.

Onehub can keep your company’s data secure while providing first-class business tools for collaboration and productivity. Try Onehub for free for 14 days!