The other day I was talking to a medium business owner in Pensacola Florida right after they had an ice storm where their employees couldn’t get to work due to hazardous driving conditions. The CEO mentioned to me that because they were using OneDrive, there was no interruption in business, even though noone was in the office. From my perspective, the employees were in the office – their virtual office! To the CEO and the employees it seemed transparent that there was even an ice storm that day. It was mentioned to me that there was no sign of lost productivity as work continued without interruption. The employees were happy to not have to travel into the office while staying at home still being productive.

So one has to ask themselves, are you striving to access your files and applications from anywhere, anytime on any device? Do you have the need to share and collaborate with others on the same documents real time? Do you have the need to leverage the providers datacenter hardware so you don’t have to have your cell phone ring at 2am in the morning because an alert was sent because of a critical drive failure? The cloud offers a solution to all those scenarios.

In my IT Camp events lately, I’ve been getting asked “Is the Cloud a really big deal?”

I’m having a lot of people ask me about storing files, documents, videos and other items in the Cloud. I started thinking the other day about the way I store my own files within my network. I have drives that backup my data on a routine schedule. This is great until my house is part of a catastrophic event like a hurricane or fire. In the past few months I’ve been moving my critical documents to the Cloud. There are a number of reasons for doing this including document retention, real-time collaboration with others, instant access from my Windows 8.1 devices anywhere, anytime and most of all peace of mind knowing the files are going to be there tomorrow.

Windows 8.1 has many features around cloud enablement like access to OneDrive and Office Web Apps. With OneDrive you can easily store and share photos, videos, documents, and more — anywhere, on any device, free. Plus, get 7 GB when you sign up.

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Saving documents from Word to OneDrive in the Public Cloud

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You can access Outlook.com, People, Calendar, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

OneDrive also works with iOS, Android and Windows Phones.

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How about OneDrive for Business with a document storage and collaboration service that organizations provide and manage for their users. It's a service available today with many Office 365 and SharePoint Online Plans and on-premises with the latest version of SharePoint.
If you’re storing your files on OneDrive for Business, they are just a tap away. Your employees can easily view and share files in a modern, touch-friendly Windows 8 experience. People can upload their documents and access them across a plethora of devices.
If you’re not sure whether you have OneDrive for Business, speak with your organizational admin or IT department System’s Administrator.  You should be able to access the account in the browser using your Organizational ID. Keep in mind that OneDrive for Business is for your work files while OneDrive is for all of your personal files.

With these Cloud services you get access to your data and applications from anywhere, anytime from any device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

With the Cloud, you get to leverage a stable and redundant hardware environment, save on energy costs and even have the luxury of accessing your data and apps from the Cloud with snappy and responsive performance when you need them.

The Cloud could even open up your opportunities of being part of a “work-from-home” virtual team working together with Office Web Apps getting the best results you can for your business, so whether your using Windows Azure, Windows Intune or Office 365, the Cloud is where the future is.

So do I think the Cloud is a big deal? Yes – massive.