The definitive guide to cloud collaboration: Tools, use cases and more

Posted on May 15, 2023

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

Cloud computing is here to stay, so taking full advantage of this revolutionary way of working is essential. At Atech, we like to think we know a thing or two about effective cloud collaboration, so we’ve put together this definitive guide on how cloud service enables better business collaboration.

This is actually part 2 of our definitive guide. In our first piece , we covered the drivers and benefits of cloud collaboration. Here, we’re going a little deeper and looking at the most common applications of cloud-enabled business collaboration and the essential features you need to look out for. So, read on to learn more about this new approach to productivity and equip your team with the tools to drive sustainable growth in your business.

What are the main applications of cloud services?

Cloud services are what you make of them, so business leaders are always coming up with new and innovative ways to utilise cloud computing resources. Of course, depending on the cloud service you go for, like infrastructure, platforms or software as a service, your business collaboration will look different.

However, some common use cases crop up again and again. So, here are some of the most common applications of cloud computing that you’ll see today:

1. Communication

Communication is, by far, the leading use case of cloud computing resources for the everyday business user. By offering a unified system to send and receive messages, files and links, cloud-enabled communication apps have come to redefine where, when and even how we work.

ONS data from February 2022 showed that 42% of workers engaged in some form of hybrid working pattern, signalling that remote work is now the norm for many Britons. Microsoft is the undisputed leader in this area, boasting over 270 million daily active users globally, beating rival Slack’s 18 million.

2. Project management

Second to communication is project management (often what so much of our workplace communication is about in the first place!).

Cloud collaboration services like Trello and Notion offer quick and easy ways to share updates and track progress against deliverables. In turn, they allow team members to monitor ongoing goals more accurately, no matter where or when colleagues are working. But did you know that you may already have access to Microsoft Loop, depending on your current Microsoft 365 licensing? Loop enables you to stay in sync without constantly having to switch between apps. In fact, Loop syncs across apps in real time, whether that’s in any of the Office apps, or bringing loop components into OneNote. The added very exciting AI extra is the ability to pull together ideas and create with help from Copilot in Loop.

3. Software development

Cloud computing infrastructure has helped to transform how companies develop, iterate and maintain software. Online repositories like GitHub help developers share code easily, meaning business leaders can easily track product changes, feature updates, bug sources and more.

Similarly, cloud services like Azure host and run software, giving businesses access to an infinitely scalable computing environment, meaning data processing and storage limits are no longer barriers to progress.

4. Documentation

The last most common application of enterprise cloud services is documentation. Today’s cloud services allow businesses to store, retrieve, update and dispose of files easily and via a range of devices. Best of all, some cloud services use identity-based permissions, meaning business leaders can fine-tune who can access, view, edit and delete data within their organisation.

Essential features of any cloud service

Before migrating to a new cloud platform, ensure it suits your business’s unique needs. To help, here are some absolute minimums that every cloud service should provide and how they enhance your business collaboration capabilities:

1. Anytime access to files via a centralised workspace

Cloud services should enrich your business collaboration, so they must deliver a reliable up time and allow you to access your data whenever you want. For example, leading providers should offer up times in excess of 99.9% and make your files or data available via web or mobile apps, so your team can work how they prefer.
Similarly, your new cloud environment should break down information silos and provide a single, shared space for secure collaboration. You need to consider how collaboration processes should prevent files from being duplicated and bloating your storage capacity, as well as ensuring work is not duplicated and inefficient by ensuring important project assets are accessible to everyone who needs them. What’s more, consider how your organisation’s information security is at the heart of collaboration – whether it is ensuring multi-factor authentication is enabled, or ensuring that cybersecurity training and awareness is ongoing, or that there is visibility of how the organisation performs from a cybersecurity and risk perspective. These are all areas that Atech can help you with, from initial assessment through to implementation of measures to improve your security posture and secure collaboration within your organisation.

2. Version control

Whether you’re developing software, hosting a website or writing a SOP document, your cloud storage provider should let you take documents offline and automatically upload updates as they happen, so you never have to worry about losing data again.

However, it should also allow you to access older versions and track document changes. This lets you restore software to a previously working version and identify who owned certain project parts.

3. Seamless communication

Most cloud collaboration tools offer real-time communication, like instant messaging, group chats and more. So, you also should look at how the various apps within your cloud service integrate and enable more effective communication between team members.
For instance, team members should be able to embed files or BI dashboards across your business instead of having to share the data manually each time.

4. Strong cybersecurity protections

Finally, modern cloud services should allow you to customise the access rights within your organisation and protect your data with the latest tools.

Identity-based permissions ensure employees have all the access they need but not more than they should. This helps to prevent ‘permission creep’ – where account privileges rise over time and create vulnerabilities in your IT systems. Other tools like AI-enabled network analysis and sophisticated phishing email filters are also a must for modern enterprises looking to keep their data away from bad actors. So, look for highly accredited cloud solutions providers that can balance productivity and data protection. Consider running a security baseline assessment at regular intervals to ensure your security posture hasn’t slipped.

Access cutting-edge cloud services equipped for any challenge from Atech

Atech is a highly experienced IT solutions provider. Our vast expertise and extensive certifications in Microsoft technologies mean we’re the best choice for firms looking to expand their cloud computing usage. By combining industry best practices with our strategic insight, we enable better business collaboration and cybersecurity at the same time.

Contact us today to learn more or come along to our Do More with Less Live Q&A webinar covering cloud collaboration tools with a focus on Microsoft 365 E3. The live workshops show you how to navigate strategic uncertainty and growth challenges with technology. In our next session, you’ll learn how to drive value and savings using Microsoft solutions and discover:

  • How to use our Value Calculator to identify opportunities for your business.
  • How to get on top of migrations, modernise your Azure usage and adopt Microsoft Cost management to reduce spending by up to 34% in year one.
  • How consolidation of your security tech stack can improve your visibility into threats within and outside your organisation.
  • How simplified admin and endpoint management tools can help you focus on higher-value activities
    The webinar will dive into the products and tools we use for doing more with less and demo some of the new integrated security capabilities. We look forward to seeing you there!

The webinar will dive into the products and tools we use for doing more with less and demo some of the new integrated security capabilities. We look forward to seeing you there!

How can we help?

As Microsoft accredited cloud service providers we’ve got the tools and talent to put the incredible potential of cloud technology at the heart of your operation.

Fill in the form to speak to one of our cloud consultants about your cloud project. Let’s get the conversation started.


    First name
    Last name