There are a wealth of technical devices out there to chose from, so many that it can be a chore to figure out which platform makes the most sense for your organization. You must take into account whether a new system or device will work with an established system, how you are going to access data with the new equipment, and how it will work with your clients’ and colleagues’ systems. In a perfect world, all these systems would easily link together and communicate. But sadly, the IT world isn’t perfect, and many modern devices don’t play well together. But fear not – it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems.
Here are three things you can do to ensure your devices peacefully co-exist, or at the very least talk to one another.
One file system
Ever put important data onto a flash drive and taken it to another office or a colleague’s computer, only to find that they use a system that doesn’t recognize the drive? This is because Windows and Mac systems utilize different file storage formats, both of which can’t be read by the other system. The solution is to format your drives as ExFat – a format that can be read by Windows, Mac and Unix. If you have blank external storage drives, or would like to format existing external drives you can follow the instructions here. Just be aware that formatting will erase all data on the drive.
If you are stuck in a bind and can’t reformat to ExFat there are a couple solutions. If you’ve been using the hard drive with a Mac, and it can’t be read on a Windows machine, you can use MacDrive which will make the drive readable on Windows. For a drive that’s been formatted to work on Windows, you can access it on a Mac by using a program called Tuxera NTFS for Mac.
Use the cloud for your documents
It can be tough to collaborate when your colleagues or clients are using different systems, or even different versions of the same program. An easy way to solve this problem, while saving a bit of money, is to use cloud storage providers such as Google Drive.
Google Drive allows you to not only store your documents online, but makes it easy to share them with other users, who can edit them in the browser of their choice. This means less downloading, as everyone is using the same version of the program and users can edit in real time – no need to download documents and sort through changes. Beyond that, Drive is supported by Mac, PC, iOS and Android. You can access Drive documents on any of these systems.
If you prefer Microsoft, that company’s SkyDrive is more or less the same thing as Google Drive, just integrated with Microsoft Office. Apple’s cloud is mainly for use within the Apple system. To span across all systems, a third-party cloud provider like DropBox or Box can offer a great solution.
Use Google to sync calendars, email and contacts
When using multiple devices, it’s a near certainty that you have contacts unique to each system that you would like to access on other systems. Regardless of the system you use, there is a way to connect it to Google’s products. You can use Google Sync to sync with Google’s Web based products, which can be accessed from any browser on your desktop.
If you have a Windows machine and would like to sync your Google account information with the related Microsoft program – like Outlook – you can use Google Apps Sync. Mac users can sync with Google easily by going to Preferences and selecting Accounts for each program.
These are just a few ways to get your devices to work well together. Have you dealt with similar problems before? Do you have any creative solutions to share? Let us know.