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SimplyPats Portable Appliance Testing Software
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Cloud Storage for your SimplyPats Data Files and PAT Reports

Online storage (or Cloud Storage as it is commonly referred to) has become increasingly popular as solutions are offered for a low monthly/yearly fee or free of charge.

If you are prepared to put the storage of your data into the hands of another company, there are a number of benefits which you can take advantage of.

Backup your PAT Test Data and Reports

The first and most obvious is the ability to backup and store your PAT Testing Data or Reports “Off Site” Data can then be transferred to a new PC at any time by logging into your account and syncing the files or dragging them across, ideal if your PC fails and you need to change it.

Multi-user access to PAT Test Data and Reports

Setup correctly, there is no reason why multiple users cannot log into or have access to certain folders. This opens up a whole load of options when it comes to sharing your PAT Data or PAT Test Reports and PAT Certificates.

Multi-user access (from a Contractor or person(s) carrying out the testing)

The SimplyPats default Data Path can be set under the Settings > System Settings > Data Tab, either set this to your local Cloud Storage Folder or setup the default SimplyPats Data folder to sync with your Cloud Storage account.

Data saved to your SimplyPats Data folder will now be synced with your Cloud Server automatically, ideal if you have engineers out in the field testing and you want them to send their PAT Data or Downloads to you remotely. You can then pick these files up in the office as they come in and either move them to another folder or finish processing them.

Multi-user access (For your Customers to View their PAT Testing Reports and Certificates)

We will go into more detail with regards to this option in the real-life example below using Microsoft OneDrive.

Put simply, this solution will allow you to upload PAT Reports and Certificates in PDF Format to your Cloud Server allowing your customers to view them at any time. You could of course upload files in any of the digital export formats that SimplyPats supports, but Reports in PDF Format is probably the most common format where digital reports are concerned.

SimplyPats .PAT Data Files can of course be uploaded, but your customer will need a Licenced copy of SimplyPats (if they need to edit or print them) or a Demo of SimplyPats (if they just need to view them) installed to open these types of files.

Each Customer will have access to their own folder containing just their PAT Data, PAT Reports or PAT Certificates. Access to these folders can be limited to certain users via password entry or by sending them an invite via email.

Example of Microsoft OneDrive in action

We have setup a Microsoft OneDrive account and at the time of writing we get 7 Gb of free storage.
We are running Windows 8.1 which has OneDrive support built in via an App or Desktop Application. The Desktop Application can be downloaded for other operating systems.

Add a Folder for each of your Customers

The first thing to do is access your account and create a folder for each of your Customers (see screen shot below). In the example below we created a folder called “Data” in the root of our OneDrive folder just to separate it from anything else we may be storing on the server.

Attachment:
File comment: SimplyPats OneDrive Folder
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-01.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-01.png [ 37.88 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


Tell SimplyPats to use your OneDrive Folder as its default Data Folder

(Only do this if you want to Share the actual SimplyPats .PAT Data files with your customers, otherwise skip this part)

If you want to share the actual SimplyPats.PAT Database files with your customers it will make life easier if you tell SimplyPats to use your OneDrive Folder as its default data path, this way files will automatically be saved and updated both locally and on the OneDrive server.

Attachment:
File comment: SimplyPats PAT Data
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-02.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-02.png [ 6.74 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


Upload PAT Reports / PAT Certificates for your Customer to view in PDF Format

We are uploading various PAT Reports created in SimplyPats and saved in PDF Format for our customer, this can be done from the File > Print Results Screen within SimplyPats and you can either export each PAT Report individually or setup a Print Sequence to export multiple PDFs in one hit.

If you are exporting individually, simply select the Report from the Preview Report drop down menu and click the Export To PDF button, you will now be prompted to save the PDF (see screen shot below).

Navigate to the customers data folder on your OneDrive server, change the File Name if needed (we re-named ours to contain the date) and press Save.

Attachment:
File comment: SimplyPats PDF PAT Test Reports
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-03.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-03.png [ 20.87 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


If you are exporting the PDFs as a Print Sequence from the Print Results screen a number of other options become available. You may also need to manually Drag and Drop the files from one folder on your PC to the correct Customer Folder on your OneDrive. Please contact support if you need help or further information regarding this.

Giving your Customer Access to their PAT Reports

You will now want to give your customer’s access to their PAT Reports.

From your Local PC, find the Customer Folder in your OneDrive, Right Click on the Folder and choose Share. Depending on the version you are using, use will see a screen similar to the one below.

Attachment:
File comment: Giving Customers access to their SimplyPats PAT Testing Reports or Data online
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-04.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-04.png [ 10.37 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


You can add more than one recipient at the same time and you can also choose to make them sign in with a Microsoft account, in this instance we have chosen not to require log in using a username or password. We have set Recipients can only view files and we have also added a message that will appear in the email.

Your customer will then receive an email informing them that you have shared some files with them, the email will look similar to the example below.

Attachment:
File comment: SimplyPats PAT Testing Reports Online
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-05.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-05.png [ 10.55 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


Clicking on any of the links for the PDF Files from within the email will open the file from the OneDrive server, your customer can then Print or Save the file.

Attachment:
File comment: Example PAT Test Report
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-06.png
SImplyPats-Cloud-Storage-06.png [ 26.25 KiB | Viewed 3937 times ]


Other information

When setting these solutions up you may want to pay close attention to the Sync Settings, I personally like to have the files available “Off Line” meaning that the files are stored on my PC (as well as any other Device linked to the OneDrive account) and also “On Line”. You may require different setting depending on what you want to achieve, so do some research.

The above was just a quick overview of file sharing using Microsoft OneDrive using basic settings. A whole host of options may be available to you based on the solution that you choose and the way in which you set it up, this is something that you may want to investigate yourself if you are interested.

There are other companies offering similar solutions to Microsoft OneDrive, such as DropBox or Google Drive to name a couple.


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