8th February 2016
Businesses and organisations are now looking to enable greater collaboration and efficiency through cloud-based file sync and sharing solutions, which also allow users to store files in the cloud and access them from any device.
The range of free consumer services are great for individual use but were not designed for businesses. Although many of the consumer-based products are trying to enter the business market, it’s best to choose a solution that has been designed from the outset for business use.
Here are some of the key items to consider when evaluating a cloud file-sharing service:
All the major cloud-based file-sharing and storage solutions are normally charged on a per-user, per-month basis. How much you pay also depends on how much storage space you need, and in most cases the cost also depends on how many users are involved.
A company with ten users will pay more per head than a business with hundreds of users. You can expect to pay around €12 per user per month when small numbers are involved. The cost falls to around €8 per user in cases where there are 200 or more users.
This is the most important consideration for businesses looking for a file sync and share solution. Staff using public cloud and free services from providers like DropBox and others has led to a growing number of problems with security and IT management.
For these reasons, many large organisations have now banned all public cloud providers that provide a free or home use version of their service, as it presents too much of a security risk when these individuals are accessing these services on the corporate network, or using their own device inside their corporate network.
The benefit of choosing an enterprise file-sharing solution is that whoever administers the system has total control of the documents being shared and can see what exactly has been shared and by whom. IT management can control who accesses the service and time limits can also be put on collaboration folders.
Enterprise services will have full audit traceability and reporting on what users are uploading and downloading, which is critical in businesses that are handling sensitive and valuable information. For maximum peace of mind, it is recommended that the cloud system has client-side encryption, data-at-rest encryption in the cloud and user-controlled encryption keys.
You should only consider a file-sharing solution that allows for your data being available anytime from anywhere and on a variety of devices, such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Other features now seeing a strong demand are file locking and version control, to enable active collaboration of working documents, as well as simply sharing files. The most advanced file sync and share solutions now also allow users the option to get the benefit of a full online backup facility as part of the service.
Online backup is growing in popularity and will cost a little extra. But the benefits are enormous in terms of reducing risk and providing a safety net in case users delete files maliciously or accidentally, or files become damaged and corrupted.
The majority of organisations feel very strongly about data residency for their critical files, and demand the data is resident in Ireland. It’s simpler, more secure and better all round to maintain 100% data residency in Ireland so that confidential data is governed by Irish law.
Lorcan Cunningham is CTO with Savenet Solutions.