How To Choose the Right File Sharing Solution for Your Business

 

With the spread of remote work and contractual employees, business file sharing has never been more important. The right software solution needs to handle massive file sizes without a hitch, but it also needs to be optimized for secure file sharing. Professionals these days routinely have to deal with enormous files. High-resolution images, HD video, and massive data files can pose a challenge. Sharing them on your company’s intranet is no problem. But what about when you need to send them to remote employees, contractors, or external clients? Email isn’t reliable for files over 20MB. That may have been fine in the 1990s, but with today’s file sizes measuring in the gigabytes, it’s totally inadequate.

That’s where file-sharing software comes in. Many of these products store files in a server or cloud location, enabling authorized users to download them at their convenience. Others use File Transfer Protocol (FTP), the client-server standard for file sharing connection, typically secured with SSL/TLS. Unsurprisingly, software options have proliferated in recent years, and the fierce competition has bred a wealth of good choices.

Be sure to consider several factors when picking sharing software for your enterprise. Can it handle the file sizes you need? Is it secure? How easy is it to use? Is it designed for consumers or businesses? Here are some of the factors you need to look for in  a File Sharing Solution

Cloud or On-Premise?

On-premise vs Cloud debate has been going on for some time now. With different business requirements, the storage system should be selected keeping in mind the pros and cons of the storage system.

On-premise storage data is entirely held by the business and onus for data protection remains with the company. Data sharing becomes fast in on-premise storage since data is stored locally. On-Premise storage is initially cheaper but the upfront investment could vary and hardware setup and software fees could increase.

Cloud Storage data is stored on the remote servers of the service providers and the onus of data protection lies with the service provider. Security and encryption technologies are deployed to prevent data leakages. Predictable cost prices over the years, cheaper upfront investment, and no additional hardware cost are involved.

This is a decision based on the preference of your organization. Do you value authority over your data more? Already spent a lot on IT infrastructure and a sever is deployed? On-Premise is your best bet. You want easier integrations, cost-efficient and in low technical resources, you would probably be better with Cloud solutions.

Storage and sharing requirements

Storage space is now more affordable than ever with prices going down each year. In terms of capacity, most cloud storage providers offer a generous amount of storage and in various tiers. Multiple terabytes (TB) are commonplace and no longer a big differentiator between services, especially now that adding storage capacity is easy and cheap. Some providers have their own data centers while others actually outsource their storage to another third-party cloud, often Amazon Web Services (AWS) or a similar Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) player. That’s an important point to consider: Are you signing a service-level agreement (SLA) with a cloud provider that’s directly responsible for the infrastructure or is the provider beholden to another party? If it’s a third party, make sure to investigate that firm and examine its track record. Then, look at the levels of service it offers. While all of the major offerings have some level of uptime guarantee, it is worth noting that location is an important factor. How many data centers does the third party have?

Multiplatform Support

Almost as important as keeping information safe is making information accessible across the diverse landscape of devices that users bring to the mix. The primary candidates are the typical: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and a variety of Android flavors as well as iOS and OS X. For any platform to be effective in today’s business landscape, web access is a must. Mobile compatibility has gained a place in the ecosystem of business. This especially applies to road warriors who frequently work in planes, cars, and subways. Having a cloud storage solution that can provide these capabilities to users via a software client optimized for their particular operating system (OS), be it Android, iOS, even Windows Phone, is a feature you should look for in a competitive service offering.

Security Requirements

This issue was the primary driver for the development of EFSS and is the most important thing to consider. Even if you ultimately choose a cloud-based service, make sure you read the contract carefully and verify ownership of the shared content as well as ensure you have Administrator rights to manage the shared content. If new content and/or edits on the fly are being generated, then you’ll need to ensure your data is protected. Sharing data functionality should involve a sync client or desktop-based software that resides in each PC or client and ensures that data in the cloud is synced with local replicas. But it can also have other points of access. Cloud storage companies usually default to their web clients, which can be accessed on any desktop or mobile browser. Several solutions go above and beyond the call of duty and incorporate tight integration with popular office products such as Microsoft Office 365. That’s bolstered security in the cloud significantly over the past couple of years, which has had the pleasant side effect of letting many cloud services successfully comply with standards such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and ISO 27001. It’s a daunting task for a user to keep up with the litany of passwords required across all apps without reducing security in some way. Single Sign-On (SSO) solves some of this by having one secure password. Locking data away doesn’t end with just passwords, either. In addition to having something you know, it’s better to pair it with something you have. Two-factor or even multifactor authentication.

Integrations and APIs

One of the advantages of having information in the cloud is that it can be part of a larger ecosystem of connected apps. This capability lets businesses create custom workflows and business processes, often without having to hire contract programmers. It is very important you chose a solution that can help you scale and be flexible. It should be compatible with EFSS integrations and plugins you might wish to use in the future. You need to have the ability to configure and deploy EFSS to align with the security approach and established policies of your organization.

Control

Management is another important consideration. Some EFSS products and services are designed to be straightforward and easy to deploy, while others allow administrators to tweak everything under the sun but may be less intuitive.

Consider how the product will integrate with the rest of the IT environment. For example, some products offer integration with an Active Directory and LDAP to ease management and simplify access control. Others offer integration with commonly used enterprise applications such as Outlook and Sharepoint. Role-based administration is another possible consideration. For example, if a user data have to be wiped remotely, Can an admin do that?

 

Conclusion

Choosing a cloud storage product for your organization can seem like a daunting task when you first consider all of the variables involved. Not only do different businesses have varying cloud storage and file-sharing requirements they demand solid security for file backups and sharing. Striking a balance between usability, security, and customization ultimately needs to be driven by business requirements. But understanding exactly what those requirements are is a serious task that will require real work