You’re likely familiar with collaborative file sharing tools like Google Docs and Dropbox. These tools have a file synchronization feature that allows for the retrieval of a file that was saved from another location as well as for easy file sharing with other people. While convenient and easy to use, there are some technical and security concerns to be aware of. Here’s what you need to know about file sync and share and why businesses should choose a business-grade solution rather than one intended for consumers.
What is File Sync and Share?
With file synchronization and share services, the files you create are uploaded to a central server which then makes them available to your other devices. For example, you can create a file on your desktop computer, store it in your local Dropbox folder (which uploads it to a Dropbox server), and then retrieve the file on your smartphone, tablet, or any other computer you have access to. Likewise, you can generate a link to that file and share it with others via email, text messaging, or embedding it in a website or blog post.
Suppose you’ve shared a file with a coworker who has made changes to it. Those changes are synchronized by the service, so if you open the original copy in your Dropbox folder, it will have your coworker’s changes in it.
The Benefits of File Sync and Share
Using file sync and share services opens the doors to a world of possibilities. Below are just a few of the many benefits:
- ? Collaboration with others — It’s no longer necessary to keep track of multiple versions of a single document as the original one can be edited directly by one or more people. In addition, your collaborators can be located outside of your corporate network (a benefit perhaps, but this does come with some security concerns).
- ? Remote work — Because your files are readily accessible, you can work remotely and be just as productive, if not more so, as at the office.
- ? Instant access to your files wherever you may be — Inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient of times, but with a file sync and share service and your trusty smartphone, you could easily open and update a file — even if standing in line at the bank or while waiting to pick up your kids from school.
What File Sync and Share is NOT
Though similarities exist, file sync and share is not a backup. Even though your files may be stored online on a third party server, you’ll still want to be sure to have a solid backup system in place. Granted, should your hard disk crash, you will still be able to access files stored in Dropbox, Google Docs, OneDrive, or whatever file sync and share service you are using. However, you are not protecting your server, computer, or mobile device’s state, which a fast recovery requires.
Pitfalls of Using Consumer-Grade File Sync and Share Applications in a Business Environment
Many file sync and share services offer free basic plans, making them attractive to individuals and small businesses with limited budgets. They’re easy to sign up for and try. However, if you run a business, even a small one, it’s important to use a secure file sync and share solution rather than consumer-grade applications.
Some of the pitfalls of using consumer file-sharing tools are:
- ? Loss of control over files — Once files are shared with others, the company loses some degree of control over them. For example, what if a partner downloads a sensitive file to an insecure laptop which is later lost or stolen?
- ? Lack of detailed audit records — Likewise, when you share a link to a document, unless the other person edits the document or makes a comment, you don’t necessarily know what actions the other person took. Was the file viewed, downloaded or printed?
- ? Few, if any, restrictions — Some consumer-grade services allow you to specify users’ roles to view or edit the document, but that’s about it.
Fortunately, file sync and share providers offer business-class solutions designed with business needs in mind. Business-grade solutions typically provide you with greater administrative and network controls, along with a host of other security features such as audit logs, device approvals, two-factor authentication, remote wipe, expiring links and expiration dates, granular permissions, HIPAA compliance, password protection, and more.
By choosing a business-class file sync and share solution, you can ensure that your team has the collaborative tools needed to work productively in the office and when away, but without the risks associated with uncontrolled file sharing.
Where to Go from Here
We can set up secure file synchronization for your business as well as make sure that all of your files, including synchronized ones, are properly backed up. Get the benefits of file sync and share without the risk by contacting Quikteks today at (973) 882-4644 or schedule a free network consultation.