File sharing and synchronization (FSS) was popularized be services like Dropbox and the trend has now invaded the enterprise. The need for sharing information in today’s enterprise has gone beyond what traditional systems can offer; inadvertently making FSS tools among the most popular applications used in the work place. The shift to Enterprise File Synchronization […]
File sharing and synchronization (FSS) was popularized be services like Dropbox and the trend has now invaded the enterprise. The need for sharing information in today's enterprise has gone beyond what traditional systems can offer; inadvertently making FSS tools among the most popular applications used in the work place. The shift to Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) allows for a more distributed model where different employees and groups can remotely create, edit, and distribute files as needed, across various platforms –desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets- in real time.
Employees today need to collaborate on the creation of presentations, documents, and spread sheets; they want to send, receive, and sign important business documents like purchase orders, contracts, and proposals on the go; and lastly, they want to create, edit and broadcast content of different types across multiple devices. In the absence of a viable solution, they become creative in sharing and synchronizing data, resulting in an increased sprawl of information. This is the key driving force behind the growing level of interest, demand and investments in cloud platforms and services to support file synchronization, sharing, and broader collaboration capabilities, while providing the level of IT security and control needed.
I. Consumer Versions vs. Enterprise Versions
In the past, most of the file sync and sharing that took place was driven by the users themselves and was accomplished and popularized using consumer-grade FSS tools like Dropbox and Google Drive. But consumer FSS tools bypass the corporate firewall and can therefore be an expensive liability. They lack centralized management, activity and audit logging, robust encryption, and integration with existing infrastructure.
Information is emerging as the new currency of the enterprise; it is a company's second most expensive asset after its employees and must therefore be protected at all costs. With consumer-level FSS solutions, there is no guarantee that crucial company information will remain in safe hands. The use of such services within the workplace can easily lead to a security breach, data leakage or data loss.
Recent breaches into public consumer-grade FSS solutions have proven that the security concerns associated with them are justified; the only solution is to create an easy-to-use, secure alternative. In order to secure information assets and prevent information leakages that occur when employees store cooperate data in uncontrolled personal cloud services; organizations must deploy enterprise-grade FSS tools.
II. It's The Age of the Mobile Worker
Before the cloud, there was content management systems, email, and servers; while these were all reliable methods for sharing and accessing files, they have a myriad of limitations. The proliferation of consumer mobility, media tablets and Bring-Your-Own-Device programs within the enterprise is a principal driver of the move to EFSS. The employees' need to utilize EFSS is a reality corporate IT has to face. Ignoring this need will eventually force workers to take on consumer-grade file sharing solutions as an alternative.
As IT departments finally yield to user demands that they support any and all devices, the best way to stay in control of corporate data is EFSS. EFSS solutions will allow companies to mobilize enterprise data wherever it is stored, off or on premises thus ensuring the mobile workforce is happy and productive.
III. Give Collaboration the Boost it Deserves
Cloud computing and collaboration are a match made in heaven and EFSS solutions are their matchmaker. Using EFSS tools is the easiest way to create a globalized cooperative and dynamic work environment that is both stored and accessed remotely. Working outside cooperate offices, whether in branch offices or at home, is the new norm, and the rise of a more mobile workforce means that collaboration has to be done online more often than not. As a result of this improved collaboration, employees have the ability to drive innovation faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Enterprise-grade FSS solutions boost collaboration by;
1. Providing better organization: Will all projects stored in a central location, employees can easily work together without having to attach an evolving document to series of links in a huge email chain that can quickly become difficult to manage.
2. Providing quick and easy access to large files: Any employee working on a project can access or share large files as long as they have a stable internet connection.
3. Sending notifications in real time: EFSS tools enable a team of individuals in different locations to work on a single project, this is largely made possible by the fact that updates and edits to a project appear in real-time.
4. Creating a platform for brainstorming: The fact that employees can share files means that they can share ideas as well.
The proliferation of consumer mobility and BYOD programs in the enterprise are some of the trends contributing to the emerging EFSS market. Organizations are increasingly demanding EFSS capabilities that improve the mobile workers' collaboration and productivity while limiting security risks. A 2014 study conducted by Research Now revealed that a majority of companies polled expressed a preference for private cloud storage; and a majority of large organizations with over 30,000 employees outright forbid the use of consumer-grade FSS solutions.
The growing number of enterprise class offerings that meet IT concerns while offering the desired usability to its users shows that the rapidly evolving EFSS market is approaching maturation. However, as it stands, a smaller number of vendors meet all enterprise requirements. The market is inclusive of competitors originating from different technology areas such as social and collaboration storage, backup content management, managed file transfer and collaboration, cloud virtualization, and enterprise mobility.
The future of the EFSS market is predictable. User demand within the enterprise largely follows consumer trends, and developments in the consumer use of the cloud and mobile devices has to be observed, planned, and balanced for adoption in the enterprise. User demand will likely never stop evolving. Enterprise File Sync and Sharing solutions continue to ameliorate, both in security and control features, and user experience. Many Enterprise tuned FSS offerings will evolve to meet an increasing set if enterprise requirements and use cases. Gartner has placed various EFSS players in their 'magic quadrant' to evaluate how the space is evolving. Click here to compare FileCloud vs. Gartner magic quadrant Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) players and learn why FileCloud is the fastest growing Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solution!
It is quite clear that the need for file sharing and sync in today's enterprise is not going away. Like other "consumerzation of IT" trends like BYOD, workers are bringing trends they embraced in the consumer realm into the work place. Enterprises can't turn a blind eye to this reality, and in essence can largely benefit from the productivity and literacy workers bring by using tools they have already adopted.