Guide to Enterprise File Sync and Share – Deployment Model (Part 2)
The popularity of cloud based file share and sync within the enterprise is on a steady rise. Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies and an increasingly mobile workforce that wants quick and easy access to corporate data are placing new pressures on IT. Enterprise IT is no longer in a command and control role where it can dictate the software and hardware employees use. This rise in popularity is the major driving factor behind the rapid maturation of the enterprise file sharing market.
The market has evolved from simple file storage services for consumers to fully fledged technology solutions that require features to effectively secure and manage business data. However, as part of the evolution, the demand for viable alternatives to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ cloud-based approach has also increased and as a result, the first and most important consideration before deploying cloud based FSS tools in the enterprise is the type of deployment model. CIOs and IT Admins should ensure that security risks and other challenges are minimized before migrating into the cloud. Therefore, it is of great importance for enterprises to fully understand their requirements before choosing a deployment model.
What are the available options?
Cloud based file sharing and sync solutions can be deployed in different ways, depending on the provisioning location and the organizational structure. Each of the deployment models represent a specific type of cloud environment that is loosely determined by size, ownership and access. An in-depth survey conducted by ESG of 334 North American IT professionals representing enterprise-class, midmarket and small organization concluded that two thirds of the respondents would be very interested in a deployment model that allows some or all data to be stored on-premise. Regardless of which deployment model an organization chooses, each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
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Pure Public Cloud
In the pure cloud deployment model, both an organization’s file data and the application control panel resides in the third party cloud service provider’s data center. The cloud provider is solely responsible for the on-going maintenance of the infrastructure and any compliance responsibilities. Pure cloud FSS solutions are generally easy to configure and deploy, but organizations are completely dependent on the service provider for file security.
The clients have zero visibility or control over the location of the infrastructure; this means that if a data center is breached, IT will have no control over how long the outage will last or what data may be compromised. All the customers on pure clouds share the same infrastructure pool with limited security protections, configuration and availability variances. With increase in concerns on privacy and surveillance, new regulations limit physical location of where the data resides. Such regulations makes some of the pure cloud deployment complex especially for companies that have operation across globe. However, control limitations, security risks and policy constraints aside, there are some situations where a pure cloud model makes the most sense.
Since the infrastructure is shared among customers, the infrastructure costs are shared as well; allowing each individual customer to operate at a low-cost. Pure clouds are also larger in scale compared to on-premise cloud infrastructures, which provides clients with seamless, on-demand scalability. The Pure cloud deployment model is ideal for organizations that wish to adopt an enterprise class cloud without having to heavily invest on an in-house data center. It basically allows the organization to procure the computing power needed to deliver all their services, but on a budget. For an Enterprise to fully benefit from a pure cloud model, it must be willing to accept the reduced control and monitoring over the service provider’s security and governance. Most pure cloud vendors offer their services on the basis of a pay-per-user license policy. The model can help decrease capital expenditure and reduce operational IT costs.
An on-premise deployment approach emulates a pure cloud within an organization’s boundaries. The file access, sharing and synchronization components are deployed on-premise and integrate with corporate data repositories, without file replicas. On-premises deployments are highly virtualized and focus on consolidating distributed services within the organization’s data center. The service provider dedicates specific cloud services to a single organization and no other clients.
The primary benefit organizations enjoy from on-premise deployments is the ability to maintain all their business processes and existing internal systems such as authentication and access privileges. Additionally, companies can enforce their own data security standards and controls since everything is housed within their firewall. Organizations can easily leverage existing hardware investments, while also providing their employees with a pure cloud-like file sharing and access experience.
Since the resources are not pooled across multiple unaffiliated organizations, cost of infrastructure cant be shared across companies. However, on-premise cloud brings cost efficiency by improving the utilization of existing internal infrastructure. For companies with good infrastructure (bandwidth and servers), on-premise cloud might be cheaper than public cloud as marginal cost of deployment is very small compared to public cloud. The on-premise deployment method is ideal for organization with strict regulations about data storage and organizations those have existing IT infrastructure and have intricate business processes, and existing collaboration and authentication internal systems.
Organizations that use the hybrid approach try to get the best of both worlds by not limiting themselves to a single deployment method; but instead incorporating different and overlapping cloud services to meet their unique requirements. The mobile device authentication, search and security mechanisms are implemented in the provider’s cloud, but documents and files are kept in their original corporate data repository.
Hybrid deployments are complex and typically require careful planning to deploy and manage. A management strategy should address budgeting, fault management, security, change control, and configuration management. The hybrid approach enables enterprises to take full advantage of the cost-effectiveness and scalability offered by a pure cloud environment without exposing critical data and applications to third party vulnerabilities. This method is ideal for organizations that wish to simplify mobile worker’s access to corporate data via the cloud, without creating and storing data replicas in a third party cloud.
Any organization considering file sharing and sync should focus on enterprise-grade FSS solutions. The emerging market for enterprise file sharing and sync (EFSS) enables better collaboration and productivity for mobile workers while giving IT control with compliance and security capabilities. It is up to the organization to examine their needs and find the right fit.
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Author: Gabriel Lando
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