The cloud file-sharing market has exploded over recent years with users embracing this latest technology to simplify both their personal and professional lives. While cloud has helped remove a lot of the headaches around storage and file access, it has also presented its own challenges. With an increasing number of people using consumer-grade products in the workplace, many are leaving company systems open to threats and exposing potentially sensitive data to unwanted access. So what can be done to address this? Well, it all starts with a simple definition….
On the face of it, there is little difference between file sharing for consumers and file sharing for businesses; they both provide easy access to data via an internet connection. However, consumer file sharing has been designed for easy, light use – the sharing of family pictures or videos for example. These solutions lack the security, permissioning, and auditability of those designed for the enterprise.
File Sharing for business, on the other hand, has been designed from the ground up with security and stability in mind as compared to being an afterthought to an easy, lightweight solution. Demands by enterprise solutions have always been vastly different than those of the consumer; although, the simplicity is an absolute necessity in either case.
With so many of us using the cloud in our personal lives, it was inevitable that this would spill over to the business world — the consumerization of IT strikes again. Employees have shunned “sneakernet” using memory sticks, CDs, and DVDs, and have instead started uploading work files to consumer clouds alongside their holiday pictures and favorite music. This presents issues for enterprise IT teams who are desperate to prevent the leak of sensitive materials and security breaches. They need to provide employees with a file-sharing platform that is simple for users but created for business.
Security, access permissions, complete audibility, and device controls will continue to be a core focus for administrators needing to control access levels and manage compliance in real time. Business file sharing will also need to take advantage of local storage whenever possible. Local storage provides the fastest access speed possible, does not clog the connection to the Internet, and provides business continuity in case of Internet outages. And the cloud provides accessibility to remote employees, business partners, and clients.
But providing the right solution is just part of the battle. Once the right solution is in place, ensuring high levels of adoption is the next challenge. Demonstrating ease of use to employees along with showing that they can now access any file in the company that they have permission to access (instead of just the ones that they remembered to drop in a folder on their computer) will go a long way to facilitating adoption.
So why run the risk of exposing your business data to major security issues from consumer file sharing? It’s time to put your critical data into a purpose-built platform designed to meet all the file sharing needs and requirements of businesses, not consumers.
By Rajesh Ram
Rajesh is a co-founder of Egnyte. He leads the product management and customer support teams. Rajesh’s strength in defining, delivering and supporting software solutions was developed while at Oracle, KPMG consulting and Valdero Corporation. Rajesh holds a BS in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and received an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
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