The rapid adoption of consumer-grade file sync services in the workplace is one of the greatest security risks for businesses today. Your employees want their critical business files with them wherever they go, including on their personal smartphones, tablets, or even home office computers. Industry analysts have dubbed the trend of personal device use in the workplace as “bring your own device,” or BYOD. Unfortunately, the growth in mobility, BYOD, and the desire to work anywhere creates a host of new challenges for protecting corporate data. Consumer-grade sync services, such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive empower users to sync their work data and files with their mobile devices, and home PCs, but they can be a recipe for disaster from a data privacy, security, and compliance perspective.
There is an alternative approach for security conscious organizations. Savvy and growth oriented organizations know that you have enable employees to be productive wherever they go, but without compromising the security and control of sensitive corporate data. This whitepaper explores how business owners and executives can arm employees with productivity enhancing file sync technology, while at the same time safeguarding corporate data. Business-grade file sync solutions put an end to “file anarchy” in the workplace and allow businesses to implement sensible security policies that prohibit the use of consumer-grade sync services in the workplace.
Business-grade file sync services deliver users all the key benefits they expect, such as the ability to sync files between work PCs, the web, and a range of personal devices, such as iPhones, tablets, and home office computers. What’s more, companies with legacy file servers can also sync the server to the cloud and better connect distributed employees with their corporate data. At the same time, with a business-grade solution, companies can implement strict security policies on a group or per user basis; prohibit syncing to non-authorized devices; and remotely wipe sensitive data from lost or stolen devices or from machines owned by terminated employees. With a business-grade file sync solution, the company stays in control of its corporate data, while giving users all the productivity enhancements they desire. The result is happy users and business executives with peace of mind that their data is protected.
Here are the eight ways that business-grade cloud file sync technology will boost morale and make your people more productive:
- Files on the Go
Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Business-grade file sync enables users to sync their work and corporate files from their main work PC to remote computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Users can now confidently go in the field, on meetings, or a short business trip and leave the laptop at the office, since all of their critical files are at their fingertips. With all files in sync, users can open, view, email, and share files from their mobile device. With the right apps on the mobile device, users can even edit conventional productivity files, like MS Word or Excel, right from their mobile device.
- Work from Anywhere
Everyone it seems is struggling with life/work balance today. Extending ones day by an hour or two in the evening or on the weekend is part of the process staying on top of things and staying sane in a 24/7 economy. By syncing files between your main office computer and a home office machine, knowledge workers are easily able to stay on top of their workload and crank out a few minutes or hours of productivity from the home office. With business-grade file sync, every computer and mobile device stays in sync and key files help people work from anywhere. Moreover, even when you are away from your main computers, such as on a hotel lobby computer, all of your content is available online from the web portal as well. Business-grade sync solutions sync your files to the cloud, allowing people work from virtually anywhere.
- Leverage the Cloud-connected File Server
Business-grade sync solutions enable companies to take their legacy file server and connect it to the cloud and sync the data to mobile users and teams. For a long time, file servers provided centralized file access and control and kept everything organized in a company. For users on the same local area network, accessing files from the file server has always been fast and easy. For remote users, the situation was the exact opposite in most cases. As companies have become more distributed, remote users have suffered from high levels of frustration since accessing and syncing with the company file server required a remote access VPN, which was often slow and cumbersome. The result from these technical challenges was more and more corporate data sprawl across an organization and many users working in isolation. By cloud enabling a file-server, organizations and their users no longer need to worry about VPNs. They just stay in sync, between the server, their computers, and mobile devices.
- No More VPN
The main use case for most remote access VPNs was to login to the HQ network to sync up and access the file server. VPNs have been plagued however with incompatibilities, Wi-Fi and firewall connection issues, and cumbersome user interfaces. In short, users have loathed their corporate VPNs. With business-grade file sync, along with file server enablement, VPNs can become a thing of the past. Instead of needing to login to HQ, a user’s files are simply transparently synced in the background, making people fast and productive with their business files.
- Sending Large Files
Traditionally, it has been very difficult for business users to share large files with colleagues, clients, and vendors. Email is the wrong method to share large files, since email servers often have file size limitations. To complicate things further, with the state of spam defense in most organizations, most users never see an email bounce from a server rejecting an email due to a file size limit. Business-grade sync solutions enable users to instead share files with web links pointing to files and folders stored in the cloud. This approach vastly simplifies life for users and makes sending large files fast and easy.
- Sending Sensitive Files
Business users of all stripes need to send confidential and sensitive business data to colleagues, clients, and business partners. In some industry verticals, virtually all external communications may involve highly sensitive documents. Secure sharing capabilities are vital for professionals, such as lawyers or accountants, who must interact with numerous client contacts and collaborate with people outside their organization. Business-grade sync services enable users to perform secure shares, where the sender of the file can force the recipient to register as a guest user before retrieving the file from the web. Moreover, the sender can specify download limits, file expiration time limits, and further control how the recipient can interact with the file or folder.
- Securely Collaborate with Anyone
Business-grade sync solutions facilitate frequent collaboration with guest users. A licensed user can setup a special collaboration folder in the cloud and then invite guest users to upload, share, download, and manage the content in the shared folder. Since the users are collaborating on a web folder, file size limitations and security issues are eliminated. Licensed users can simultaneous have numerous different shared, collaboration folders in use at any one time.
- Distributed, but Still in Sync
Organizations today are evermore distributed. Most businesses are locating employees geographically closer to clients and business partners in order to facilitate better service and business relationships. Therefore, collaboration and effective communication, despite distances, are essential to successful organizations. Business- grade file sync is one critical tool that thriving organizations need to keep employees connected, productive, and happy.
Rick Bonito shares over two decades of experience as an IT professional and as founder and managing principal of EverSafe IT Services. For more information about EverSafe’s managed IT, security and compliance, cloud, and consulting services, Contact Us at firstname.lastname@example.org