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Why it's time to adopt enterprise file sync-and-share

Vendors are coming closer to providing the ideal enterprise file sync-and-share products. Most businesses will make back their investments with gains in employee productivity.

Businesses and employees can almost universally benefit from using EFSS.

IT professionals must weigh many factors in deciding whether to procure an enterprise file sync-and-share (EFSS) system as an alternative to the consumer cloud services many employees use. They need to calculate whether the benefits of EFSS outweigh the resources needed to acquire and manage a new system. Other considerations include security and how to control the endpoints that access the EFSS system.

Enterprise file sync and share pros and cons

The typical EFSS system includes a management console for IT and a user interface that provides access to a corporate data repository, such as Microsoft SharePoint. The main benefit is that IT has provided users with access to their files from anywhere, which can enable a mobile workforce. Be prepared for a mixed response from workers, though. Some common complaints are that it's hard to learn the new software, and that the smaller screens on their devices make it harder to do real work.

But overall, EFSS services are getting pretty close to providing the perfect scenario for both IT and end users when it comes to secure mobile data access. New vendors pop up all the time, offering multiple levels of file control, plus ways to share, access, view and edit files on a multitude of mobile and desktop devices.

How enterprise file sync and share transforms business

For organizations to truly take advantage of EFSS, they need their legacy vendors to start thinking mobile-first. Microsoft, for one, has made some advancements here, finally releasing mobile versions of Office and integrating with Dropbox, but there is still a ways to go.

On their end, enterprise IT departments should rethink where they save files. Most companies went through the same process over the years, updating their technology as it came out. Older companies started out saving files to PC hard drives, and then migrated to servers. After that, they would have likely created a SharePoint environment (which was clearly made for the desktop). If enterprises could start over from scratch and implement EFSS out of the box, they would increase collaboration and productivity among workers.

Even with all the complexity and different options available, it is essential that you provide your employees with EFSS to maximize remote access and collaboration abilities. Although the cost of EFSS is not insignificant, the gains in productivity should more than outweigh it.

This was last published in December 2014

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Do you think EFSS is essential for today's businesses?
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A solid EFSS is absolutely essential for any organization, the only problem is choosing one that will safely grow and scale with you. The problem is increased by the number of public and private cloud services out there that employees will insist on using, balanced against that data being your client’s invaluable information that you are fully responsible for. Choosing that EFSS vendor absolutely needs security to be top of the requirements list.
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Dropbox is far an away the most effective service for this because it's so drop dead simple. It's a file, and it's a folder, that's all the end user has to consider. For most of us, that's really all we want and need, we don't need lots of bells and whistles. Anyone that wants to succeed in this space with a competing product or vision needs to realize the simplicity is the real key.
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