When we talk to businesses about moving into the cloud, we often focus on the cloud-based, managed file services. We see how trendy file sync-and-share services have become as IT continues its love-hate relationship with consumerization. We also see how simply putting a traditional file server in a cloud-hosted environment does not reap the benefits many expect.
For us, a managed cloud file service provides users with secure access to files in a central service, from any Internet-connected device. “Managed” means that your IT admins and/or data managers are able to monitor and control the access rights, exposures, permissions, and ownership of information stored within the service. “Managed” also means your data is protected from user error (or intention) as well as hardware/software issues.
While file-sync-and-share is one type of cloud file service, it is not the only form of cloud file service.
As you think of how to best move file storage into cloud file services, consider your business and technical needs.
File-sync-and-share is easy to deploy, but implies that you will have multiple copies of data on different devices, each of which will then require protection. File-sync-and-share also creates a peer-to-peer sharing service, in which users can get lost among shared folders and unclear ownership.
Other peer-to-peer solutions, including OneDrive and Google Drive, can cause similar user confusion as the number of users, or the number of documents, increases. And while peer-to-peer file services where the rage back in 1998 with the release of Windows for Workgroups, most businesses have been running on centralized file servers for at least the past decade.
A managed cloud file service can provide a working environment similar to an on-premise file server. When structured properly a managed cloud file service can provide:
- A single location for data (no need to replicate to local machines)
- Centralized ownership of file space, libraries, and directory hierarchies
- Centralized administration of access rights and permissions, by user or group
- The ability to provide shared folders/directories for company, department, or project team work, along with personal folders/directories for individual activities
- Unified search across shared and individual file spaces
- Secure access from any device — PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, etc.
- Administrative ability to monitor and audit permissions and access by individuals and applications
- Data protection in the form of versioning and backup/recovery systems
- Integration of additional metadata, document management, and workflow management tools to reinforce and accelerate business processes
If your cloud storage is not giving you the advantages of a managed cloud file service, let us know. We are happy to review your environment and suggest alternatives.