Top File Sync and Share Cloud Services and Best Practices

File sync shareFile Sync and Share Cloud Services

One of the most popular cloud applications for small and mid-size enterprises is file sync-and-share. File Sync and Share (FSS) cloud services, also known as cloud storage and file sharing services, are online platforms that allow users to store, synchronize, and share files and data across multiple devices and with other users. These services are designed to provide a seamless and efficient way to access and manage files from anywhere with an internet connection.

It makes sense: people need to share files, and most file sync-and-share services are easy to install and use. If not properly managed, however, file sync-and-sharing can result in data breaches and loss and can place your company in legal jeopardy. To minimize these risks, we recommend all businesses enact a simple set of policies that are easy to communicate, explain, and follow.

8 of the Best File Sync and Share Cloud Services

  1. Dropbox: One of the pioneers in the cloud storage industry, Dropbox allows users to store and share files, collaborate on documents, and synchronize data across devices. It offers various plans for personal and business use.
  2. Google Drive: Provided by Google, Google Drive offers a generous amount of free storage space and integrates seamlessly with other Google services like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for real-time collaboration.
  3. Microsoft OneDrive: Integrated with the Microsoft Office suite, OneDrive is designed to work smoothly with Microsoft products, making it an excellent choice for users who heavily rely on Office applications.
  4. Box: Box is primarily focused on business and enterprise users, providing robust security features and collaboration tools tailored for corporate environments.
  5. Apple iCloud Drive: Geared toward Apple users, iCloud Drive enables seamless synchronization of files across macOS, iOS, and Windows devices.
  6. Amazon Drive: Amazon Drive is part of Amazon’s suite of managed cloud services and offers a straightforward cloud storage solution for individuals and businesses.
  7. Known for its strong emphasis on security and privacy, provides end-to-end encryption and compliance with various privacy regulations.
  8. pCloud: pCloud is known for its client-side encryption and the ability to extend storage by linking multiple accounts.

These services typically offer a certain amount of free storage space, with the option to purchase additional storage through subscription plans. They often include features like file versioning, selective synchronization, sharing controls, and collaboration tools to enhance productivity.

When choosing a File Sync and Share cloud service, consider factors such as storage capacity, security measures, compatibility with your devices and operating systems, collaboration features, and pricing options. Also, be aware of the terms of service and the provider’s approach to data privacy and security to ensure that it aligns with your needs and requirements.

Best Practices: Policies for Using File Sync-and-Share Services

To make the most of File Sync and Share (FSS) cloud services while maintaining security and efficiency, consider implementing the following best practices:

  • Employees may use file sync-and-share services, provided they have an business need to do so, use only company approved and managed services, and adhere to company policies.
  • Only company approved services should be used for file storage and sharing; employees may not use free, consumer, or public apps or services.
  • Employees must keep their usernames and passwords for file sync-and-share services secure, and must manage these passwords in accordance with company policies.
  • Only relevant business information may be stored are shared using the company’s file sync-and-share services.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, file sync-and-share services are intended for temporary sharing of files. Original versions of files should reside on company file servers or services.
  • Access to files should be removed, particularly by external parties, when no longer necessary.
  • Copyrighted, private, or secure information should only be shared if both the sender and recipient are authorized to view and/or use the information. This information should be encrypted by the file sync-and-share service, or a separate tool, before it is shared.
  • The company’s file sync-and-share services are subject central administration and management, including access controls and permissions.
  • Use of the company’s file sync-and-share services is subject to all relevant company policies regarding professional and personal conduct. The company’s file sync-and-share services are subject to company monitoring in accordance with company policies.

With these policies in place, you can provide employees with vetted file sync-and-share services that both meet employees’ needs to share and collaborate, while protecting your data, your regulatory compliance, and your business.

Navigating Cloud App Customer Issues: Common Concerns

Cloud SharingThe cloud is a great way to securely share information with customers, vendors, and business partners. Most productivity tools are relatively inexpensive, easy to set up, seem easy for your customers to use, and adequately secure. For many of these services, your customers access the data you are sharing by creating a free account on that service. This seemingly harmless step, however, can be the source of problems. Make sure you understand the top cloud app customer issues and address them before they cause problems for your business.

How Cloud App Sharing Solution May be Punishing Your Customers

Using a cloud solution that requires customers (or others) to create a free account will, in many instances, cause problems for your customers.

  • Free Accounts are Never Really Free. When your customer sets up their free accounts, your vendor has gained a new “customer.”  Expect the vendor to start marketing to your customers in order to sell them upgrades to paid versions.  Your vendor will likely add your customers to their newsletter and update notice lists.

Sharing a file should not create an email headache for your customers.

  • Your Customer May Need to Help.  Many cloud-sharing services require, or encourage via default prompts, the installation of browser and desktop extensions, applications, or services. If your customer uses a managed computer, she may not have the rights to install the necessary widget to access the shared data.

Your customer should not need help from
IT to open a shared file or a secure email from you.

  • You Can Break Your Customers’ Computers. Even if the necessary extension, application, or service can be installed, your cloud app may break their computers. If the extension, application, or service conflicts with other software or services on your customer’s computer, you have created a problem that can be time-consuming to figure out and resolve.

Reading a shared file and secure email should not cause system problems.

  • Not Everybody Wants More Software.  A customer of ours once asked if he would need to install anything to view a file we were about to share. He pointed out that he currently had 4 apps for accessing shared file services, 1 app and 2 browser extensions for reading secure emails, and 3 web meeting clients installed on his system — non of which his company uses. Once every few weeks, he spends time uninstalling these “helpful tools” to keep his system free of clutter.

A shared file or secure email should not require a system cleanup.

The biggest issue with all of the above scenarios is that they disrespect your customers’ time by creating inconveniences or problems. Doing business with you should be easy.

When picking cloud solutions, such as file sharing and secure email services, look for systems that do not require (or prefer by default) your customers to setup accounts or install software of any type. Unless your customer agrees to that type of solution (such as accessing a project management system), you are potentially creating problems and annoyances that can change your customer’s perception of you and your business.

FAQs About Cloud App Customer Issues

Feel free to contact us if we can help you evaluate your options and solutions.


Reconsider Your File Sync-and-Share Services

File sync share
It is no wonder why file sync-and-share services are so popular. They are easy to setup and use, particularly with people outside your company or organization. And, most people you want to share with have, or are willing to create, a free account to see your shared files.

As a business, government, school, or non-profit, however, you may want to reconsider how you let your team use file sync-and-share services.  Here’s why:

Who “Controls” the Data?
  • Do you know if individuals are sharing information inappropriately?
  • Could you recover files deleted by a user from their account?

File sync-and-share services create de facto peer-to-peer networks. Files are “owned” by the person that created or uploaded them. Permissions are controlled by each user, not by any central policy. As such, you have little ability to monitor or manage access to your data, which puts your business at risk for data breaches, as well as policy and regulatory violations.

Can You “Find” the File?
  • Are you comfortable with a peer-to-peer file service with little central control?
  • Are folks wasting time figuring out in which folder files are stored?

With each user creating folders and files to meet their own organizational needs, finding files shared with you can be challenging. As users create similarly named folders, locating files can be a challenge. You should never need to call a person for help locating a shared file.

Where, “Exactly”, is the File?
  • Would a lost or stolen laptop or phone give somebody easy access locally saved files?
  • Is locally saved data as secure as data on your server?

Chances are, your team is syncing files to/from laptops and mobile devices. So even if you are using a secure file sync-and-share service, your data is likely at risk. File sync-and-share services create local directories for storage and most services rely on your local security to protect those files. In other words, your data may be on a laptop or mobile device with no (or trivial) password protection. Adding drive-level encryption is an option, but adds money, complexity, and support costs to your environment.


Fortunately, solutions exist.

Secure, enterprise file sync-and-share solutions provide centralized control of what data can be synced to local devices, and by whom. These solutions also require login verification before accessing information on the local devices. Managed cloud file services let employees use locally installed apps with cloud-stored data, while providing centralized ownership and permissions management. Each solution has its limitations and benefits; understanding how your users need and prefer to work is key to making the picking the best solution.

Contact us for more information about available cloud file service options.


Consider Cloud File Services

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.



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