First level navigation Menu
smb file sync and share

File sync and share: Make your information mobile

by ​Bill Robertson
The distinction between ‘personal’ and ‘business’ devices is rapidly blurring. And why not? It’s incredibly convenient. You just need one phone or tablet or laptop for everything, and you can just use all of your familiar messaging, file-sharing and storage apps at work. Right?

While the convenience is undeniable, that attitude also sends a chill down the spine of IT departments everywhere. Those familiar consumer apps that make your personal life so convenient can also make it incredibly difficult to create a fully collaborative work environment.

For people to collaborate — share files, messages, resources — everything must be searchable and accessible across your entire network. And as an IDC study1 found, when company work is conducted through personal devices and services, half of all organizations cannot provide full access to workflows.

​​Nearly 3 in 4 office workers upload company files to a personal email or cloud account

Consumer apps create information silos

One side effect of using consumer apps to share and store files is that they’re accessible by only a designated few within the organization. This makes company-wide collaboration impossible because it creates largely invisible silos of information.

Invisible files caught up in private clouds and on individual mobile devices are not just inconvenient — they create a much less productive environment. IDC found that companies can increase revenue by 18 percent when they create a fully searchable data environment.

Security and compliance concerns

Nearly 3 in 4 office workers upload company files to a personal email or cloud account2. This leads to a security nightmare for IT because corporate data is only as secure as the password-setting, link-clicking and device-losing habits of individual employees. If an employee leaves the company but has sensitive records stored in a personal cloud service, there’s not much their former employer can do about it.

There are also compliance problems when private cloud services cannot reliably meet government standards, including HIPPA, FERPA and PCI. Can you imagine if your doctor shared your medical test results using his or her personal could storage service?

​EFSS tools provide a way to transfer, store and manage documents across multiple devices and networks.


Providing a better way to sync and share

Employees may be the ones choosing to use unsanctioned consumer services, but it’s often due to the fact that the tools provided by their employer don’t suit their needs. The best way to curb the issue is to provide an approved alternative that works just as well. This is why companies need to consider a modern file sync and share solution.

Often referred to as Enterprise File Sync & Share, or EFSS, these tools provide a way to transfer, store and manage documents across multiple devices and networks. Whether files are placed on a corporate network, with customers, partners or on mobile devices, they are accessible and searchable from any remote device that supports the EFSS product. Within the EFSS environment, IT can enforce security measures such as authentication, encryption and tracking features.

Goodbye to “one size fits all”

EFSS is an evolution from the complex content management model of the past. The more distributed model lets any group within an organization access, edit and distribute files in real time. EFSS solutions are set up in one of three ways:

  • Cloud: This means that your files shared via mobile devices are stored in the EFSS provider’s cloud. This is the entry-level solution for companies that do not want to invest in a full on-site system..
  • On premise: Mobile access, synchronization and sharing components are on the premises and integrated with your corporate network. No replicas of corporate files exist, so this solution is preferred by companies with strong data regulations.
  • Hybrid: This solution uses the provider’s cloud for mobile device authentication, security and file search. Files and documents, however, are housed in the your data repository. Without creating copies of files in some else’s cloud, this offers a higher level of security.
Picking the right solution allows you to configure it not just to your users’ needs, but your IT requirements as well. The needs of every organization are different, so one company may be best served by allowing the cloud to do the heavy lifting, while another may want to build primarily around local storage. No model is inherently more secure than the others — it’s about finding the best way to maintain and leverage your existing investments.

EFSS is a great option to balance the push for mobile-driven convenience and productivity, enterprise-wide collaboration, and strong security. Within EFSS, there are options that accommodate the needs of small and large businesses with various levels of security and compliance. With mobile computing in the workplace only growing more prevalent, these solutions are becoming a must-have.

The small business mobility playbook

Learn more about how you can improve the way information flows through your organization. This free guide offers simple, real-world advice to help you address common mobility challenges.
Bill Robertson
Bill Robertson, Senior Manager, Professional Services Strategy at Ricoh USA, Inc. brings over 10 years of experience in the technology industry with expertise in targeted growth, business development and new product development and launch. A customer advocate and innovator by nature, Robertson is an AIIM-certified Information Governance Specialist.
1 "How Information Gridlock Can Hold Your Business Back." IDC and Ricoh Report.
2 "The small business revolution: trends in SMB cloud adoption." 2015. BCSG.