Which File-Sharing Solution Type is Best for Your Business?

At one time, sharing a document with a colleague was a labor-intensive process. A worker was required to save the file to a floppy and mail or walk it to that person’s desk. As computers have evolved, more options for file transfers opened up, including flash drives, e-mail, and saving to internal servers.

Cloud hosting has eased the process even further, providing businesses the ability to create central hubs where multiple workers can meet. Tools such as Basecamp give workplaces a place where employees can share documents, as well as update the status of projects without worrying about multiple versions of a document. But for businesses interested in simple file sharing without shelling out the monthly fee for a project management tool, there are two cloud-based options.

File Syncing

Dropbox introduced the concept of automatic file syncing to the average user. Being forced to manually save files to the cloud is time consuming for many busy professionals, and it’s easy to miss a few weeks of saves, resulting in the possible loss of data in the event of a computer failure. Dropbox automatically syncs files across multiple devices, ensuring the latest version is always saved.

File Storage

Services like Google Drive put a user’s storage in the cloud, where it can be accessed from anywhere. But customers using cloud service providers have another option for their storage. By entering only a username and password, users can access work files from any device, allowing them to stay connected while on the road. Best of all, because these files can be accessed directly in a web browser, there’s no need to install special software or worry about data overages from files constantly syncing.

Cloud computing has changed the face of work, allowing employees to easily share information. Cloud service providers are always looking for ways to more easily access their work files from anywhere, using either a mobile device or PC.

Cloud Computing for Small Business

Should you move your small business to a cloud computing platform?

Cloud computing centralizes your software and data on an Internet platform rather than on your desktop, laptop or on a server. Since the users will be sharing storage space, bandwidth, memory, software and processing power, you can amalgamate these functionalities and have one good system rather than furnishing all your staff members with powerful PCs or laptops replete with software and security packages. This holds many advantages for the small business owner:

  • Software tools are accessed online and don’t have to be installed on each computer. This means a reduction in software costs and IT department calls to install or maintain software on each and every device. You can even rent software rather than buying expensive packages upfront.
  • Massive savings on IT costs. Cloud hosting companies automatically load updates and patches and maintain your software and data. Your IT costs are reduced and the hosting company provides all your support, negating the need for an on-site IT department or specialist.
  • You save on hardware costs as expensive servers and data storage devices become a thing of the past.
  • Increased security: Anti-virus software, firewalls and spam protection is available on cloud at a fraction of the cost that a small business would have to pay independently for the same level of protection.
  • No unforeseen expenses: A service contract with your cloud provider covers all the IT maintenance and troubleshooting you need in a month. This makes for predictable monthly expenses as you pay a fixed monthly fee.
  • Broader telecommuting possibilities: Being able to access your information and software enables employees to work from home or on their own personal devices. This means no late nights at the office which improves employee satisfaction and increases off-site work options.
  • Great opportunity for new businesses: New businesses have a lower initial outlay and faster deployment. Since cloud is location and device independent, you don’t even have to have your office up and running to start making money.

Not everything about the cloud is silver lining. Unscheduled downtime will prevent you from accessing your data or using software that may be integral to the functioning of your business. Instead of having other computers which can be utilized to keep business ticking over, you are completely dependent on the availability of your cloud provider.

You must have sufficient security protocols in place to ensure the safety of your data. Establish policies on security for employees who work off site or use their own devices to access data and software. If security policies are in place, your data should be safe.