Many businesses use file servers for file management. File servers work extremely well for document storage, provide a central location for backing up, and offer IT managers a high degree of management control.
One of the limitations with file servers is how difficult it can be for remote or traveling employees to access content outside of the office. It typically requires employees to establish a VPN connection, which can be time-consuming as well as difficult to do from a mobile device. Being able to retrieve files quickly and easily can help accelerate response time for sales, give decision-makers easy access to critical business information, and increase the productivity of mobile employees.
Another limitation is that file server content can’t easily be shared with people outside of the company. If your business works with very large files, they may be too large to send as email attachments. In this case, you might need to set up FTP access for large file server files, which can also be cumbersome for clients and business partners to use.
If you’re a business running a file server, but you want to make it easy for your users to access mobile content and share files, you might be wondering how you should to proceed. Let’s take a look at some options for solving the file server dilemma.
Option 1: Let employees use their own cloud service: Some companies allow employees to use personal file sync and share services like Dropbox® or Google Drive® alongside file servers. These services are typically free or low-cost, offer high mobility, and make it easy to share files with people outside of the company. But, in this setup, the content is not connected to the file server in any way, so users will have to copy files from the file server manually to work with them. The bigger downside with this option is that IT managers have no control over personal services and aren’t able to see what type of content is being stored and how it’s being shared. You can’t retrieve the corporate content from these services when someone leaves the company. And, finally, content stored on consumer file sync and share services is unlikely to be backed up. So, while this approach may be cost-effective and easy-to-implement, it comes with risks to your business.
Option 2: Migrate to a business-grade file sync and share service: Deploying a business-grade file sync and share service can provide the same mobility and collaboration features offered by a personal service with additional management and control features. But even business-grade file sync and share services pose management limitations. Few services include backup. You may be able to manually restore a file or a few files through the control panel, but if you experience a situation that involves the deletion of a large number of files – like a ransomware attack or some type of mass file deletion (either by accident or intentionally) – you likely won’t have an easy, certain, or quick way to restore those files. Additionally, moving from a file server to a file sync and share service will typically cause some disruption to the business, both from moving content from the file server and reconfiguring it to be used with the file sync and share service, as well as possibly requiring employees to learn new ways of working.
Option 3: Choose a cloud solution that integrates with your existing file server: For businesses that want to add mobility and collaboration to their existing file management content, ShareSync backup and file sharing solution will be a good fit. ShareSync offers a File Server Sync feature, which allows you to synchronize file server content with ShareSync, so files are accessible from mobile devices and can be easily and securely shared with people inside and outside of your company. Using ShareSync offers some additional benefits:
- Real-time backup of file server and desktop files
- Full management control of users, devices, sharing and content
- The ability to roll back files – individually or in bulk – to any previous point in time. This is especially helpful in shortening downtime during a ransomware attack that spreads to your file server or other type of mass file loss.
Using a file sync and share service that works with your existing file server – like ShareSync – lets you easily extend mobility and collaboration for your file server content to make your employees more productive and protects you against a wide variety of data loss events, without disrupting your business.
Contact us today to learn more.