Most consumers use a consumer-grade cloud file service— logically so, since their needs do not usually extend beyond simple file sharing and syncing of ordinary documents and images. Yet despite there being a clear difference between the needs of “casual” users and working professionals, particularly in the realms of security and collaboration, a substantial number of businesses still choose to use a consumer-grade cloud file service. Why? The fact is: many people do not understand the key differences between cloud file services built for everyday consumers and cloud file solutions built with the needs of businesses in mind.
This white paper is intended to help you understand the key differences between consumer-grade cloud file services and business-grade cloud file services.
Although all vendors are rapidly developing their cloud file services, there are some general differences we can focus on. While a comprehensive analysis of the different services is beyond the scope of this white paper, it highlights five features that distinguish a business-grade cloud file service like our SyncAnywhere solution.
1. Compliant with industry regulations and other legal requirements
When people use consumer-grade file sync services for everyday activities, such as syncing and storing family pictures or homework assignments on different devices, regulatory requirements such as the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and other federal, provincial, and industry privacy laws and regulations in Canada.
For this reason, employees using file sync and share in a professional environment must ensure that the service they use complies fully with the rules and regulations that apply to their business. Using a business-grade file sync solution that meets these requirements is the only way to ensure regulatory compliance, because consumer-grade cloud file services usually fall short.
Of course, simply because a particular file sync service has more features than popular consumer-grade services does not mean it is suitable for companies with sensitive information. Business owners must therefore tread carefully and ensure they choose a truly business-grade file sync solution — one that complies fully with important laws and regulatory standards. SyncAnywhere is designed for business only and is engineered from the ground up to meet or exceed regulatory requirements.
2. Offers complete control over file revisions, backup, and data retention
No matter what industry a company operates in, one of the most critical considerations every business owner must take into account is the security and retention of company data. After all, given the increased reliance on computers to get work done, the ability to recover older versions of files that have been accidentally or maliciously deleted has never been of greater importance. When analyzing which cloud file service to choose, therefore, organizations must carefully consider how different services back up and restore important data.
Consumer-grade cloud file services fare poorly in this regard. The notion of data backup doesn’t really exist in the consumer cloud file arena. But with SyncAnywhere, for example, businesses have full control over file versioning, backup retention, and point-in-time restores to minimize data loss from from deleted files and crypto-viruses which can permanently disable your operations.
Organizations who consider data retention and backup to be an important priority need to consider the rich features enabled by a business-grade cloud file solution like SyncAnywhere.
One of the most important aspects of business-grade cloud file solutions is ensuring that administrators and users have complete control over where and how their data is kept, including previous versions of their files and backups of files stored elsewhere on a computer. Business-grade cloud file services like SyncAnywhere allow users to store and revert back to an unlimited number of previous file versions. Additionally, deleted files can be retained indefinitely (or for a specific period of time) and recovered with a single click, ensuring any accidental or malicious deletions and overwrites are not permanent. In short, business-grade cloud file solutions let administrators rest assured that the integrity and availability of critical business files is never an issue.
3. Advanced collaboration and sharing features
Those who sign up for a consumer-grade cloud file service largely expect it will replace flash drives and email for simple file transfers. However, businesses that invest in a cloud file solution have expectations regarding collaboration and security that go far beyond what consumer-grade file sync services provide.
Business-grade cloud file services can fundamentally transform how colleagues collaborate. Shared folders allow employees to work together on a common set of files that multiple people need access to. A twelve-person marketing team, for instance, may all share a single folder that contains a wide variety of marketing collateral, both drafted and finalized. Once a piece of collateral has been approved by management for wider distribution, it may be copied into another shared folder accessible by all salespeople. Though most business-grade cloud file solutions sport this capability, most consumer-grade cloud file services lack advanced collaboration features.
Business-grade cloud file services, like SyncAnywhere, enable secure forms of file sharing between team members within an organizations and guest users. All consumer-grade cloud file service allows users to generate a link to download a synced file and paste that link into an email or IM for anyone to access. But these services do not permit users to place any kind of security measures on those share links, so anyone who finds and clicks on a share link — regardless of how old the link is or the sensitivity of the shared file in question — can gain access to the file. On the other hand, business-grade file sync services allow users to configure granular security features, such as expiration dates and download limits, on individual share links. Users of a business-grade cloud file solution can also restrict who can actually download a shared file by forcing recipients to log in with email and password credentials.
Only business-grade cloud file solutions provide organizations with the advances in productivity, collaboration, and security they need.
4. Provides IT with visibility and control
Consumer-grade cloud file services being used to share and sync corporate data is a recipe for disaster. These cloud file services do not provide administrators with the ability to view and control how employees interact with and share company files. As a result, employees who choose to use consumer-grade cloud file services to sync data between multiple computers or to share files with people outside the company could put an organization in jeopardy. The importance of cloud files solution that allows central administrative control to protect against data leakage or other security risks cannot be overstated.
Business-grade cloud file solutions provide IT administrators with the visibility and control they need to ensure the protection of clients’ data. Especially in a collaborative environment, the sudden disappearance of files due to accidental deletion or the malicious actions of an employee gone rogue can wreak considerable havoc. Fortunately, business-grade cloud file solutions like SyncAnywhere gives you the administrative tools guard against these types of disasters.
Additional features such as remote wipe provide administrators with the tools they need to ensure data security. If an employee loses his or her laptop or gets terminated, the organization’s administrator can instantly wipe the device clean of corporate content. Furthermore, custom audit logs provide administrators with a complete review of all of the file sharing and syncing activities within an organization, making it easy to track and put an end to potential security issues. None of these capabilities are possible with consumer-grade cloud file services.
The fact that cloud file services emerged from the consumer end of the technological spectrum has created some confusion about the suitability of these services for business and even security issues as employee’s own personal cloud file services have leaked into the workplace.
Fortunately business-grade file sync solutions, like SyncAnywhere, are available to deliver the security features organizations require. SyncAnywehre is a secure and robust cloud file solution built specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. With its combination of business- and administrator-friendly features, SyncAnywhere sets the gold standard for business-grade cloud file services.