Are you asking the right questions about cloud-based file sharing?


The prospect of seamless collaboration is one of the major attractions of a cloud-first strategy.

Ideally, a cloud-based file-sharing solution will enable teams to securely access and share information no matter where they work.

But the number of platforms can be overwhelming, which is why the average organization uses as many as 76 file-sharing methods, often without the blessing of the CIO. Email is the most obvious, of course, although it doesn't allow for real-time collaboration. Some organizations use free or low-cost cloud file-sharing services that can be scaled up or down.

The problem with free

Some organizations have adopted consumer-oriented file sharing services such as Dropbox. While these services make it easy to set up an account, they're not necessarily designed for a large corporate user base. In particular, these services may put sensitive information at risk. An estimated 84 percent of IT experts report security issues related to the use of consumer file-sharing services in the workplace, according to Frost and Sullivan.

And, you might not even know how many of these solutions are being used in their organizations. A strong shadow IT policy can help, but a better approach is to establish a file-sharing solution that employees want to use and that can be controlled by administrators.

Three questions to ask

Ready to consider the options? Following are three questions to ask:

  1. Can the solution provide the level of data security you need? Ideally, your file-sharing service allows you to create and enforce policies for automated data loss prevention (DLP), preventing users from sending sensitive information outside of the corporate network. Consumer-grade file-sharing services generally lack administrative tools for IT teams. Yet, such tools are essential for a strong security program. DLP is critical for regulatory compliance and client trust, as in financial services, health care and other highly regulated industries. Your administrator tools should enable you to control file sharing across all types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

  2. Will it improve workflow, or just add to more office drama? When it takes 10 minutes to find a file or email, or to transfer a big file, employee frustration mounts. Those problems only grow when workflow requires multiple levels of input and approvals that a simple, consumer-grade file-sharing service wasn't built to accommodate. The more sophisticated cloud platforms, like Citrix ShareFile, are designed for enterprise use. Citrix ShareFile supports enterprise-level approval workflows, sending big files, secure file upload, e-signatures, client portal and more.

  3. Will it strengthen data security compliance? The vast majority of cloud apps used today do not meet SOC 2 compliance standards, and encryption is weak. One study found that only 39 percent of companies encrypt all the data they store in the cloud. ShareFile is among the few secure file transfer and storage services with plenty of customizable features to add as much protection to your data as you need without making work more difficult.

In the glut of file-sharing solutions on the market right now, only a handful might suit your enterprise. Consider the essentials of a prospective file-sharing solution before making your move. 


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September 29, 2017