Business-class cloud file sync services support a multitude of use cases that can help organizations work more efficiently and effectively with information resources in this increasingly mobile environment. For managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs), knowledge of these use cases will likely help them to convince clients of the value of business-class cloud file sync.
The following are seven key areas where business-class cloud file sync can deliver value for organizations. Most of these use cases can apply to any size business in virtually any type of industry.
Use Case No. 1: Anytime/Anywhere Access
Companies need to be able to deliver access via a multitude of devices and environments, including desktop PCs, Web platforms, smartphones, tablets and laptops. With cloud file sync, a user can sync up their main work machine with different work zones in order to stay connected at all times and ensure that files remain in sync. This is a foundational use case for business-class cloud file sync, because it essentially defines the value of the technology for enabling the work-from-anywhere strategy.
Use Case No. 2: Secure Collaboration
Employees need to collaborate and share information—with each other, with business partners and, in some cases, with customers. In most cases, online file collaboration and file sharing needs to be highly secure. Business-class cloud file sync enables users to share such files, either publicly, or via a secure share capability that requires recipients to log for secure file retrieval.
Use Case No. 3: Mobility
It’s an increasingly mobile business world, and the advent of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is only fueling faster growth of mobile devices in the workplace. With cloud file sync, workers such as salespeople and customer representatives can be sure that whatever material they are working on in the field is in sync with the documents on their main computer in the office. They can open, view and edit documents from a mobile device as if they were on the desktop machine. Using a mobile device, they are able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues regardless of their location, in a secure manner.
Use Case No. 4: File Service Enablement and Team Shares
In many organizations, the legacy file server is used as the authoritative location of corporate data; it’s the central place where all files go. Cloud-enabling a file server through a cloud file sync solution allows organizations to maintain a single authoritative location for all corporate data, while providing syncing, sharing, and collaboration with mobile users and devices.
Use Case No. 5: Security and Control for Administrators
In addition to the above use cases for end users, business-class cloud file sync can be leveraged by IT administrators or MSPs to improve security and control of files and content. This technology provides fine-grained permissions and control capabilities, so administrators can set precise permissions of how file sync can be used, based on the job functions of users, types of devices, etc.
Use Case No. 6: Remote Wiping of Mobile Devices
Another important use case for administrators is the ability to leverage cloud file sync to remotely wipe data, and the file sync capability itself, from users’ devices for security reasons. They can do this on a global basis, wiping all the devices a user has, or on select devices.
Use Case No. 7: Revision-Based Backup of Files
In many instances, administrators and other users need to access older versions of files. For example, a user might make modifications in a file and then decide that these changes are not necessary, or a business interruption such as a power failure might necessitate the used of an older version of a file. Business-class cloud file sync delivers byte-level revisions of files that are modified in the system, allowing users to view and restore previous versions. Files that are deleted locally can be restored from the server in the case of data loss. In addition, revisions allow managers to see which person and machine made a modification to a file, as well as the time and date of the revision. A file sync solution should enable custom retention policies for these revisions, based on business and compliance needs.
For VARS and MSPs that are looking for a competitive edge, business-class cloud file sync represents a potentially significant new source of revenue. By describing or demonstrating these various use cases to prospective clients, MSPs can more clearly show the business value of these cloud file sync solutions.
Ted Hulsy is VP of Marketing at eFolder, a cloud-based file sharing company.