What’s the difference?
On-premises file servers are the traditional choice. They provide a central file repository, shared access and IT control over access permissions.
- File servers are a big step up from manual file sharing methods such as email or thumb drives. They work very well within the four walls of an organization.
- However, remote access to files is a challenge. It typically requires a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. This in turn requires IT to set up a VPN server and firewall and installing VPN client software on all devices accessing the file server.
- Support for the file server is generally limited to devices running the same operating system, e.g. Windows.
In the face of these limitations, there is no easy way to collaborate with individuals outside the organization—such as partners, suppliers or customers—without heavy IT coordination and effort.
Another drawback is that organizations have to purchase and maintain the hardware and software to operate a file server. In addition to the capital expenditure, this incurs ongoing electric, real estate and maintenance costs.
Cloud file sync & share services
Like traditional file servers, cloud-based file sync & share services provide a shared, centralized file repository. The difference is these services are easily accessed from any location or device, which facilitates the needs of a far wider scope of users, devices and capabilities.
- It is just as easy to support users inside an organization as outside.
- Users, partners, suppliers and customers can all connect without a VPN.
- Cloud file sync & share supports a wider range of mobile and computing devices, such as iPhone, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry.
- The service provider maintains the hardware and software, so customers are relieved of that overhead and expense. Instead, they pay a monthly fee.
The advantages of cloud file sync & share service—mobility, cost-effectiveness, external sharing and easy collaboration—make it a superior solution for file sharing. The broader scope and ease of collaboration allows workers and businesses to be more productive.