An admin's guide to cloud file sharing and business cloud services

Cloud file sharing and business services guide

As an IT admin, you might feel that blocking cloud file-sharing services is your only option, but that's actually not the case.

There's no question that cloud storage services come loaded with security worries, but these online file-sharing services can actually be good for you. Cloud file sharing and storage services make it easier for employees to be productive, so you'll probably see fewer help desk tickets. The services are usually hosted outside of corporate servers, which means fewer servers to manage, too, which can save your company money.

Instead of instinctively blocking access to services such as Dropbox and Box, take a look at the real threats you're facing and see how cloud services can be more friend than foe.

Table of contents:

Cloud email and productivity applications

Users mix business and pleasure with cloud email services
In an effort to improve security, today's corporate inboxes come with lots of restrictions. In response, users just forward their email to personal accounts. If you want employees to stop this practice -- which can open the door for compliance issues and security breaches -- you may have to give them what they want: business inboxes that feel more like cloud email services.

Cloud email services to replace old-school enterprise email
As an admin, you might not like that employees in your organization use cloud email at work. But cloud email services have advantages over your old corporate email servers. With improved flexibility and lower operating costs, cloud email might just win over IT.

Top 5 cloud collaboration services and business cloud app suites

As more users look to the cloud for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, organizations might want to look into adopting cloud collaboration tools and business app suites. These business cloud services can be attractive because they need less maintenance and IT resources. Businesses can also benefit from the fact that cloud application services are externally hosted.

Tech-savvy users don't mind violating cloud licensing

If employees access cloud services with corporate email addresses for personal use, that's bad for cloud licensing and compliance. They need to use personal email addresses for personal cloud storage accounts, and companies that want to allow employees to use business cloud services have to buy licenses and watch out for employees who use unsanctioned cloud services.

Guide to consumer cloud storage and collaboration
With cloud storage services and social collaboration software tools, employees can store and share data and files, access them across a range of devices and share them with all the right people. But employees can sign up for these services on their own, so you might worry about security and lack of oversight. The good news is that you can tailor services to your organization, palliating some of the risks of consumer cloud storage and collaboration services.

How to deliver mobile cloud apps to the enterprise
The best rule in construction is to measure twice and cut once, but when it comes to building mobile cloud apps, the opposite is true. Write your apps once (for all the OSes you want to support) and deploy them many times. You can use a mobile enterprise application platform to write for multiple OSes and devices, and then you just need to worry about getting those cloud-based mobile apps to users.

Cloud file-sharing technology

Top 10 cloud file-sharing terms
Having trouble keeping all those cloud-based file sharing terms straight? It's not easy to keep track of so many terms, especially when the market is constantly evolving. Check out the guide to cloud terms and you'll get back on track.

Cloud-based file sharing: Everything you need to know
Companies use cloud-based file sharing as a way to give employees flexible access to files and data, and some businesses even use the cloud as an alternative to traditional backup options. But no matter how or why your organization uses cloud file sharing, IT needs to know about cloud weaknesses and whether or not it's a good way to replace old backup methods.

Get more control over data with enterprise cloud file-sharing apps
There are more ways than ever for employees to store and share data, and they can do all their file sharing without IT's blessing. One way to combat that lack of oversight is to offer employees cloud file sharing apps that are built for the enterprise. Many of the major consumer cloud app players offer business versions of their apps that give some control back.

Cloud file sharing lets users ditch file servers, VPNs
File sharing isn't just good news for users. It can also help IT. When employees use cloud file sharing, you can get rid of file servers, plus the management and maintenance headaches that go with them. File sharing also reduces the costs associated with virtual private networks.

Storage and file-sharing products

File-sharing and cloud storage services from Microsoft, Google
Rather than offering cloud storage lockers, Microsoft and Google developed cloud file sharing services that extend their current applications. Google Drive and Microsoft's SkyDrive work as central hubs for information and tie into Google Docs and Office 365, respectively.

Dropbox hacks spotlight cloud security concerns
The cloud is famous for its user-friendliness, but also for its perceived lack of security. Dropbox has been hacked a few times, and the scope of the most recent Dropbox security breach is still undetermined, which is enough to get people worried. Safe passwords can keep hackers out of Dropbox accounts, but only if your users actually vary their passwords.

Dropbox and Dropbox for Teams: Good for business file sharing, but not perfect
For some companies, it's acceptable for employees to use consumer services such as Dropbox. But if you need more control, Dropbox crosses into the business file-sharing circle with its enterprise offering, Dropbox for Teams, which offers more control over who can see and share which data with whom. But it's not a complete corporate file-sharing solution because it lacks a good version control system and a way to handle billing and payment.

Integration is key to enterprise file-sharing success for VMware Octopus
VMware Horizon Data (formerly known as Project Octopus) might be the service that puts cloud and file-sharing power back in IT's hands. It integrates with existing IT infrastructure and offers the management and security features that admins want from an enterprise file-sharing service.

Citrix Receiver, CloudGateway 2 and ShareFile combo come to BYOD shops
Citrix's approach to BYOD combines Receiver and ShareFile for data storage access. With a new version of CloudGateway 2, you can deliver self-service apps to users. Users can open Citric Receiver on their mobile devices and access cloud and corporate applications that IT manages and have access to their data through ShareFile.

Box on cloud storage and collaboration services
Employees don't always like network drives and corporate collaboration software. That's why they turn to consumer cloud storage and collaboration services. Companies such as Box offer cloud services designed to provide a better user experience and enterprise mobile management features such as business-wide file and data searches.