Consumer cloud storage and social collaboration software tools: An IT guide

Consumer cloud storage and collaboration guide

Dude, where's my corporate data?

Consumer cloud storage services and social collaboration software tools offer easy ways for employees to store data and files, access them on multiple devices and share them with one another.

The problem is, employees can sign up for many of these consumer cloud storage offerings on their own, giving IT no oversight or control. Admins are rightfully worried about data security, but these cloud storage and social collaboration software tools aren’t all bad. It’s possible to mitigate the risks associated with these kinds of data storage, and doing so can help the entire organization take advantage of the consumer technology employees have grown accustomed to.

This guide describes the pros and cons of these services and explains how IT can work with the tools users are bringing into the organization, which enterprise-friendly services are available and how this technology can actually benefit IT in some cases.

Table of contents:

Consumer cloud storage services

Cloud storage services and file-sharing apps can make an employee’s job much easier, but the perks that employees enjoy with the cloud often mean extra work for IT. Not every service will work for your enterprise, but there are ways that IT can tweak and secure a service so that employees enjoy some of the same benefits they get from consumer cloud storage, while still keeping admins’ headaches to a minimum.

To cloud skeptics: Don't diss Dropbox
Corporate employees like consumer cloud storage services such as Dropbox for personal use, and they’re going to use them at work too. Before admins block employee access to the site completely, they should consider that the service is actually really useful for file transfers and storage.

Using Dropbox for corporate file sharing
Making Dropbox part of your corporate file-sharing strategy is possible. All IT has to do is tailor the service to the enterprise and work with users, instead of fighting with them.

Dropbox for Teams helps with business file sharing but isn’t perfect
An enterprise version of the popular consumer cloud storage service, Dropbox for Teams offers admins more control over who can store corporate data in the cloud. But the service has some business file sharing downsides that IT should mull over first.

Q&A: Box CEO Aaron Levie on cloud storage and collaboration services
The CEO of Box, a cloud storage and collaboration provider, talks about the future of cloud services in the enterprise and offers his perspective on the evolution of enterprise collaboration and file-sharing software.

Top five personal cloud storage and file-sharing services and what they mean for IT
Employees at your organization probably use personal cloud storage and file-sharing services for work, and that’s probably a pain for you as an IT professional. Check out these top five file-sharing services and see which ones can work in the enterprise and why others are better suited to personal use.

Social collaboration software tools

A new breed of collaboration software tools, influenced by social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, are making their way into the corporate world. They work differently than traditional platforms, such as Microsoft SharePoint, and they have different management requirements, too. But the good news that these IT can use these tools to implement a compliant, secure social collaboration platform.

Enterprise collaboration platforms go social -- or at least try to
In an effort to bring the social collaboration software that employees use in their personal lives to the enterprise, collaboration software vendors are adding more social aspects to their platforms. But that doesn’t mean that users will necessarily embrace their employers’ social efforts.

Jive exec says social enterprise collaboration software is good for IT
Social enterprise collaboration software tools can make the jobs of IT pros a lot easier according to Jive Software’s chief social scientist. This new wave of tools puts admins’ focus less on moderating users and more on their core technology tasks.

With new enterprise collaboration platforms, 'social' means business
Employees don’t want to use outdated platforms such as Wikis and blogs. They want to use Facebook, Twitter and other real-time, interactive tools. Businesses can use these enterprise collaboration software tools and build their own to increase employees’ productivity.

How to select an enterprise collaboration platform (hold on tight)
There are tons of vendors trying to get in on the growing enterprise social collaboration platform scene. Before choosing which company to go with, consider which programs your organization already uses and how you can best augment those services with social capabilities.