Choosing a file-sharing service: On-premises vs. third-party providers

When you know what features you want your file-sharing service to have, the next step is to decide whether you'll host it on-premises or not.

As you decide on a cloud collaboration and file-sharing service, you need to account for several factors. For your ideal feature set, consider that the technology should enable employees to do their jobs and ensure that IT administrators have the security and management controls they need to do theirs.

Once you identify your company's feature requirements, weigh the capabilities of off-site file-sharing services against on-premises technology. These days, you can deliver Dropbox-like functionality from within your company's data center, eliminating many of the concerns raised by a cloud service. These concerns include risks to sensitive data, the need to meet compliance standards, and having the necessary management capabilities to ensure security and compliance.

One such on-premises file-sharing service, Novell Filr, integrates with Windows and Novell file servers, as well as network-attached storage, to provide user access through iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, Mac OS X and the Web. Best of all, administrators can manage user access through Novell eDirectory or Microsoft Active Directory.

More on file sharing services

What to expect from cloud-based services for businesses

What to look for in a cloud storage provider

Choosing a file-sharing service: On-premises vs. third-party provider

For many organizations, however, a cloud file-sharing service will be a better fit than on-premises technology, especially for small to medium-sized businesses that can't invest the resources necessary for an internal tool.

Carefully vet each potential service provider to understand its features and how those features address your requirements. The chances are that no single system will include everything you want, and you'll likely need to make trade-offs. For example, your organization might benefit from the collaboration capabilities inherent in Google Drive, but you won't get the management and security capabilities of Box. So, as you look for the right cloud service, the choice will often come down to prioritizing the features you need.

To truly home in on the best choice for your company, create a matrix to measure each file-sharing service's features in the areas of storage, centralized management, user experience, security, reliability and performance. Then rate each provider on the functionality provided for each feature. The more you do your homework, the more likely you'll be satisfied with the results.

 

This was first published in October 2013

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