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Taneja Blog

Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems

Enterprise File Collaboration: Filling Big Business Needs

The basic business need for file collaboration is the ability to share files between a mobile workforce, external shareholders, and endpoint devices. Consumer grade collaboration tools exist to share files on an individual user basis, mostly consisting of uploading files to a central location and downloading from a mobile device. This is awkward in and of itself since it requires a user to remember to put the file into the central location before changing locations and using another endpoint device. It is certainly unworkable with large enterprise.

Strong business drivers are encouraging corporations to take the plunge into EFC.

  1. BYOD management. One of the main drivers for mobile management in general is BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. (Cynics refer to BYOD as “Buy Your Own Device.”) BYOD is a burden for IT. They are responsible for keeping information secure and available only to approved users and devices, yet the proliferation and uniqueness of each smartphone, laptop or tablet makes that job very difficult.  Complexity, lack of scalability, and lax security are all issues with managing BYOD. Additional issues include multiple carriers for wireless devices, user demand to support many types of files, and the fact that these devices are personal property and have personal applications and data on them as well as corporate data. The BYOD phenomenon impacts several technology domains including Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM), and has deep implications for EFC.
  2. Lack of IT control. IT knows that it should establish control over corporate data flying around the globe on unsecured personal devices. They need to be able to supervise data retention, versions, security, controlled access, policies to administer the management environment. Malware management is another serious problem when users are combining personal and corporate data and applications on a personal device. For example, it sounds efficient to give IT the ability to wipe a device’s memory in case of loss – except that if the device is the employee's personal property, IT must face the reality of a very upset employee. Granted it may be the employee’s fault but this risk extends across many hundreds of users, all insisting that this is their property.
  3. Lack of security with consumer-grade services. Data security is a huge concern for data wherever it is stored. When files are stored in the cloud, IT’s security concerns ratchet up.  And when business data is stored on thousands of mobile devices – you do the math. Consumer grade file sharing services claim to be secure and they are to a point, but they often lack strong encryption and user access control. They also lack the ability for IT to set and enforce security policies for shared files.  
  4. Governance and compliance worries. Consumer-grade collaboration tools rarely automatically encrypt files sent from the user device and few consumers will bother to encrypt on their own. This is risky with personal data and potentially disastrous with sensitive and/or regulated business data. Sharing data without encryption risks data exposure. (There is a very good reason that consumer file sharing tools are not compliant with important governmental and industry regulations.) There is also no way that consumer-grade file sharing applications can track specific physical storage locations when that level of compliance is required.


As the Starship Troopers movie is fond of saying, "Want to know more?" Click here for our EFC Market Landscape Report.


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