Defining the difference between consumer and business file sharing solutions

Jan 21, 2014

2014-01-21 Office Worker.jpgCollaborating through online platforms has become a major necessity for many organizations as their workforce begins to rely on constant access to information. Online file sharing is being driven by this need, as well as the increasing use of mobile devices. As more employees are encouraged to work remotely,file sharing services will become integral in connecting coworkers and ensuring that all staff has the most updated information available. Businesses must consider their options when choosing file sharing deployments, including whether to invest in cloud-based products, to provide the tools their employees need.

The popularity of file sharing solutions is growing quickly due to the ability to better monitor data wherever it is being held. However, there are some significant differences between consumer and business-grade offerings that could influence the success of the system. MSPmentor contributor Michael Brown noted that policies, hosting options and cloud enablement experiences can be different when choosing a system meant for company use rather than personal needs. For example, many organizations may choose to host their data in a private cloud, whereas this option is normally not available for consumer solutions. Businesses also have legal compliance standards created by their industries that must be adhered to. If a company were to use a system meant for the general public, it could be put in direct violation of overarching rules that have been established. However, as file sharing becomes more user friendly, business and consumer solutions may soon meld together.

“But despite their differences at the moment, the consumer vs. enterprise showdown is actually good for both sides,” Brown wrote. “Consumers are getting added security and other features from the business side of things, while businesses are getting ease-of-use and the features consumers know and love. Someday, they’ll be indistinguishable from one another.”

Sending larger files
For many organizations, sharing business documents has become a major point of discussion, especially in light of potential data leaks and piracy. Video game company Electronic Arts used cloud solutions to transfer massive files of its most recent title Battlefield 4, which had some files as large as 50GB, according to BBC contributor Paul Rubens. Because they needed a solution that was both secure and fast, EA chose cloud-based online file storage to fit these needs while ensuring that they had a running master copy backed up in the system. The transfer of big files could take days to complete, including ones that contained graphic files, game code and sound clips. By hosting their data through an online platform, EA could more easily move the content to its various sites and monitor the files to deter potential leaks and prevent other production obstacles.

“EA’s story highlights a widespread problem many companies and individuals are encountering,” Rubens stated. “Files often need to be shared, but increasingly the size of these files are becoming too large share using simple methods like email.”

Cloud-based solutions and other file sharing systems are quickly becoming assets for users across organizations. For small businesses, being able to quickly access information​, including large files, will help deliver better customer service and utilize available resources.