Why would you want to host your own file sync and share service, when there are good, affordable commercial services that offer to do that for you? After all, many of these services have now reached a stage where they can truly be said to ‘work right out of the box.’ Users have little or no learning curve, providers update their software regularly and prices can be very affordable. In some cases, the first level of sync and share service is even free. Yet, despite these enticing advantages, some people insist on going to the expense, time and effort of getting their very own private sync and share services running. Why would they do that?
It’s Not (Just) About the Money
For some organizations, it’s not just a matter of how much it costs. It’s also a matter of how much they can trust their file sync and share service to remain confidential. When high profile commercial providers make the news because of accounts or user information being hacked, many businesses immediately want a different solution. Take banks, for instance. With non-executive directors on their boards, they may need to share information, meeting and discussion notes, and reports with key people located outside the bank’s premises. Trying to share information by email presents a problem. The bank cannot prevent emails from then being transferred to other recipients. And email accounts are also too often easy prey for hackers.
Secure, Read-Only Access
By using its own file sync and share system, an enterprise like a bank can comply with its own IT security regulations and with possible legal requirements too. Some software providers now make completely independent applications available either as hosted solutions or for running on an enterprise’s own servers. Combined with a read-only access option (depending on the solution chosen), security can be significantly increased by avoiding data from being downloaded and stored outside the bank’s security perimeter.
Directories, Logs, Audits and Editors
Further advantages of ‘doing it yourself’ may include possibilities of integrating with an existing user directory system to manage different levels of access rights. Active Directory, the Microsoft directory service for Windows domain networks, is on example. Activity logs capture essential information about each user action to help system administrators monitor security and prevent data leakage by blocking file sharing for specific devices or users. Some file sync and share solution vendors also provide functionality to allow users to make online edits and modifications to files in popular formats like Microsoft Word and Excel.
Becoming a File Sync and Share Provider Yourself
A white-label version of a file sync and share solution with the requisite functionality lets you offer your own branded service to customers. You might choose to differentiate by offering features or services that others do not, integrating your service in with others already used by your customers, or simply offering the convenience of a ‘one stop shop’. A word of caution however, if you yourself are using resources from a hosting or cloud provider. In that case, it’s wise to check that your own provider agrees to let you run your file and sync service on top of its resources before you start that advertising campaign to launch your new service.