Guest Column | May 7, 2015

How To Choose A Business-Grade File-Sharing Solution

Neal Bradbury

By Neal Bradbury, Senior Director of Channel Development, Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda

Let’s face it, when it comes to file-sharing, there is a seemingly endless array of options, which can make it difficult for businesses to choose a solution that will meet all of their needs — especially when it comes to security and scale.

In some cases, for example, businesses look for a quick and easy fix that’s cheap, or at least cheaper. In this scenario, most businesses will opt for consumer-grade or “freemium” services only to discover they are seriously lacking when it comes to security, manageability, and even usability. The fact is most businesses require a business-grade solution. But before you make the purchase or recommend a solution to a client, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Integration. All business software should integrate with the platforms that the business already relies on, and file-sharing is no exception. For example, the file-sharing solution should work in all the desktop and mobile OS environments used by the business’ workers. Additionally, it should support all cloud platforms used by the business and easily integrate with leading productivity tools such as Google Drive, and Office 365. Last, but not least, if the managed services provider (MSP) or solutions provider uses a remote monitoring and management (RMM) or professional services automation (PSA) tool to scale operations, the file-sharing solution should integrate with these as well.
  2. Centralized Administration. Administrators need to be able to set access restrictions, revise policies, and even lock access after projects end or users are terminated. Sometimes these changes are made on the fly, making it vital that the file-sharing solution supports centralized administration and immediate access to these settings from the administrator’s desktop or mobile devices.
  3. Security And Compliance. Businesses should ask their provider about security and compliance. For example, what levels of security will they provide in order to protect business data — both while it is being stored in the file sharing application and while it’s in transit? The best way to secure data stored in the cloud is through encryption. Encoding information to keep it from unwanted eyes ensures stored data remains as safe as the production systems it mirrors. Military-grade 256-bit AES encryption is best for all applications and data being stored in the cloud. Additionally, data in transit should be protected by SSL encryption. Additionally, for businesses serving regulated industries such as healthcare and finance, the file-sharing solution should also comply with federally mandated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, and industry regulations such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS), which is especially important for the retail industry.
  4. User Experience. With any file-sharing solution, users should be able to share content across teams and easily upload files via a web browser, mobile application, or even email. Users should also be able to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from their desktops and mobile devices. Testing out the solution can help to ensure that it offers a good user experience and meets the criteria of the business.

For channel partners that are already providing their clients with backup and data protection solutions, business-grade file-sharing is a natural next step that will lead to greater recurring revenue streams.

Additional ways channel partners can land and expand their new file-sharing business include clearly articulating the value proposition afforded by business-grade solutions. They can also demonstrate their value by implementing, integrating, testing and training clients on how to use the file-sharing solution; and, conducting regular check-ups to ensure that everything is running smoothly and scope out new work items or user licenses.

As channel partners know all too well, most businesses are unaware of all of the steps involved to ensure the technology solutions they are putting into place work correctly, are secure, and add value to the business. One of the ways channel partners can demonstrate their true value is by educating their clients on the high business value and increased levels of sophistication that are available to them when they implement business-grade file sharing.

Neal Bradbury is VP of channel development and a co-founder at cloud-based backup and disaster recovery provider Intronis. Working closely with the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners, he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.