Fiscally Sound Cloud—Business Cost Reduction Savings from Using Cloud-Based File Sharing Services
Feb 26, 2015
In previous blogs, we discussed the advantages of cloud-based file sharing services (CBFS). Content collaboration becomes easier. The application interface (API) makes content more accessible and prevents digital landfills. And more recently, CBFS provides inherent data protection and privacy benefits.
However, the most obvious advantage has yet to be discussed. CBFS directly addresses readily apparent needs by enterprises: saving valuable time and money. CBFS streamlines IT processes, cuts down on equipment purchases, and incorporates smarter business practices into the field.
The first problem solved by CBFS is storage. Storage is now “easy” and easily extensible.
Until last summer, many CBFS providers offered end users a monthly fee-based service, but with a storage threshold. Industry standards limited file sizes to 2GB (on average) for each file transferred and storage was purchased (generally) in 100GB lots. Industry leaders like Box, Citrix, Egnyte, and IBM realized that the storage proviso was not a practical concern because with enough end users on accounts, the storage needs could be widely distributed and economically provided. Unlimited storage became another reason to work with CBFS providers. Of course, from the client-side, the client does not need to buy or manage centralized storage infrastructure.
Storage with CBFS is not only easy but structured. In CBFS, each file has an assigned owner and a list of permissions for who can access and edit the files—producing tremendous value when collaborating with third-parties or with contractors. No company wants non-essential personnel trolling around in their storage.
Bringing a structured discipline to file management improves personal productivity. The best CBFS providers build applications to expedite workflows:
• Mobile and desktop widgets allow end users to preview files without having to download the entire file.
• Augmented search features facilitate file and data lookup.
• File synch and share features display only the latest revised file (historical revisions of files remain available).
• Auditing features help to prove compliant practices.
In addition to being easy and structured, CBFS is reliable; virtually eliminating the need for IT to invest in infrastructure and procedures to support business continuity and disaster recovery. Service level agreements (SLA) are a standard part of CBFS service providers and welcomed by their customers. In looking at CBFS use cases—for example, editing of blueprints at a jobsite, electronic signatures of documents in the mortgage industry, and the ability to edit commercials—each requires bandwidth. Ample and reliable bandwidth connections are needed between end users and the CBFS environment and within the CBFS environment itself—between data centers and within data centers—to deliver a consistently favorable end-user experiences and to ensure service reliability. As a part of the SLA, the CBFS provider guarantees the availability of bandwidth and service uptime, thus, another headache removed from IT.
Finally, the benefits are not only in the form of productivity gains but in hard currency. CBFS is used as a way to proactively mitigate new equipment purchases, as described in a recent interview with an IT director of a company with several small European offices. These branch offices were at capacity in terms of storage. Additionally, the IT director felt he would need to upgrade the company’s FTP (file transfer protocol) server and license software. In lieu of what would amount to a renovation project, the director spent a weekend and converted all of the files on the FTP server and put them onto the CBFS service. In the process, he eliminated the need for new storage, and was able to eliminate FTP server upgrades.
In short, CBFS produces an attractive total cost of ownership (TCO) solution. Savings are realized in better business practices and in cleverly designed personal productivity tools. Redundancies are built into file management and data transfer. Security features are embedded throughout all processes in data storage and data handling. Infrastructure costs are pared or eliminated for storage, bandwidth provision, and FTP servers. CBFS do not generate revenues but it prevents many of the ancillary costs of doing business.
Chris Kissel offers eleven years of research and sales experience in the network security, cellular infrastructure, wireless, telecomm, PCs, semiconductor, and high-definition consumer device sectors. His current field of studies are in information and network security at Frost & Sullivan. More specifically, Mr. Kissel has expertise in knowledge-based network security technologies.: vulnerability management, SIEM, network forensics, network access control (NAC), and Internet of Things.