Q

What should I look for in an enterprise file sync-and-share app?

How you plan on using sync-and-share applications in your environment sets the stage for what features to look for when deciding on a product.

Criteria for a good enterprise file sync-and-share application first and foremost comes down to what you're going to use it for. Many enterprises look to sync-and-share simply for the ability to move copies of data between users. Others use these applications beyond basic document sharing, in a way that allows users to mark files up, make revisions and track changes.

You also want to think about whether you will be using your enterprise file sync-and-share application locally, across the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Also, how often are you going to be syncing and sharing and for what reason? Not all sync-and-share platforms have the same capabilities, so it's important to make sure they support the types of distribution, collaboration and mobile devices you plan to work with. And of course, with mobility comes concerns about the network. What kind of network access are you going to have, and what are your security constraints and authentication going to be?

For example, if you will be using an enterprise file sync-and-share app for collaboration, does the solution allow your users to make changes and additions with markups to a shared document, or are they limited to simply adding comments? In this scenario, Google Docs would allow users to share and interact with others via the shared doc, but AWS Zocalo, on the other hand, currently only allows users to interact by attaching comments to a shared document. The size of objects, videos or images being shared and handled is an important factor as well. You may need to install some type of network optimization, or acceleration and caching to boost productivity. As for some general-purpose basic tools to help with this, I recommend applications such as Bitvise, Cloudberry, Cyberduck, Robocopy, Rsync and Synctoy, along with services provided by Amazon, Google and others.

Next Steps

What sync-and-share products can do for you

Hybrid clouds offer security for sync-and-share apps

This was first published in August 2014

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