6 essential questions when selecting a file sharing solution

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Information about 6 essential questions when selecting a file sharing solution

Published on February 18, 2014

Author: nilahnikecsolutions



Collaborative working is making the business world turn faster. File sharing supports collaborative work, reduces business development cycles, reduces your carbon footprint, and there has probably never been a greater choice of sharing solutions available than there are today.

But not all solutions are made equal and before you rush into choosing your own solution, there are six key questions to consider.

Selecting a file sharing solution - 6 essential questions you should ask

Introduction • File sharing supports: - collaborative work - reduces business development cycles - reduces your carbon footprint • There has probably never been a greater choice of sharing solutions available than there are today

Introduction BUT not all solutions are made equal and before you rush into choosing your own solution, there are 6 key questions to consider.

Benefits of file sharing With any basic file sharing you benefits from: • One central location to store and find documents and files • Up to date documents and files available at all times • The possibility to share large files • An end to the insecurity and limitations of email • Eliminates awkward systems like FTP

6 questions to consider… 1. Is the server secure? 2. Is the server located in a safe geographical location (with respect to local information regulation) 3. Will it support your workflow or will your workflow need to adapt? 4. Does the system allow true collaborative working or simply sharing? 5. Is the application easy and intuitive to use? Will you need training? 6. What control do you have on the file sharing activity?

1. Is the server secure? • Reliability and security have to be high on your list of ‘no compromise’ features. Point to point (that is server to device) SSL encryption AND server encryption are basic, yet must have, features if you are exchanging non critical files. • When selecting the provider, choose one that has the ability to upgrade to higher levels of security such as “double factor encryption”, up to military level if that is what you require. There will be an additional cost to that but at least you have the choice and you are in position to balance the options and make the decision.

1. Is the server secure? • In any case, you should always be looking for ISO 27001 accreditation, which formally specifies management rules to control information security, as well as multi-layer encryption capabilities and backup services. • On a side note, it is very unlikely a free solution will offer much of that. A solution provided by a reputable company that charges for its services is far more likely to be a solid solution that is answerable to its users. It will have round the clock IT support in place, with a clear Service Level Agreement (SLA), and it will be robust.

2. Geographical location • Is the server located in a “safe” geographical location (with respect to data protection regulation)? • When sharing documents with your clients, you need complete transparency on the “physical” storage location of your files. Are they in the UK? France? US? Asia? Each country has its own regulation for data protection. In the US, the Patriot Act allows the government to access any data if it is considered sensitive. Could that be an issue for you? • If you deal with confidential or sensitive content, seeking local legal advice is a must do. When selecting your file sharing provider, always ask to know exactly where files will be "physically" located and under which local legal regulation the infrastructure operates.

3. Will it support your workflow • A new system that imposes a brand new workflow or additional constraints on personnel may well find itself generally unadopted or resented. If however it is intuitive, simple and can be easily used, personnel will gladly and proactively begin using it. • For example, you may want to check that the solution is able to connect to your DMS (Document Management System) and where possible to content production devices such as scanners and printers. And while no solution can answer every possible need, there should be the promise of more additions and upgrades to come in the near future as well the possibility of a degree of in house customisability •

3. Will it support your workflow • And will the solution work with iPads and other mobile devices? Laptops are all very well, but today’s workers want to be carrying less and less while doing more and more. And if it is iPad ready is it a solution so smart that the iPads themselves can be remotely blocked or even erased should the need arise?

4. Does the system allow true collaborative working? • There is a huge gap between a solution that only allows you to send a file to another person, and a solution that actually allows comments, discussions, and mark up on documents. • A true professional and value added solution should allow inviting another person, a colleague or a client, to access a single document or folder, creating notes, opening discussions and creating a workgroup relating to these documents or shared folders. Notifications should be sent after each modification or update, thus improving workflow, interaction, reactivity and project progress.

5. Is the application easy and intuitive to use? • Solutions that require more than a couple of hours of training for the end-users would simply not be used. And this training should focus on what the system can or cannot do, not on the actual utilisation. Keep in mind that, from the user point of view, a file sharing solution is actually a (relatively) small tool, a mean to improve existing process, as opposed to an objective, a critical part of your business. Treat it like this and do not spend too much time on it. When going through the selection process, evaluate the Graphical User Interface (GUI) with this in mind. It should be clear, intuitive, simple, as that will be vital for take up, use and enterprise-wide adoption.

6. What control do you have on the file sharing activity? • Monitoring access to files (both in terms of frequency and by person) is useful when managing the document workflow or implementing a corporate policy. • Additionally, unlike e-mail and FTP systems, a third party sharing solution should enable the sender and system administrators to manage the files after they are sent. The administrator should be able to set rules, such as making the content available for a limited period of time only, be able to erase files from iPads remotely and monitor file activity closely and with clear reporting. Such options add another security layer to your workflow and make data breaches less likely.

Conclusion If you are sharing more than your holiday photos, the recommendation is to look for a file sharing solution squarely aimed at professionals, one that offers a secured Cloud or, if preferred, an on premise option. One that was designed with the safety and security of documents as a high priority right from the very first line of code that created it. One that will fit your objectives and will really add value to your processes.

Nikec Docstore is an application designed for professionals which allows storing any type of file, accessing them remotely from a computer or an iPad and sharing them with authorised colleagues or clients. By combining ease of use and the level of security required in the exchange of working and sensitive documents Nikec Docstore is ideal for mobile professionals and collaborative work. Plus the application is available on premise or in cloud (SAAS), so you always keep full control of your documents. For more information, please visit: -

Contact For more information please visit Address: 52-54 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0EH Contact numbers: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7621 2350 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7621 2360 Email:

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