Users see file sync and share solutions as a requirement to get their job done. They want their data available on any device at any time and in any place. It is the “any device” part of this requirement that places greater importance on availability. In the past, sync meant placement, “make sure my data is on my laptop and my desktop”. Now it means access; “make sure I can get to my data from anything and anywhere”. Access makes availability a “must have” requirement.
Access vs. Placement
Access is important for devices like smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks. These devices have limited amounts of storage so users only want to keep the documents that they are actively working with stored on them. That is why the “app store” version of most file sync and share services requires either a broadband or wifi connection. When data is placed on a device, access to the service becomes less important. But if the device is one of the types listed above, an outage means that users can’t access their data.
Access to this data means that users can be more nimble. It provides them the ability to share data with anyone who needs it from wherever they are. It also allows for on-the-fly editing of documents to do a quick fix or to provide a fast approval. But again, that nimbleness is totally dependent on access and access, since broadband and WiFi are ubiquitous now, is totally dependent on availability.
The SLA Surprise
The problem is that most users assume that the cloud is a magic place that never goes down and where all data is stored forever for free. IT professionals of course know that this is not the case. Therefore, a careful examination of the provider’s service level agreement should be at the top of the list when selecting a file sync and share solution. Along with security, it is core to providing an enterprise class file sync and share solution. Most users and sometimes even IT professionals may be shocked at the relatively low bar providers set for themselves when trying to provide their customers with continuous access to data. There are high availability alternatives so it is important to ask about it.
It is also important when selecting a file sync and share provider, to look behind the SLA curtain to see if their storage infrastructure and data protection processes can support that SLA commitment. While an SLA is valuable, an SLA that is backed by the right design and architecture is priceless.
IT can’t let users wander off on their own when it comes to consuming file sync and share services. Availability and security are as important as user experience and features. To learn more about how to provide an enterprise class file sync and share solution to your users, attend our live webinar, “How To Create An Enterprise Class File Sync and Share Solution“. By pre-registering, you’ll receive an exclusive copy of our latest white paper “Designing an Enterprise Class File Sync and Share Solution”. Register today and we’ll send you the report right away.
PanTerra Networks is a client of Storage Switzerland