Are Cloud Storage Considerations Cloudy Business?

  • Employees need the ability to access files from their smartphones.
  • Now is the time for IT leaders to shore up their mobile file strategy.

With cloud storage platforms becoming more closed, companies need to consider not only the enterprise security and features of a file, sync, and share platform, but also the supported apps and ease of integration.

Choosing cloud storage solutions goes beyond file, sync, and share

Having the ability to access files securely on smartphones and tablets is crucial — whether it’s for collaboration, on-demand document access, or meeting a deadline while away from the desk. File, sync, and share solutions trump uploading and downloading files from email attachments. Unfortunately, walled gardens are popping up where cloud storage providers have the clout to build them. The big players push mobile users to their respective cloud platforms and productivity apps by making doc syncing and editing easier from a single provider’s cloud.

Ease of use and simplicity are the name of the game for companies looking for traction in mobility. So, if a single platform streamlines operations, where’s the harm? In truth, adopting a single platform may be a strong strategy for some organizations. However, at a time where consumerization and BYOD drive enterprise mobility, restricting options is a slippery slope.

Consider organizations that have invested heavily in a platform, trained IT and end users, and procured app licenses and storage capacity. These companies are being dealt a rough hand if productivity apps won’t sync to their chosen cloud. At its best, enterprise mobility is all about user empowerment. To that point, forcing one suite of productivity apps on all end users creates dissention and the potential for some users to go outside of approved, compliant platforms for preferred apps or even alternative cloud solutions.

Know the limitations, explore the options

If users can’t access files anytime or manipulate files from any device, that’s a crippling blow to the usefulness of file, sync, and share solutions. Further, companies focusing solely on cloud storage are on the outside looking in, even if they offer respectable file, sync, and share solutions.

For companies looking to invest in file, sync, and share for mobile endpoints, it’s more important than ever to investigate these limitations and understand end-user requirements and preferences as part of the procurement process.

Ultimately, the market has the power of choice. But, being that prevalent mobile operating systems and productivity apps already have such strong presences, freedom of choice for cloud storage may be an illusion. We’re seeing vendors with a dominant presence in enterprise and/or mobility throwing their weight around by limiting functionality with other services. In the meantime, IT leaders should make sure their mobile file strategy aligns not only with their mobile device strategy, but also their overall file repository approach.

Is your mobile file strategy seeing you through the cloud?


John Arkontaky is a Research Analyst with Nemertes Research. He has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.

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