While the convenience is undeniable, that attitude also sends a chill down the spine of IT departments everywhere. Those familiar consumer apps that make your personal life so convenient can also make it incredibly difficult to create a fully collaborative work environment.

For people to collaborate – share files, messages, resources – everything must be searchable and accessible across the entire network. And due in part to company work conducted through personal devices and services, An IDC study found that half of all companies cannot provide full access to workflow.

Consumer apps create information silos

A side-effect of using consumer apps to share and store files is that it means they’re accessible by only a small, designated few within the organization. This makes company-wide collaboration impossible because it creates largely invisible, silos of information.

Invisible files caught up in private clouds and on individual mobile devices are not just inconvenient, they create a much less productive environment. IDC found that companies can increase revenue by 18 percent when they create a fully searchable data environment.

Security and compliance concerns

Nearly 3 in 4 office workers upload company files to a personal email or cloud account. This leads to a security nightmare for IT because it means that corporate data is only as secure as the personal password-setting, link-clicking and device-losing habits of individual employees. If an employee leaves the company but has sensitive records stored in a personal cloud service there’s not much their former employer can do about it.

“Nearly 3 in 4 office workers upload company files to a personal email or cloud account.”

There are also compliance problems when private cloud services cannot reliably meet government standards including HIPPA, FERPA, and PCI. Can you imagine if your doctor shared your medical test results in using his or her personal could storage service?

Providing a better way to sync and share

Employees may be the ones choosing to use unsanctioned consumer services, but it’s often due to the fact that the tools provided by their employer don’t suit their needs. The best way to curb the issue is to provide an approved alternative that works just as well. This is why companies need to consider a modern file sync and share solution.

Often referred to as Enterprise File Sync and Share, or EFSS, these tools provide a way to transfer, store and manage documents across multiple devices and networks. Whether files are placed on a corporate network, with customers, partners, or on mobile devices, they are accessible and searchable from any remote device that supports the EFSS product.  Within the EFSS environment, IT can enforce security measures such as authentication, encryption, and tracking features.

Goodbye to “one size fits all”

EFSS is an evolution from the complex content management model of the past. The more distributed model lets any group within an organization access, edit, and distribute files in real time. EFSS solutions are set up in one of three ways:

  • Cloud only: This means that files shared via mobile devices are stored in the EFSS provider’s cloud. This is the entry-level solution for companies that do not want to invest in a full on-site system..
  • On-premises: Mobile access, synchronization and sharing component are on-premises and integrated with the corporate network. No replicas of corporate files exist so this solution is preferred by companies with strong data regulations.
  • Hybrid: This solution uses the provider’s cloud for mobile device authentication, security and file search. Files and documents however, are housed in the organization’s data repository. Without creating copies of files in some else’s cloud, this offers a higher level of security.

Picking the right solution allows you to configure it not just to your users’ needs, but ITs requirements as well. The needs of every organization are different, so one company may be best served by allowing the cloud to do the heavy lifting, while another may want to build primarily around local storage. No model is inherently more secure than the others – it’s about finding the best way to maintain and leverage existing investments.

EFSS is a great option to balance the push for mobile-driven convenience and productivity, enterprise-wide collaboration, and strong security. Within EFSS there are options that accommodate the needs of small and large businesses with various levels of security and compliance. With mobile computing in the workplace only growing more prevalent, these solutions are becoming a must-have.

Learn more about how you can improve the way information flows through your organization by downloading The Small Business Mobility Playbook:

The Small Business Mobility Playbook

This free guide offers simple, real-world advice to help you address common mobility challenges within your business.