3 Considerations When Choosing a File Sync and Share Solution

Ray VrabelBy Raymond Vrabel

In my last blog post, I discussed various threats to an MSP’s business and how to overcome them. This month, I focus on why a file sync and share solution is the next wave of BDR, what MSPs need to know when choosing the right solution, and how they can discuss the addition with their SMB customers. In fact, this was a topic that was discussed frequently at this year’s IT Nation event in Orlando, Florida,  which Continuum attended earlier this month.

1. Why is it important to offer a file sync and share option?: I used to have conversations with partners about file sync and share options, and it was usually met with the response, “Oh, file sync and share is something that’s nice to have, but it’s not a necessity.” Now that the cloud is increasingly gaining in popularity, file sync and share is now becoming an addendum to backup/disaster recovery solutions. According to analyst firm IDC, the file synchronization and sharing (FSS) market will grow at a 23.1 percent five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2018 to $2.3 billion. This healthy growth rate will continue to be driven by the shift to cloud, mobile use of FSS and the ability to share and collaborate with others effectively. That being said, I like to call file sync and share “the next cool kid on the block” when it comes to new technologies in this space.

In addition, as organizations incorporate a bring your own device (BYOD) program, more employees may already be using a file sync and share program for personal items. As a whole, SMBs need to consistently ensure that employees are separating business from personal files on their devices. Oftentimes, they aren’t aware that they are using their own personal file sync and share program, and those files are at risk internally, especially with attrition and turnover. This is a key reason to install a companywide file sync and share system that is to be used only by employees for business-related matters.

2. Which file sync and share program is right for my clients? It’s important to do your research when making this decision, especially for SMBs. On the enterprise level, many refer to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing. MSPs, however, will have to do a bit more research, since the solution they are looking for is not going directly to the end user. Some of the questions to ask when shopping around are:

  • Can the solution be easily deployed?
  • Does it offer low overhead/low maintenance?
  • Can it be white-labeled?
  • What does the solution’s channel program look like?
  • Will my SMB clients find it easy to use?
  • Is the solution secure both “at rest” and when it’s in file transfer mode?

Also, think about consumer-grade vs. business-grade file sync and share solutions. You might have an SMB client that already has a consumer-grade solution implemented, or as I mentioned earlier, where employees are simply using their own personal solutions. It should be up to the business owner to implement a companywide, business-grade file sync and share solution for consistency. If employees leave or are terminated, there is no way to know if they delete their files from their personal file sync and share program. It’s important to separate corporate from personal, establishing a policy in which employees can only copy business-related files to the company’s business-grade file sync and share solution.

3. Encouraging the client: Similar to my discussion of the importance of adding BDR to your revenue stream in a previous blog, a file sync and share solution falls within the same category. Incidentally, in this same blog, I discussed how file sync and share is another revenue stream that’s important for MSPs to add. That being said, if you have SMB clients specifically in compliant-heavy verticals like health care, financial services or retail, then adding a business-grade file sync and share solution that is encrypted and safe is a must. Like BDR, your client may not know that they initially need file sync and share, but you likely need to present the case for this technology. Just like every SMB should have BDR in place to back up their servers, they should have a file sync and share solution to back up their actual data.

As viruses like cryptowall, cryptolocker and others become more prevalent within the IT sector, a file sync and share solution becomes more of a necessity for effective sharing and collaboration instead of simply an extra services offering, especially as more SMBs look to streamline processes and as BYOD continues to take hold within the industry. 

Raymond Vrabel is Continuum‘s Director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives. He manages Continuum’s Technical Account Management team which supports over 3,500 partners worldwide. Vrabel has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in managed IT services, disaster recovery and cloud solutions.

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