Improve Collaboration With Enterprise-Grade Cloud Services

By | May 14, 2015
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Frank SicilliaBelow is a guest post from Frank Sicilia (@egnyte), chief solutions architect at Egnyte, a platform that powers adaptive enterprise file services for thousands of customers worldwide.

To envision, pitch, win, produce, deliver, measure and bill a campaign takes a tremendous amount of teamwork—both inside the agency and with partners and clients.

Such collaboration involves moving a lot of data around to a lot of different people. Creative briefs, proposals, mock-ups, proofs, budgets, invoices, creative output, market and research data, and financials: the list is endless.

Focusing on Great, Not Good

For the past 20 years, email has been the collaboration tool of choice. Fortunately, with the recent maturity of cloud file services, agencies have a powerful new tool to modernize efforts and solve issues that email and other tools cannot.

While there are many free options for cloud file services available, like Google Drive, these often carry limitations that can create agency workflow issues. For example, each user account is unique, and data within those accounts cannot automatically be made available to others within a department without being shared on a file-by-file and user-by-user basis. There are also few administrative controls to determine which users can share what and with whom.

This is problematic from a data security perspective, particularly when handling data from security-sensitive clients in financial and healthcare industries.

Lackluster web interfaces, nonexistent reporting and security controls, and an inability to “hybridize” your cloud storage system (allowing you to keep your most sensitive data internal while giving users access via the same interface) further limit the functionality of a Google Drive-based deployment

Here are five benefits of investing in a great system, rather than a good one:

1. Ease of Use

Let’s face it; ease of use is the biggest product or service selling point. And it’s why cloud file services have proliferated over the past five years. Everyone works on files. In a business, these files are typically stored on a company server and locked away from partners and clients, making collaboration more difficult.

Keeping assets in the cloud (considered neutral territory) allows easy access for everyone. Business partners and clients can participate in your cloud file system and thereby adopt internal workflows. Even sensitive assets can be stored and protected behind a corporate firewall.

EcoMedia, an environmental media company, approached our company because it had one server in its office. This single server made it difficult for employees to remotely access information in a timely manner. When the point person responsible for pulling the files was absent, the staff didn’t have access—hurting productivity and deadlines. After switching to a cloud service, the entire team gained access and could more easily locate files through keyword searches.

2. Mature Versioning

Version control and management is the holy grail of collaboration. Long considered the missing link in email collaboration, a robust versioning system ensures no changes are lost as multiple parties collaborate on assets in the cloud.

3. Security

Once only an IT department concern, information security now involves everyone in the agency, especially those working with clients. File services come in many varieties, but enterprise offerings often have more advanced security features.

Enterprise-class file-sharing offerings with both cloud and on-premise options go far beyond what can be reasonably expected from a traditional in-house IT department. These providers offer peace of mind, protecting data at a level usually reserved for big banks and governments.

This means that the people who need to access your files (and who are authorized to) can do so safely and easily. Sensitive files are kept in-house and access to them is provided through applications. This provides a “single pane of glass” experience while reducing risk and ensuring regulatory compliance associated with sensitive files.

4. Audit Capability

A critical, yet often overlooked, feature of an enterprise-class cloud file system is its ability to record everything. In today’s business environment—rife with regulation, contractual obligations and litigation—you need a comprehensive instant-replay feature. Strong solutions let you audit data through simple report generation.

5. Cost

A great cloud file system saves your agency money. Helping customers move files to the cloud from their existing internal infrastructure optimizes IT spend. The terabytes of data you can move to the cloud will significantly reduce costs—and hard drive space—of storing them internally. That means less electricity, less cooling, a smaller real estate footprint, and far fewer files your internal IT organization must back up.

Examine potential vendors’ value proposition. They should have a thorough understanding of how you can leverage their products to save money.

Enterprise-grade cloud services are the next step for modern collaboration. With ease of use, tight security and easy audit features, now is the time to move projects to the cloud.

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