Is Sharing Caring?
There are plenty of options when it comes to storing, distributing and accessing a business-critical file on a day to day basis. You may have a shared drive on a server, or you may have an online portal (like SharePoint) that you access files from. You may well email files between colleagues. The point is, there isn’t one definitive way in which to transport useful items across your business. Your business needs will be contextual to the nature of your work, and thus the methods you use will follow accordingly. Setting up and maintaining a file sharing system in your business is important to make sure that everyone can work fluidly together as a team. There are many benefits to utilising a file sharing system, here’s a handful of reasons you may want to consider using one:
A core aspect of working in a business environment is being able to work individually or as a group on projects. This will of course entail the creation of at least a few pieces of documentation, of which, many users will probably need to share and access synchronously. One major positive of a file sharing system is the ability to collaborate on documentation. Not every service has this feature of available, but one example that does would be SharePoint. SharePoint allows multiple users to make changes on a document in real-time, ensuring that everyone is (literally) on the same page.
Another core component that needs to be present in any file sharing system is security protocols. It makes no difference if your data is transit or at rest, it needs to be encrypted and protected regardless. Encryption will be a favourable ally in scenarios that involve file shares. This prevents easy snooping on your documents by untoward users. Additionally, you should take all reasonable precautions (strong passwords, firewall rules, etc.) when utilising file sharing systems, to ensure that you don’t risk unauthorised access to files.
3) Document Tracking & Auditing
As many users are going to need access to the same sort of folders and files, it’s important to ensure that you have document tracking enabled to allow you to log each interaction a user has with files. This allows you to view what changes have been made, to prevent unnecessary deletions or additions. Track edits in Microsoft Word would be a good example of this. Additionally, for example with SharePoint, you will be able to access version history, which allows you not only to roll back changes, but to see a historical copy of them too.
4) Ease of use
A file share needs to be easy to utilise to ensure uptake from users. Additionally, in this modern technological age of working from all sorts of devices, compatibility is key in allowing users to use file sharing systems across devices without issue. Whether it be from a desktop computer or mobile device, files are accessible from anywhere (as long as you have a robust internet connection) in most cases. This is freeing for your employees as it allows for greater flexibility when working, and can often times lead to more productivity and completion of work. Having an easy file share is one step towards this.
Making sure you have copies of your data is paramount to provide adequate protection in case of catastrophe. Backups not only provide copies of your data for you to roll back to, but also allow you to keep working if necessary. The previously discussed version history can also be a way of backing up your data. You should of course have multiple backups regardless, but file sharing systems such as a mapped drive or a SharePoint site are yet another location to store your precious data.
File sharing is the bridge between your users, bringing content together to allow for easy collaboration, more productive work and a central location for all of your documentation, saving the need to sift through mountains or paper, or check in with a colleague on the other side of the office to see if they remember where something is. A developed file sharing system allows you to rely on a central repository for all your files, knowing that they are both easy to find, yet safe and secure. There’s no doubt that file sharing is a breeze with a dedicated solution!