If your business needs to share information internally – and particularly externally – the chances are that you already using some kind of secure file-sharing software already.
Businesses often opt for these solutions when they realise email has limitations that stand in the way of productivity. Some email programs won’t let you send large attachments, while others won’t accept them. Corporate firewalls may block or quarantine attachments. And because email isn’t a secure medium, it’s not suited for sharing sensitive or confidential documents.
Business file sharing software helps you overcome these problems quickly. However, most packages are quite simplistic and work in one of two ways:
- Shared folders. Put a file in a shared folder and it’ll get uploaded to the Cloud - where anyone with the right permissions can access that information, or add their own.
- ‘FTP replacement’ tools. These solutions allow you to upload big files to the Cloud and specify a recipient – who is sent a link that allows them to download the document.
There are many popular software packages that allow you to share information in these ways. But while they help you overcome short-term challenges, there’s a good chance there are more powerful options that could benefit your business.
That’s because, while standalone file sharing gives you some of the raw materials of collaboration, it doesn’t give you the tools to make it happen.
Collaborative file sharing
Growing numbers of businesses are moving away from standalone business file sharing and adopting Cloud collaboration packages instead. There are many business critical reasons for doing so – and the following are among the most popular.
1. True secure collaboration on documents
Standalone business file sharing software allows you to exchange documents, but it gets messy when you try to work on the same files with other people. It’s quite possible for multiple users to overwrite files at the same time, and without discipline you can end up with many versions of the same document in your folders.
Online collaboration systems like Kahootz allow you to edit multi-author documents via your web browser, and it’s also impossible for someone to overwrite your work (every version of every document you make is also archived, and you can roll back to earlier drafts with a couple of clicks).
2. Commenting on files
With ordinary shared folders, it’s impossible to comment on files unless you fall back on email or add your remarks directly into the document. With online collaboration software you can add comments below documents, rather in the way you would comment on a blog post. This speeds up your workflow and makes it more focused and purposeful.
3. Automatic updates
Ever changed a file, only to realise a few days later that your colleagues are unaware of the fact? With collaboration software this problem is eliminated – members of your online workspace can receive automatic updates each time a file is added or amended.
4. Teams and variable access privileges
Use an ordinary shared folder, and you can’t refine access privileges to make content visible to some users and invisible to others. But with an online collaboration package like Kahootz you can assign detailed access privileges to teams, specifying exactly which content a team can add, edit comment on or add to. You also know exactly who has downloaded copies of a document, and when – thanks to the full audit trail – making it a secure and accountable way of sharing information.
5. Creating context
A folder full of shared files has no context. That means you need to use email, phone calls or meetings to talk users through what content is there, and what needs to be done with it. Online collaboration software allows you to give context to each item because each file has its own page, on which you can post instructions, comments and requests. This is more important than ever when collaborating with people outside your organisation, who need to understand the context of your files quickly and intuitively.
6. Integration with project tools
This is where collaborative online file sharing for business really comes into its own. Using software like Kahootz, you and the people you collaborate with can access a range of project tools within your shared workspace. For example, you can use task lists, set milestones, measure progress, gauge opinion with polls and surveys and even create databases – and no person will need any third party software beyond the web browser they use to access the workspace. This means you can collaborate from anywhere (and with anyone), not just from a terminal where you have the right third-party software for your needs.
As you can see, by putting online file sharing for business within the context of Cloud collaboration, you bring tools and context to your work that help take your business further. And depending on how you configure your Cloud collaboration software, you can use it in many powerful ways – whether as a corporate intranet, virtual committee or board room, partner portal, client extranet, tender management workspace, project management resource or something else.
So if you think that secure file sharing could do much more for your business, find out more ways online collaboration can help you. Download our free guide Beyond Business File Sharing today.