Did your employees leave essential work files at home or remote computers?
Does the company use different storage systems for various business functions?
Do the employees email important files to themselves for easy remote file access?
Does your business use file servers for internal applications but use cloud solutions for sharing?
What is Data Sprawl?
Data sprawl is the proliferation of data into endpoints, servers, applications, BYODs, operating systems, network environments, and even servers in other geo locations, which can be challenging to monitor and control.
In the days before "cloud computing", data sprawl was well solved by corporate centralized file servers. Businesses keep all the company's digital assets on file servers. Employees standardized on Windows computers and rely on VPNs (virtual private network) to access business files.
Fast forward to the year 2006, where the first use of "cloud computing" in its modern context occurred, when then Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term to an industry conference. In the same year, Amazon introduced Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), followed by the first iPhone release and the first Android release.
Now companies in the "cloud computing" age rely on a wide variety of devices, cloud applications, cloud storage platforms, and file servers for business operations. All of the business operations produce digital content on different devices and different storage platforms. It can cause companies to lose important content that is hard to reproduce. Finding accurate information across separate storage silos and among piles of irrelevant data is also challenging and costs the business money in terms of employee efficiency.
In the year 2020, when the COVID pandemics hit, many employees switch to a remote work-from-home arrangement. They may have business reports to create or business formulas to calculate. The source files and the intermediate supporting files may be left around on home and remote computers for various reasons.
In several verticals, such as construction and real estate, field engineers use mobile devices to survey sites and take pictures of real estate inventories. These digital assets may stay on the devices or be mistakenly sent to cloud storage applications instead of sending to corporate data repositories.
Line-of-business applications such as database applications, QuickBook, or CAD applications are still running on corporate file servers. However, when it comes to external communications and external file sharing, Employees may choose emails, Office 365, Dropbox, Google Drive, or other tools to pass data to a different hosting site to facilitate external file access. Over time, this business practice contributes to data sprawl.
The transition to purely cloud-based storage services from in-house storage solutions has also increased Data Sprawl. Cloud storage is often cheaper for businesses as it offers a scalable solution that is stored off-site. However, this development has increased Data Sprawl if there are no tabs kept on data growth.
A typical employee working from home may be using his mobile device to access file-sharing services, email systems, and his company's ERP or CRM Software. As a result, companies are facing data sprawl. To avoid working in chaotic data environments, organizations need to manage data sprawl efficiently.
In an enterprise, users may store similar data at different servers or devices. As a result, it is not easy to perform meaningful data analysis in other locations and formats. When information is hard to be searched and located, it is as bad as lost. When the only copy of the data is at an end user's edge device, the loss of the device or the employee's termination also means losing data.
When it comes to devices that have access to company data, security becomes a significant concern. Cyber attacks are on the rise, but a lesser-known and equally dangerous threat is the malicious insider; data sprawl puts companies at a higher risk of falling victim to attacks like data theft or data compromise carried out by employees. Worse yet, many organizations fail to combat these attacks simply because they aren't aware of them. When there are multiple places to store data, it is hard to track and monitor.
The idea is straightforward. Many businesses have standardized on centralized file servers. Whether these file servers are in a regional VMWare environment, in an Amazon AWS data center, or a Windows Azure data center, it is already in the cloud in an AS-IS way. Why not just add secure remote file access and web-link file-sharing capabilities to them and turn them into corporate cloud file servers?
The same file server data storage is used for line-of-business applications, cloud file sharing, and remote file access. The one data-repository concept cuts down the data sprawl.
The software includes drive-mapping and file-locking features, in addition to web browser access and web-link file sharing. Employees are familiar with these features without additional training, so naturally, they will operate within the same drive letter for files and folders.
There are mobile applications and software agents for PC and Mac devices. Users have the same files and folders view across different device factors without using VPN.
The traditional file servers are now empowered with cloud features. When it comes to compliance audits or server backup, the same existing business process is pretty much the same as before, with a few additional steps. It is much easier to monitor and control one data storage system than multiple different scenarios.
Your file servers provide the best application compatibility. Whether it is Office, Adobe, QuickBook, database, or CAD applications, they ran on file servers and can continue to work on file servers. Instead of taking these applications away from the file server, we can add cloud file sharing and secure remote access functionalities to the file servers. So when the web-link file sharing features and mobile applications are added to the file server features, the file server was promoted from a local file server to a cloud file server and became the unified data repository.
Employees as end-users will pick the best ease-of-use application for their daily operation. They want the files and folders on their fingertips and following them. The solution includes drive-mapping, file-locking, and web-link file-sharing capabilities across various devices, including web browsers, PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. The productivity features will keep users and attract them to use business-provided cloud file-sharing tools. Under the hood, the same corporate file servers provide the unified data repository.
Drive Mapping is a critical feature for online file access. It is easy for end-users to access files and folders over the Internet from within a mapped drive with drag and drop capabilities.
File Locking is vital for team collaboration to eliminate conflicts. End-users need to control global concurrent online access to files by using file locking to maintain consistency.
Access file server content from remote and mobile devices without the need for a VPN. Web file manager facilitates access, sharing, collaboration, and management, all from your standard web browsers.
We eliminate the common drawbacks of traditional file server access and cloud file sharing solutions and combine them into one solution! Active Directory security and NTFS permission models are also maintained.
Mobilize your workforce with quick and easy secure mobile file access to corporate file servers without a VPN. Whether it is from PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Android devices, there is a software agent to make it work for you.