Why free cloud storage systems create more confusion

Why free cloud storage systems create more confusion

These days online storage is relatively cheap with tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Whereas in 1960 it would cost $2 million to store one GB, it is now virtually free to safely store all your files online in the cloud. This is, of course, handy if your hard drive fails, your laptop gets stolen or your on-premise server gets hacked. Everything is available online and can also be used offline on your own device through synchronisation. But, there is a downside...

When does cheap become expensive?

Despite all the advantages of cloud storage services, there are still some snags. Especially when used in a professional environment.

Less structure, more chaos

When we use cheap, online cloud storage, chances are we don't use it very consciously. We save anything and everything, without properly organising the documents and files we upload. We soon become digital hoarders… “just in case” we ever need this random document again at some point in time.

We also observe that within work environments, where every employee has access to cloud storage, there rarely is guidance as to the creation and structure of folders and subfolders. Users have their own cloud locations that are locally synchronised with a laptop or computer. Frequently this is where files are saved for individual use, while these should ideally be located in relevant project folders accessible to co-workers.

Left to our own devices - pun intended - we soon revert to storing our data rather randomly, which brings Zack Pennington's quote to mind: "The only difference between hoarders and collectors is organisation."

To sync or not to sync?

Many cloud storage services also offer the possibility to synchronise the online folders with your local hard disk. This allows users to work directly with these files from within File Explorer while any changes are updated online. This obviously is very convenient, but can nevertheless cause quite a few problems.

If you want to have all your files stored locally, you will soon find that the storage capacity of your laptop or desktop might not be sufficient.  Also, the synchronisation of large files - or a large number of files - can be tediously slow. As you can imagine, if your desktop PC might already struggle with this, then your smartphone and tablet likely don’t stand a chance.

Luckily, there is a solution to this local storage capacity problem. Most cloud storage platforms allow users to choose which folders they want to sync - and make available - locally and which folders they want to keep accessible purely online. By doing so, we unfortunately introduce another issue, namely the fact of having to make a choice between a number of projects, clients and folders. This may be easily feasible on an individual level, but within a corporation this might mean that not all documents are optimally synchronised.  Imagine two colleagues working on the same document or needing data embedded in this document. If they aren’t both syncing this specific document, they might end up working with completely different document versions.

By the way, sync means sync! If you delete a document on your own device, it is also deleted in the cloud. This concept still causes a lot of confusion for many users and has frequently seen important files being deleted accidentally. In addition, there is little overview of who is downloading and storing what locally. As a result, there is a chance that departing employees will take confidential files along, especially in organisations that are implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

Separation between personal and professional

Are you using your work laptop at home as well? If you are managing your personal files with the same cloud storage service that houses your work files, you are bound to run into difficulties.

Limited search options

Apart from Google Drive, other cloud storage services’ search capabilities are far from impressive. And, you cannot use tags or metadata to sort your documents by a specific topic, which makes it more challenging to quickly find the right files.

No possibility to save and share emails

Within cloud storage solutions, it is easy to share files with other users while integration with your Office suite is mostly available but only up to a certain point. Emails often fall by the wayside unfortunately, as do their attachments. In fact, these days we might mistakenly use our mailbox as a storage space.

ByondFiles offers the solution

ByondFiles not only offers the essential functionalities of a cloud storage platform, but it delivers a complete productivity solution that allows companies to efficiently gather, organise and share information. The methodically structured data is always available to all employees, wherever they are (in the office or on the road) and whatever device they use.

The information is optimally grouped in digital dossiers and by using dossier templates everything remains neatly organised at all times. Documents and folders can easily be shared with colleagues and clients, while annotations can swiftly be added to existing documents.

The use of Tags allows for an extra categorisation of the information within ByondFiles. By doing so, documents can quickly be grouped by topic, which makes search functions a lot easier and faster. ByondFiles allows users to view a group of folders and documents based on shared attributes and not just based on their location in a folder

An additional power feature of ByondFiles is that it elegantly integrates with your Office 365 Outlook email client.  With the click of a button, users can quickly save an email - with its attachments - within ByondFiles and keep all colleagues up to date on the latest communication with that all-important client.

Would you also like to enjoy all the benefits that ByondFiles can bring to your organisation, then please contact us or book a demo to take our innovative digital workspace for a spin… No strings attached obviously. 

19 August 2021

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