One of the most commonly asked questions on the subject of the virtual dataroom is that of whether there’s really any big difference between the VDR and DropBox. Not only DropBox of course, but every other example of a generic cloud storage (GCS) service on offer right now 100% free of charge. And it’s an extremely valid question to say the least – all popular examples of GCS services allow users to sync their desktop and mobile devices with their online files and data, making full use of remote storage, sharing, streaming, messaging and so on.
Unfortunately, while it seems to be something of a fabulous free ticket the likes of which any business would be foolish to overlook, the average GFS simply isn’t and wasn’t designed for business use. Summed up in a nutshell, it largely comes down to the way in which the GFS the average user makes use of for sharing personal files doesn’t come close to offering the kind of security the average business requires. It’s no secret that data security threats are greater and more abundant than they’ve ever been – the idea of leaving data wide open to misuse therefore is something no contemporary business can contemplate.
Of course, this is not to say that the GFS doesn’t serve a purpose – tens of millions of people use these file sharing conveniences and rarely encounter so much as a hiccup. But at the same time, if the kind of data you intend to store, share or manage is in any way sensitive, experts readily recommend steering well clear of the conventional GFS.
Potential Problems with Generic File Sharing Programs
Once again, it’s important to remember that in this instance we’re looking at the GFS from a business perspective – not that of the average, everyday user. So for those in a business setting, why exactly could using a GFS for data storage and management prove problematic?
- Security – As already touched upon, the average GFS simply wasn’t designed to offer the kind of security the modern business needs. Instead, it’s all about offering a simple, convenient and 100% free of charge service for standard private users, sharing data and documents of little consequence.
- Tracking – The average GFS offers little to no provision of tracking services, making it difficult to know who has accessed the data, when it was accessed and what exactly was done with it. You may be able to see the last time an individual logged in, but that’s about it.
- Functionalities – As relatively basic file sharing systems, they don’t tend to have a great many features and functionalities the likes of which the modern business would require as standard. From intelligent search systems to custom document filing/storage options, quite a lot is absent from the mix.
- Marketing – One of the more worrying aspects of working with a GFS program is the way in which those offering the service 100% free of charge may to some extent have every right to not only view the documents and data being stored, but also use elements thereof for marketing purposes. The idea of strictly confidential data being sold and shared purely for marketing reasons is of course beyond unacceptable for most businesses.
- Downtime – When service packages are offered 100% free of charge, the service providers behind them have no specific obligation to ensure things run flawlessly smoothly at all times. If for example the average GFS was to go offline for an extended period of time, it could lead to potentially fatal business downtime.
- Scalability – Every GFS on the market right now is quite extensively limited in terms of capacity and general scalability when compared to a quality VDR. In business, you simply never know when your requirements are going to change and therefore it’s important to choose flexible, scalable solutions.
- Customer Care – Once again, when a service is offered free of charge it is unrealistic to expect the providers behind it to offer anything close to business-level customer care and support. This represents another concern for those looking to use a GFS for business purposes, who may find it difficult to have even the simplest of questions answered.
- Access Levels – Last up, while it may be possible to add a multitude of users to the same GFS account, meticulously setting and securing various different access levels is something that requires a more advanced VDR. So in instances where it is necessary or at least preferable to bar certain individuals from accessing certain data at certain levels, the features and functionalities of the GFS simply don’t make the grade.
Generic File Sharing programs can be fantastic in the private domain, but in terms of business use simply present more risks and concerns than true advantages.