Consumer vs. Business: Why it Matters and What to Consider When Choosing a File Sync & Share Vendor

Does it matter whether you opt for a consumer or business­grade file sync and share (FSS) solution to add to your product portfolio? The answer is a resounding yes. It seems like only yesterday when new employees were simply issued a Blackberry and an IBM ThinkPad for their data access and collaboration needs. And managing these two devices and data access was easy for IT. That’s no longer the case. Today, your customers are faced with myriad challenges and needs when it comes to devices, software and access options, while keeping company data secure. That said, some things remain the same, namely the need for a FSS solution that can address five key areas: Security, Options, Collaboration, Performance and Profitability. When researching a vendor to provide FSS services, here’s what you should consider for each category to ensure long­term success for you and your customers.

#1 Security
There’s no shortage of popular cloud­only solutions out there, and some are even free and easy enough for your grandma to deploy. And while many of these options score high marks in the ease­of­use category, they may leave you concerned about about security, data management and access permissions. When researching which solution to resell, ask yourself, ’Will their data be encrypted at rest and inflight? Will they be able to remote wipe a device? Is single sign­on supported? Security should be a top consideration when choosing an FSS solution for your customers.

#2 Options
Does the solution you’re looking into provide multiple deployment options? Not all data belongs in the cloud, either because it’s too big OR too sensitive, so it’s important to select a solution that gives you and your customers options that span from cloud­only to hybrid and even purely on­prem. A blend of these models provides the best option and protection for your customers, especially from downtime or slow access for times when the internet is either down or suffers from limited bandwidth.

#3 Collaboration
Employees love cloud­only apps since they’re easy for collaboration and sharing files. Look for solutions that have this ease of use but, at the same time, provide IT with control over business data. Does the solution offer flexible project collaboration, subfolder permissioning and zero file limitations, regardless of size, type or number? Can users be removed or added at any time to ensure the right people have the right data when they need it? Keep in mind, consumer­grade solutions cannot make this promise.

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#4 Performance
How do your customers move files today? The reality is that enterprise customers need support for large files. Can your vendor’s solution support large CAD/CAM, engineering, and/or multi­media files? Consumer cloud­only solutions are not an ideal fit for many of these business cases because they simply cannot support larger files due to the limitations of the cloud impacting bandwidth and slowing down productivity.

#5 Profitability
At the end of the day, business is business and money needs to be made. Look for a seasoned business­class vendor that offers at least 15-30% margin and a solid partner program that provides tools, including deal registration, a partner portal, MDF, joint webinars, on­boarding and sales enablement. Be wary of consumer­grade vendors promising that their business­class version is ready for prime time; they received the label consumer grade for a reason. Look for a solution that meets your business goals, works for your customer base and makes you money.

The goal is to find the right solution that will meet all of your customers file sync and share needs. Price should never be the only consideration when researching solutions for your customers. Work with a vendor that takes a profitable and secure approach built for business versus a vendor with only consumer needs in mind. Address these five areas, and you’ll provide your customers with a highly valuable tool that provides continued revenue opportunities and will save you a lot of time and headaches down the road.

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