Remember the days of having one file server that housed all of your invaluable company data in a single secure spot?
Sure, there were some limitations to this technology (say, for example, only being able to access your files when you were literally seated at your desk…), but for the most part we all made do, and slept easy that our data would be in that same spot on that same server the next morning.
It was all fine and dandy. Then BAM! In bursts the cloud, blowing apart this construct with all the subtlety of the Kool-Aid Man.
Now there are so many options on the market it’ll make your head spin: Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, iCloud, pCloud, on and on and on.
These solutions have a lot of benefits, and some of them ‑ with the right settings and policies ‑ are perfectly suitable business solutions. But real danger sets in when individual preference dictates your company’s file management strategy.
I’ve seen organizations using two, three, four of these packages at one ‑ sometimes without even realizing it. Do you, for example, know if any of your staff have used their personal Dropbox account to access work files from home? If they’ve collaborated on company documents over Google Drive? If one of your departments decided to use Box for the sake of efficiency, but without ever checking with management or your IT team?
This sort of file free-for-all poses several risks to your business:
- Vulnerability. Most users ‑ even the most well-intentioned ‑ do not take proper precautions with their security and retention settings. (And this is not to mention what those who are less well-intentioned would have the freedom to do.) The risk of your data being lost or compromised skyrockets.
- Compliance violations. The minute any PHI, PII, or any other sensitive information touches one of these platforms, you are most likely in violation of your compliance regulations. This means steep fines and damage to your reputation.
- Sprawl. Your data becomes spread across any number of different applications and local machines. When your people leave, they take those files with them. If you’re lucky, there will be another copy stored elsewhere. If you’re not, resign yourself to recreating some wheels.
- Waste. All the time and money you put into centralizing and securing your company knowledge was for naught.
So, how do you regain control of your data? Here are the three key steps.
Step 1: Choosing ONE solution
Identify which package is best-suited for your company’s requirements and choose that as your one and only platform. Your IT partner should be able to help you select the solution that fits your needs.
Note that beyond pure cloud-based solutions there are several proprietary cloud solutions that can also integrate with that file server you’ve invested so much money in (my company offers one, and there are several others).
Step 2: A thoughtful implementation project.
This is another step that your IT team will be able to help you with. Plan a methodical roll-out of the new solution that involves company-wide training and hands-on follow-up support to address any questions after the transition.
The more trouble your team has with using the solution, the more likely they are to either use the solution improperly, or to once again find their own work-around. So support, support, support!
Step 3: Promoting (and mandating) company-wide adoption.
Your company leadership has to take the reins on this part. A solution that is implemented beautifully will still fall flat if your team doesn’t adopt it fully.
Here’s an infographic that will walk you through the 7 key steps to promoting adoption of a new tech solution.
And from there, recapture your peace of mind!
As originally published in the American City Business Journals.