A recent series of Forbes Insights executive briefs, sponsored by Dropbox, examine various advantages of operating in the cloud. “Security and Agility: Why Business Is Better in the Cloud” is the first of three briefs.
Today’s technology operates not only inside companies, but also beyond corporate boundaries, interacting with global networks of vendors, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. Business is lightning fast, vastly more collaborative and decidedly mobile. To remain competitive in so disruptive a climate, organizations can no longer remain tethered to yesterday’s tightly controlled internal IT environment.
Businesses today are in hot pursuit of agility: employees need access to data and applications; partners need portals; and customers need a seamless, data-rich experience. Nonetheless, data must be protected. So how can business units/end-users and their IT departments strike a balance between today’s essential, agile, technology needs and the need for enhanced security?
Cloud has always presented a compelling business case. Not only does it reduce the fixed costs of IT spending, it also introduces potential advantages such as flexibility and scalability. Still, the concern most frequently and vocally expressed is security: how can something enabling so much access and interoperability be secure?
Individual companies acting on their own behalf face talent constraints—just how many security engineers can any one company afford to employ? By contrast, for cloud providers, security is a core requirement for their service offerings, meaning they will invest whatever is needed to deliver world-class results.
Another key advantage: rather than running on legacy architecture built even before the era of the Internet, best-in-class cloud providers have built their platforms from the ground up. Lacking the security weaknesses inherent in other systems, cloud platforms are in fact designed to withstand daily probes from the Internet. Finally, because cloud providers observe threat vectors across an entire spectrum of customers, they are at the cutting edge of security practices at all times.
The second brief, “Breaking the Data Barrier: Cloud-Based, Enterprise-Class Collaboration,” focuses on overcoming obstacles to collaboration and data sharing. Silos, archaic IT systems and other organizational impediments—many not even recognized—impede collaboration and data sharing. Business users, workgroups and entire departments become less productive when they can’t easily locate and share information vital to their daily work. Through it all, the IT department struggles to ensure that employees don’t breach policies—risking corporate and customer data security and privacy—in the name of expediency.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to these challenges: cloud-based, enterprise file sync and share (EFSS). Today’s solutions can help would-be collaborators achieve their objectives while still respecting security rules. Working groups can share folders, files and workflows within a well-defined framework. This means business users and analysts can gain greater insight via a more natural flow of information and ideas—even as IT and data security executives achieve enhanced governance.
The final brief, “Harnessing Network Effects: Supercharging the Efficiency and Security of Collaborative Networks,” looks at the scale economies that kick in as more collaborators share on compatible platforms. As access and collaboration expand beyond functional and even organizational boundaries, the value of data grows exponentially.
The more these entities and functions share, the more they need to adopt collaborative tools, such as enterprise file sync and share (EFSS), to gain insights that will improve efficiency, foster innovation and drive performance.
To drive effectiveness, for example, overseers can identify insights such as:
• Who shares the most?
• What documents or folders are proving most popular to others?
• Where are the bottlenecks?
• What potentially worthwhile data is not being used?
• What else might be made available?
Armed with these insights, conveniently and clearly organized on dashboards, companies can take appropriate actions to further stimulate adoption and usage. For example, the firm can now identify and promote the most valuable sources, documents and authors. It might then take steps such as encouraging the most popular or useful authors to contribute more. Companies can also promote adoption and improvement by writing newsletters that profile successes, super-users or trending content.
This article was written by Hugo Moreno from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.