10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System

10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System
Flexible Storage Infrastructure
Security
Project Collaboration
Active Directory/LDAP Integration
Source-Based Deduplication for WAN Optimization
Integrated Backup
Policy Definition
Usage Metering
API Access to Data and Metadata
Multi-Tenant Provisioning and Management
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10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System

By Chris Preimesberger

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Flexible Storage Infrastructure

Does your enterprise want to have all data stored on-premises in its data centers? Perhaps some or all of that content should be housed with a cloud provider. It's important for the solution you select to have the flexibility to work on both. Enterprises are moving toward a hybrid cloud usage model, and your files' sync-and-share solution is part of that.

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Security

Make sure that your EFSS package encrypts data both at rest (at the source) and in transit and that you have full control over encryption keys, validating security from the endpoint all the way to the data center.

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Project Collaboration

Many enterprises find that the flexibility of self-defined projects, formed by end users without IT assistance, improves organizational agility and reduces IT overhead. But to avoid chaos, a corporate policy should exist regarding aspects such as which users can define projects, automatic storage quotas based on the project creator and so on.

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Active Directory/LDAP Integration

Integrating the EFSS package with existing AD/LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) services and single sign-on (SSO) mechanisms ensures that user authentication and access rights are fully compliant with corporate policies. They also make deployment fast and painless.

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Source-Based Deduplication for WAN Optimization

The EFSS system should offer deduplication and compression techniques, which importantly minimize the amount of data transferred across the corporate wide-area network (WAN) or over the Internet. Deduplication is performed on the end-device against previously stored blocks (even from other users if required), and only the changed blocks are sent to the cloud.

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Integrated Backup

A closely related service to file synchronization is the ability to back up and restore files on demand. EFSS is not in itself a backup solution, since it is not regularly scheduled and does not support the same level of version management. When evaluating a new solution, corporate IT should examine how it integrates with other file-related requirements, such as backup and archiving policies and other infrastructures.

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Policy Definition

Agree on and implement data archiving, deletion, aging and retirement policies for data stored within the EFSS system. Failure to define requirements could open opportunities for security/privacy exposure to mission-critical and proprietary data. Managers should account for and find the means to segregate the mixing of personal and business data.

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Usage Metering

Many companies have moved to a model where IT services are internally billed to other departments. It is therefore important to measure the storage and network traffic used by each department/user.

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API Access to Data and Metadata

The data that users generate and unwittingly sync to the cloud is still your organization's data. It may be useful for data-mining purposes, required for compliance reasons or needed for e-discovery for litigation. Choose a solution that will make it easy to access the data when needed through APIs and other integrations.

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Multi-Tenant Provisioning and Management

For organizations with multiple departments or divisions, the EFSS solution should support the configuration of multiple levels of role-based administrators and cloud storage tenants.

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