10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-04-28 Print this article Print

According to a recent Gartner Research report, there has been an "explosive" level of interest in file synchronization to go with sharing and other collaboration capabilities in the enterprise. This goes hand-in-hand with tight IT control as required by the enterprise and, in many cases, by regulatory agencies. The acronym for this type of system is EFSS, or enterprise file synchronization and sharing. This is largely, but not completely, due to the astounding increase of personal connected devices used to handle sensitive business data in the workplace, and it involves more than just mobile device management. Major drivers for this new priority are the growing adoption of personal media tablets, smartphones and laptops—as well as all the cloud services that come with them. This eWEEK slide show, using research from Gartner and industry intelligence from cloud data services provider CTERA Networks, offers 10 best practices for enterprises to use when deciding upon an EFSS management and security package.

  • 10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System

    By Chris Preimesberger
    10 Best Practices for Installing a File Synchronization System
  • 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.
    Flexible Storage Infrastructure
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Project Collaboration
  • 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.
    Active Directory/LDAP Integration
  • 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.
    Source-Based Deduplication for WAN Optimization
  • 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.
    Integrated Backup
  • 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.
    Policy Definition
  • 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.
    Usage Metering
  • 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.
    API Access to Data and Metadata
  • 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.
    Multi-Tenant Provisioning and Management
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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