Why Consumer Cloud Document Storage Solutions Can Kill Your Enterprise

Cloud based document storage has become surprisingly inexpensive over the years. With some providers offering storage for as low as $.01 per terabyte, and in many cases FREE accounts with 10 or 20 gigabytes of storage space on the Cloud. I would agree that free storage is actually convenient when it comes to being able to upload documents, data, files photos and a bunch of other stuff to the Cloud and downloading it where you want, when you want.  Things are looking pretty positive for the consumer. Life is good!


What then about the enterprise user? Take Sally, who works at the marketing department in a large bank or George, who manages one location of a large healthcare service provider. These folks work with hundreds of private, confidential documents every week, including information that is governed by privacy laws for their industries. Although moving to a Google Drive, Microsoft Sky Drive or Box.net may be very convenient and efficient, the question remains whether any of these platforms can pose a risk for potential lawsuits because of a data privacy breach. Does it in any way open the door for a potential breach of confidentiality? Does it open the case for sending your data to an unknown place without legislative governance? The answer is yes, it does.

Data governance within the enterprise can fall under multiple rules, laws and regulations. Based on the industry and the nature of the business, you may be under contract to keep information private, or not divulge confidential client details and so on. The problem with mainstream consumer grade document storage solutions is that they are not suitable for such business needs. Unless data is guaranteed to reside on a certain server with certain geographical bounds, your data is potentially stored on a myriad of servers distributed around the region or the globe. That is the nature of the consumer document storage business. Although this has certain advantages, for the enterprise users the disadvantages easily outweigh any benefits

A true enterprise-class document management system should be able to offer a few specific features that make it truly enterprise class. Here are the only three ways this is possible.
  • On Premise or Private Cloud – If the document management system is able to be deployed on an On-Premise Model then you are good to go. The data and the solution will both reside on your servers and, as such, guarantees no data privacy issues due to the solution. (Don’t forget the data security now falls in your domain and would be part if your IT operations and not the vendor.)
  • Hybrid Cloud – You may be able to keep the data on your premises (Data Center) and have the solution or application run on a public server. In this case you are using more of a Hybrid Cloud approach, which still would guarantee the safety of your data as long as it resides on your infrastructure.
  • Dedicated Public Cloud – You may be able to get a guarantee from the solution vendor for the data being hosted on infrastructure that resides within the geographical bounds of your organization’s operations. This one is hard to come by, unless the solution has a On Premise or Hybrid/Private Cloud model and in addition the solution vendor has a local data center to support the solution offering.

Unless it’s one of these three models, you should question the safety of your data on any document storage platform. A simple thing to remember is that consumer IT needs differ significantly from that of the enterprise and sometimes even though consumer grade solutions may seem the easy choice, they may just not be suitable for your business.

How does your organization handle Cloud Document Storage? Feel free to comment.

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29 Jan 2015

By Solgeniakhela
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