I’ve recently been living a dual life: Using hosted services to store files and also using a PC based storage – with remote access.
While online file storage is good, and I know it works, there are also monthly fees involved. For your business you must weigh the monthly fees ($10 or more per month, per user) versus paying for a computer server ($500+ one time fee) with remote access.
The hosted file server is much easier to set up and often includes neat features to make it easier to share the files. The traditional computer server has no monthly fees and you have direct access to your files.
Virtual file server vendor Egnyte told me about Danny Guillory, the owner of Innovations International, which creates and runs corporate training programs, who ditched his traditional file server in exchange for a virtual, “in the cloud” server from Egnyte.
The company has been in business for 25 years and just recently decided to shut its physical offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and work from home offices. Danny has 5 employees and works with a lot of freelancers. With Egnyte, every employee can upload, store, share and collaborate on files from any location. Danny can easily provide access to the file server to new contractors for specific projects.
Another thought is what happens when a company does not have access to the Internet? Egnyte has a neat tool that provides offline access to Egnyte, but not every hosted service has this feature.
Recently I used Box.net for a major project – it’s simply flawless and feature rich. For example, once I uploaded the files, I used an embed code to make them accessible, on a web site, to others.
Hosted applications are wonderful applications and quite useful, but I wonder if they are for every use.
Other than the scenario of no Internet access and monthly fees, I also am concerned, just a bit, about the viability of the core documents belonging to the company. Maybe you’re a startup and find yourself in business for 20 years. Is it reasonable to think that the documents you uploaded to the hosting service today, will be online and available 20 years from now?
On your own server, you have total control of the server, can upgrade it when you want and move the server to a new location and etc.
I hope this article has not confused you, but given you something to think about.
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