3 Reasons You Should Move From Internal Fileshares to SharePoint and OneDrive

Matt Kohn
December 1, 2020

Storage of business assets is a core essential need for everyone. No matter what industry you are in, you need a secure repository for documents and files, regardless of how your team is collaborating on them. Let's take a look into why doing away with third-party or on-premise servers in lieu of leveraging the Microsoft Office365 cloud space can save you time, headaches, and even some dollars along the way.

File Shares are Costly

On-prem servers are financially costly to maintain, some tech server rooms can be one of the largest assets in a company. When it becomes time to upgrade every 10 years or so, management can get blindsided when they need to replace or upgrade all those physical technical assets.  

File shares are also dated. When you think about the core functionality of a document repository on a stored server, it is simply an extension of your local machine’s memory across a network of computers at your work. This setup does not provide any other functionality other than shared storage and basic levels of folder organization.  

These environments can also be extremely cumbersome for employees to access. Users are reluctant to carry around a VPN token for authentication. They get frustrated when the best experience of their file share can only be achieved from wiring locally from their office desk. In these unprecedented times when remote working is becoming the norm, this frustration is only exacerbated and can propagate a multitude of IT nightmares for companies.

The Cloud is Intuitive

As early adopters are making the shift more and more to the cloud, the myths of the cloud being too complicated, insecure, and costly are finally being dispelled. If you need help making the case for switching to an online shared work environment, I’ve always begun with these key application concepts.

Utilize Your Microsoft License

The best argument for moving your file share content to a cloud environment is the fact that you most likely already have it and pay less for it as an option. Let’s face it, if you’re a modern company striving for innovation then there’s a high chance you already pay for MS licenses for your employees. OneDrive and SharePoint are already included in these licenses you pay for, and the math shows that paying approximately $7/month for each employee is much cheaper than the financial burden of updating on-site equipment for the same amount of users. In certain cases, companies currently have the opportunity to migrate their content into a more modern system at no additional cost, and then decommission their previous costly environment.  

At its most basic foundational level, the shared workspace in Microsoft 365 can mimic the same familiar setup users are accustomed to on their file shares. Regardless of how your team decides to reorganize their content, you get some cool benefits for document repository simply by having your stuff stored in OneDrive or SharePoint. Microsoft has more recently prioritized search above many other forms of organization, so there’s less need to folder items and make sure keywords live on filenames. SharePoint searches can scrub through HTML data within files and open up opportunities to tag content with metadata. These out-of-the-box features open up possibilities for users to find content more quickly and even create multiple ways to organizes and access content. Automated or triggered alerts for users and groups also cut out the downtime spent to notify users where you updated content. Gone are the days of having to email the windows explorer folder location that you just saved your proposal to, SharePoint can do it for you!  

Keeping Things Secure

A final critical component of discussing making the shift from local file shares is accessibility. When modern cloud storage became available, so many users became suspicious of its security simply because it was new technology and therefore unverified. The tables are quickly turning as clients are accepting the peace of mind that comes from having Microsoft managing your security as a leading provider in the market for a subscription price. In the shared cloud environments, your users can authenticate from practically any device and bounce around their workday in the office, at home, or on the go without the need of a VPN token or ethernet cable. MS also offers a variety of additional security measures like encryption in government-controlled tenants, two-factor authentication, and restriction of permissions either internally or externally. These options enable clients to carve out their security needs, configure them, and manage them if they ever change.

Getting the Shift Started

It can be difficult to try and gain momentum on proposing a modern change to an area that is so centered around the internal core of a business, especially when people use it daily. This blog barely scratches the surface on the benefits of modernizing shared repository spaces, but it is a good place to being the conversation with leadership. Focusing on cost, functionality, and accessibility are concepts and pain areas that all roles of a business can rally around. Focus on the big picture and the facts around other current modernization success stories that other companies have completed to further benchmark the process.

  • Talk to management about the current state of your file share environments. Understand how old they are, what their recurring costs are, and how much they’re used.

  • Begin offering OneDrive and SharePoint spaces by comparing their most core functionality to what your users are already familiar with on their file shares. It is much easier to advocate for them on the needs they already have than to sell them on features they may not think they need at that time.

  • Security and accessibility are always a balancing act for companies with unique needs. Identify your security needs ahead of time and best fit them to the options and accessibility features that MS offers in O365.

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