SharePoint Draws New File-Sharing Competition

A major reason to use SharePoint is that it helps users share files.

However, cloud-based file sharing is going mainstream. To illustrate, consider two offerings with different approaches. They're both attractive alternatives to SharePoint, if your motivation is file sharing:

  • DropBox implemented file sharing cleverly by designing its interface to integrate seamlessly with the Microsoft Windows file system.  When you install DropBox, a folder appears in your my Documents folder.  You add (and remove) folders in the same way as you do under Windows.  All files in the DropBox folder are mirrored to a cloud location.  This lets you view the same folder from multiple devices (other PCs, Macs, smart phones) or share with family members, friends or work colleagues. You can also view the shared files via a web interface.
  • implements file sharing in the form of a web page and it provides applications for all leading smart phones. The web page presents a basic document list where files can be easily uploaded and shared with other users.  All the features you would expect to manage files and groups make it easy to share photos with family members or collaborate on a work project with fellow employees.
  • Today both DropBox and target the consumer market, but they also have their sights on businesses. The major shortcoming of both products is data security.  Using either product, an employee could set up a shared folder and potentially share an unlimited number of files with anyone in a matter of minutes.  This creates another challenge to an organization trying to protect its intellectual property.

Bob Spurzem - In addition to his role as Ferris analyst, Bob is director of product marketing at Iron Mountain Digital Division, which was recently purchased by Autonomy.

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