Sunday, 26 May 2013

GDrive (Google Docs) Integration with Egnyte Hybrid Cloud

If your company has adopted GDrive you will appreciate it does require a transition from the "old" to a "new" way of working. For many this old way may still be the best way, it wasn't broken!

What do we mean by old way?

Traditionally companies have had a central file and print server whereby printing is managed centrally along with their file storage. Normally the IT department would set up a secure sharing arrangement on the central file server whereby we may have a folder for the Finance Department, Marketing and Sales Department, Customer Files etc. A central folder hierarchy is established and everyone follows this. We may have even had mapped drives installed where by M:\ was marketing and F:\ was finance etc.

This approach has worked. It would ensure everyone knows where to save files and for others to locate the files. It has been done this way for paper documents for years. Open a folder for the client and file all documents into that folder. People understand this. It works.

Now with Google's GDrive we have a few challenges to this traditional way of working. Let us consider the plus issues. Searching. Google's real strength is search. So simply entering some keywords will execute a fast search at Google speed and list all your required documents on your screen. No need to spend time to navigate hundreds of folders to locate the customers information. However is this enough for established organisations?  I suggest no!

My personal preference is still to define a central folder structure that everyone can follow to either label, tag or store their documents in. GDrive does not offer an ability to define this central store. While you could use one user's account to create a folder structure and share those folders to everyone it is not quite the same as having a central server. GDrive also treats the storage per person and not as a central store. Traditionally we have had say 1000GB drive that we all share. With GDrive we get 30GB each to share between email and documents. Individuals can then purchase more. So if we take our idea of one person being the structure creator then that person could buy 1T of extra storage from Google allowing all documents to be stored in the created shared folder structure of that user.

Another issue we have is when people leave your organisation. In the "old way" it did not matter as all their documents were saved in the central department folder. The documents were generally not connected to their login or their email account. With Google however, if we remove the user, and if they are owners (creators) of any documents, those documents will be removed IF the administrator does not take the steps to migrate those documents to another user. This could be an issue for those that simply delete the user's mailbox without thinking.

So how can we get the best of both worlds?

We really like Egnyte's Hybrid Cloud File server. This gives us the best of the old world and integrates Google Docs or GDrive. By integrating both solutions we get:

  1. a central file store the same as we have always had ... but in the Cloud
  2. we can keep our mapped drives
  3. we can have data stored locally and kept in sync with the Cloud
  4. supports integration to Active Directory and other security models 
  5. allows Google Docs to be "saved" into a folder the same way we have done for years
  6. allows Google Docs to be opened from the shared central folder
  7. can access via iPhone, iPad etc
So for those companies moving away from Office, Word and Excel then you can continue to enjoy using Google Docs to create content but when it comes to then "filing" and "archiving" this content in your corporate system Egnyte offers an excellent mix of old with new.

To learn more about how the new can work with the old speak to us at Cloud Solutions.