For as long as anyone cares to remember, organizations have been organizing files on Windows systems by function. Each department is given their own system for organizing files, with access rights to those files generally controlled by the internal IT department. That all worked great until end users started showing up with lots of devices that didn’t run Windows.
Looking to replace Windows as the core metaphor for organizing files, Dropbox today added a Team Folder capability to its file share and synchronization service. George O’Brien, a product manager for Dropbox, says that while many organizations have been using Dropbox to organize files for years, this latest offering provides IT administrators with more granular controls over who has permission to access certain types of files under certain circumstances, such as their current location, all through the AdminX console.
Initially brought into most organizations by end users looking for a way to easily share files across a variety of mobile computing devices, it’s clear now that file share and synchronization services have become central to information sharing strategies across the enterprise. In fact, O’Brien says 52 percent of the Fortune 500 is now paying to use Dropbox.
As that usage grows, the role that traditional operating systems play as a mechanism for sharing files comes into question. While embedding a file system in Windows was a boon to productivity in its day, the internal overhead associated with managing those files was considerable. Services such as Dropbox allow IT organizations to push the daily management of access to files out to end users, without requiring nearly as much cost or regular intervention on the part of internal IT.
Inertia is a powerful thing inside most organizations; many will continue to use Windows to organize files because that’s what they have been doing for decades. But in a world where IT staffs are already hard pressed to find time to launch new projects, it’s worth considering placing these file management duties into the hands of end users.