Why Enterprise Employees Need a Single Pane of Glass for File Access


Mobile devices and cloud computing were supposed to simplify life for enterprise employees, but there is at least one area of IT where life has become more complex: file access.

A decade ago, the files an employee accessed might have been distributed across just a few content systems, such as a local drive on a PC, a Windows File Share, an on-premises SharePoint server, and perhaps a non-Microsoft Enterprise Content Management (ECM) product for instance Documentum or OpenText.

Today, that same employee’s content is likely distributed across a much more diverse collection of content systems, including on-premises file servers and cloud services such as Office 365, SharePoint Online, Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, to name just a few. The list most likely also includes insecure and unapproved “shadow IT” cloud services. All told, the typical enterprise is now running over 1,100 cloud services, most of which have not been tested and approved by the IT department.

Content that is distributed across all these different systems creates complexity and confusion for employees. Here’s why:

Multiple login credentials

Some, but not all, of IT-approved content systems might support the enterprise’s Single Sign-On (SSO) service. All the other, i.e. non IT-approved content systems, including all the shadow IT systems, will require their own login credentials and login interfaces.

Inconsistent user experiences on mobile devices

Despite the popularity of mobile computing, many enterprise content systems still rely on interfaces that were originally designed for desktops. Even content systems that tout their support for mobile devices may offer discordant user experiences from platform to platform: for example, a system’s interface might differ considerably from an iPhone to an Android tablet. These differences create a cognitive drag for mobile workers, who are typically using at least three mobile devices - usually a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop.

Difficulty locating information

Without a unified content repository, employees have to perform multiple searches to track down the files they need.

Manually copying and collecting files

An employee working on a project that requires a product specification stored in SharePoint, images posted to Google Drive and notes distributed across Office Online and Box, has to log in and out of all these different systems, copying files, perhaps emailing files and putting together an ad hoc local collection of files. This process is inefficient to say the least and makes document version control extremely challenging.

Increased security risks

Copying files and distributing them by email leads to greater security risks, as files can be infected with viruses or malware that can affect the entire network if undetected.

The Solution: File Access Unified and Simplified

To increase worker productivity and improve content security, enterprises need a straightforward, unified approach to accessing files that makes all content readily available at any time on any device.

Accellion has solved this problem. The kiteworks solution provides secure, real-time access to enterprise content stores located on-premises or in the cloud, allowing users to securely view, download, edit, share, and upload files without having to duplicate files into a new content system or expose them to a virus or data breach.

Enabled by Accellion’s unique content connectors that link kiteworks to an enterprise’s multiple content systems, a single pane of glass view provides:

A single interface and central location for accessing all content, regardless of where it is stored

Employees get secure universal access to content stored in ECMs, file shares, home drives and cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive for Business, Google Drive for work, Dropbox, and Box.

Consistent user experiences across devices

The kiteworks user interface features a mobile-first design that works with the limited screens and gesture-centric interfaces of mobile devices, while also working equally well on traditional desktop systems.

Simplified searches

Employees can use kiteworks to conduct file name and full text searches across multiple content systems at once, saving time and eliminating guesswork about where content resides.

Increased productivity and reduced busywork

Because kiteworks users can access files directly from multiple content systems, and can edit and save those files back to the same content systems, users don’t waste time copying or emailing files or worrying about version control.

Improved security and reduced risk

Because files are accessed, edited and saved using kiteworks, rather than through local copies or email, the risk of data leakage is greatly diminished. A central source for accessing files also enables IT administrators to regain control over the distribution of sensitive content without worrying about users incorporating unapproved applications, i.e. shadow IT.

For a great overview of single pane of glass and the value it provides enterprise employees and organisations, contact the team at MPA.


Blog written by Hormazd Romer at Accellion

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