Workshare Mobile is like Dropbox and Track Changes on iOS steroids
Workshare, which released its first mobile app for iOS this week, is a company that focuses on the intersections of many today's consumerization trends. Its goal is to make it easy and seamless for users to share documents, compare revisions, review changes, and ultimately collaborate in real time. Another way of putting that is that the Workshare helps businesses solve what CTO Barrie Hadfield calls the "Dropbox problem."
It's a common concern for CIOs, IT leaders, and security professionals at businesses all over the world: as consumer cloud storage providers like Dropbox become increasingly common, many knowledge workers are finding it easier to share files and collaborate using them rather than traditional document and file sharing systems. Although Dropbox is the most iconic of these services, it is really just one out of many services that employees use instead of solutions provided or vetted by their IT departments.
The biggest reason employees turn to these services is that they offer a better experience than traditional corporate file sharing. That can mean freedom from restrictive permissions, the ability to access documents outside of the corporate network, and the ability to share information with colleagues in other departments or outside the company altogether. It can also mean features like revision histories that make it easy to compare and roll back changes to a single file or to a large set of documents, as well as the ability to collaborate using social tools instead of traditional desktop applications and email.
While these tools offer users many benefits in terms of efficiency, general productivity, and ease of access, they introduce a number of important concerns. The biggest concern is security. Once the files leave the corporate network, there are often no security safeguards to them. Often there is no audit trail to determine if documents have been put into personal cloud storage or to determine who can access them or what changes are made to them. Beyond the obvious security issues, that can lead to files being stored in many different private data silos. Different versions may be floating around and some people that might be able to contribute to projects or documentation may never see the documents and thus be shut out of the process -- either intentionally or unintentionally.
The old IT wisdom of simply banning or blocking these sites is an exercise in futility. With the sheer number of cloud services out there and the number of mobile devices in the workplace today, employees can easily find other options or work around IT restrictions. The only real solution is to give employees a better option, one that addresses their needs and that provides security and enterprise features like granular permissions and file auditing.
Providing an easy to use and enterprise-grade alternative to Dropbox is important, but there are a number solutions that provide that. What makes Workshare special and interesting is that it goes beyond that basic need.
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