Using large files & sharing documents
Digital technologies are making it easier to collaborate with staff or clients around the globe. It’s not just about email or USB file sharing these days. In this module, you’ll learn about new technologies to increase productivity, securely share large files, and keep everyone up to speed when collaborating on rapidly evolving projects.
Part 1: Dealing with shared documents and large files
Many organisations have historically relied heavily on email to transfer working business documents. But this can create problems. Files may be too large to share. Documents with multiple contributors can quickly become out-dated. And sharing multiple versions of the same document can be confusing, resulting in errors, and can take up too much storage space.
Online file sharing tools can bring together staff, suppliers and clients from around the world, collaborating on documents simultaneously to drive your business forward.
New file sharing technologies
While some people still use USB drives to share documents, the development of more appropriate digital technologies has made it faster and easier to edit and share documents within your business and to external contacts.
There are two main types:
Online collaboration tools
These tools allow you to create and store documents online, and to invite other people to remotely view, edit and download them via a web browser. Multiple people can simultaneously edit and share documents, saving time and allowing for more dynamic updating.
Well-known options are Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365. The key difference is that Google Drive is free and Microsoft Office 365 requires a subscription.
- Basic file sharing tools
Online tools like DropBox and Huddle allow you to quickly and easily share large documents, which can be accessed and downloaded (but not edited) via a web browser.
Part 2: What are the challenges and potential pitfalls
With so many different file sharing options available, you’ll need to figure out which features are most important for your business.
Some documents may contain important private data. The best online file sharing services should encrypt every file transferred, and provide password protection to keep files safe. Isolated storage facilities are a more expensive security feature, but a good option if your customers’ data is especially sensitive.
Look for services that provide tracking tools to confirm your files have been received. Some services also provide a services log, which can track employees’ file sharing activity.
Pricing vs. business focus
There is a large number of free or very low cost online storage and file sharing providers. Look closely to find business focused solutions, rather than those designed for non-sensitive documents.
Your customers’ needs
Your customers and business partners may favour their own file sharing provider. Be open to working with a range of different file sharing solutions, provided they meet your own business needs.
You might also want to consider the:
- maximum number of sends;
- storage space;
- file size limit;
- compatible file types;
- availability of multi-user plans; and
- how many days shared files remain available.
If you’re ready to learn more about file sharing services, these resources may help. All information was current at the time of writing. When you go to any of the links below, you will be leaving the DBK site.
Digitalbusiness.gov.au – Information about choosing the right online tools to help manage your business more efficiently.