Free software is great for personal use, but it isn’t always the best option for your business. As your business grows, you may find that the “starter pack” of software you’ve been using has begun causing more issues than they solve. This is especially true for your file sharing solution. A professional option can minimize frustrations, save time, and mitigate risks.

If you’re experiencing any of these five signs, you should think long and hard about using a professional file sharing solution.

1. Your current file sharing solution is inefficient

If you find yourself wasting even 10 minutes a day looking for your files, you need to put some serious thought into using a professional file sharing platform. A professional file sharing solution can utilize powerful advanced search options to search your content to help you find indexed content within your documents.

With a solution like SmartFile, you can also choose to tag your files with customized attributes. Tags can help you when using the search function since you can choose to search by tag. For example, if you’ve structured your files so that your expense reports are under each individual client, but you need to collect them for financial purposes, you can search your expense report tag and bring them all up at once.

Another feature of a professional solution is email alerts. Perhaps you’re waiting on final approval from your manager before you hand a project off to the client, or you need one final bit of information so you can finish. Whatever it is, you don’t need to wait for confirmation. As soon as a file is uploaded you will get an email so that you can address it.

2. You’re never sure if you have the most recent version of a file

If you have ever collaborated on a project then you understand the (sometimes endless) editing process of tweaking, adjusting, poking and prodding to make sure that the work is exactly as you (and everyone else involved) want it. So even if you find the file with the right name, can you be absolutely positive that it’s the one that’s the most updated?

We’ve all began editing a document and then get a bad feeling that something was missing. It’s incredibly frustrating to realize halfway through the editing process that you’ve been working off an old version. If that’s not a sign that you need a professional file sharing platform, I don’t know what is.

You need to ensure that people have access to the most recent version of the file or you could end up creating more work for yourself or your teammates. A great way to keep track of what version you are using is by utilizing SmartFile’s versioning to ensure everyone has the right file at the right time.

3. You’re battling Shadow IT and don’t know who is using what

Just because you don’t provide your team access to a file sharing platform, doesn’t mean they aren’t using one. This trend—where employees take IT into their own hands by using devices, apps, and software for business without IT’s approval—is called Shadow IT and the loosening of IT’s control over security threatens to topple businesses everywhere.

There are so many great tools out there that can make work more efficient, including file sharing solutions, but if each team member goes out on their own and finds a different tool, then you can’t be sure that files (and the important information they contain) are being handled with the appropriate level of controls. Just like a fragile box in the mail (or the emotions of others), your files need to be “handled with care.”

You can’t ask your team members to simply not use tools that make their lives easier. There are way too many benefits to file sharing solutions for them not to seek one out. So you’ll want to give them all access to one that will work in your favor.

4. You need more control over access and permissions

Simply put, some team members need access to certain files and some don’t. Your house designer might whip up a clean logo and some compelling graphics, but do they really need to have access to a client’s payment information?

If you are finding that your permissions are getting more and more intricate (especially if you need to adhere to certain compliances), you’ll need to move to a professional file sharing solution.

With granular permissions, you have control over who has access to what file and can receive email notifications about file and user activity. And some file sharing solutions, like SmartFile, offer visual tools and detailed logs to help you understand the usage so you can identify outliers and protect your data.

5. You need to send and store and send sensitive information

Whether it’s your client’s financial data or proprietary industry secrets, your business probably deals with sensitive information multiple times a day. Keeping your files secure is crucial for protecting your clients and your company’s reputation.

So if you’re concerned with security, a professional file sharing platform can give you the assurance you need. Not only is your information encrypted, but with a file sharing solution, you don’t need to fear files being lost or corrupted. Your provider will be able to resolve your issues.

With a platform like SmartFile, we can keep your files safe and your data secure. You can even set expiration dates for temporary links and password encryption for added security. And if you’re especially concerned, you may think about an on-premise solution.

If you’re dabbling in a hobby that requires an expensive program, a free option with fewer capabilities may work just fine. But when it comes to making sure your organization is running effectively and efficiently, call the professionals.

Leveraging a professional file sharing platform like SmartFile can help your organization run as smoothly as possible. Give SmartFile a try for free today — no credit card required!

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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