Microsoft SharePoint is Better Than a Traditional Windows File Server

Microsoft SharePoint and SharePoint OnlineAs new technologies continue to change the way that people do business, it is essential to stay on top of the latest trends to ensure that you have the best systems and software in place. Today we will be discussing the top ten reasons why Microsoft SharePoint or SharePoint Online is the better solution, compared to a traditional Windows file server. While a basic system might serve your business well in the beginning, there comes a time when an upgrade is necessary to give you the power, efficiency, security, accessibility, and management tools that you need to succeed.

While it can be challenging to discern which options are best for your small or medium-sized business, there are services that can help you along the way. Synivate offers a wide range of innovative technology solutions designed uniquely for the industry and type of business that you operate. Our team of highly trained and experienced technicians and engineers can assist you in finding the best document management system and file server setup according to your needs.

Reason #1 – Microsoft SharePoint Online is Cloud-Based

A traditional Windows file server is a physical local-based file server setup that provides on-premises file storage. This is the most common type of setup used by small businesses and personal home computer users. A very simple and straightforward type of arrangement, these companies utilize a common drive that is accessible from a series of connected desktops within the office or workplace to share and store data. As an organization grows and expands, cloud-based sharing, collaboration, and storage becomes necessary, especially if your company has multiple stores, offices, or team members who work from a variety of locations. The cloud-based Microsoft SharePoint Online is a much better solution for businesses that plan on growing and expanding in the future.

Reason #2 – Team Tools and Collaboration Opportunities

Not only will you and your team be able to collaborate in real-time with Microsoft SharePoint, but you will also have access to a wide range of tools and use innovative capabilities to increase efficiency and productivity across the board. Unlike a Windows file server, which is just a place to share and store data, SharePoint Online offers a cloud-based file server setup that allows automatic synching in real-time so multiple users can be working on the same document at the same time without any duplication. This can avoid confusion and prevent having multiple versions of the same file in data storage. Team sites or groups can also be used to further increase collaboration. SharePoint offers in-house, office-based solutions without cloud access, for those who want to keep everything on-premises.

Reason #3 – Virtual Private Network Not Required

Security is essential in this day and age, due to increases in cyber crime through viruses, malware, ransomware, and other types of data attacks. As a result, many companies utilize an intranet type structure or require off-site login via Virtual Private Network (VPN). Unfortunately, when it comes to collaboration and data sharing, the use of a VPN can result in structural issues for data. One example would be a document that is being used by a team or department of employees. If it is being shared at work via the company network and stored there, as well as being accessed remotely via VPN, it can result in multiple copies being shared in different locations. When you use SharePoint Online, all of these common issues disappear, offering centralized access to files no matter where your team is located.

Reason #4 – A Searchable File Server Setup

Another huge advantage when choosing SharePoint Online by Microsoft over a traditional Windows file server, is that you gain access to Microsoft Search. A personalized file search experience, this tool allows the user to customize the results that they receive based on the insights provided by the Microsoft Graph for more relevant information. Results appear quickly before even typing in the search box based on trending content and previous activity within the realm of Microsoft 365. This can help to increase efficiency and assist employees in finding relevant information much faster without wasting time on endless searches for data.

Reason #5 – Version Tracking and Storage Options

While this might seem like a small tool to some, it can be a powerful resource for businesses where employees are working on a project or document together from multiple locations. Known as “versioning,” this tool allows the user to restore up to 50,000 previous versions of a document, as well as track all of the changes that have been made. Ever wish you would have kept your old notes or saved an original file that might have been useful later? Versioning in Microsoft SharePoint makes it possible to restore previous versions, make copies of them, and delete older versions, as long as they have permission to do so. Permissions also prevent unauthorized staff from accidentally deleting essential documents or versions of files.

Reason #6 – Seamless Integration with SharePoint

The old Windows file server was an excellent document management system for startup businesses, one-location companies, or individual users. However, as other apps and software became more advanced, the need to integrate them all together seamlessly became essential. Microsoft SharePoint Online allows businesses to effectively integrate these tools, data-sharing options, and other benefits with a range of other Microsoft business solutions. Popular programs like Teams, Word, Excel, Outlook, and other Microsoft 365 products can all be integrated through this cloud-based file server setup. Imagine all the possibilities for productivity and efficiency when you maximize the abilities of these tools together in the cloud.

Reason #7 – Layers of Benefits with SharePoint Online

Everything that we need to do today in the world of business can be accomplished through the use of the tools provided in SharePoint. Beginning with Microsoft integration and security options, all the way to specific productivity tools like real-time collaboration, versioning, advanced search, access without a Virtual Private network, and centralized access. There are so many reasons to make the change to this advanced document management system. The traditional Windows file server offers none of these tools and is simply a storage device and nothing else. There are no advantages that this old way of storing documents and files can provide compared to Microsoft SharePoint Online.

Reason #8 – Allows Public and Restricted File Access

Another huge advantage is the ability to setup a variety of security access restrictions to provide the means for public sharing folders and managed, restricted access files, to allow for a wider range of collaboration within your organization. Your team can integrate their personal OneDrive for Business accounts within their own area, which can be synched with SharePoint libraries, as well as other files that they use for work. This helps considerably for team members who work while traveling, work from home, or work at satellite offices. As this system was designed with collaboration in-mind, it works more as a centralized platform that allows the setup of files with a range of accessibility for staff within many different departments and levels of security, to ensure the safety and integrity of your data.

Reason #9 – Organizational Tools to Increase Efficiency

There are way more than just ten reasons to choose Microsoft SharePoint Online over a traditional Windows file server. The deeper you look into this powerful tool, the easier it is to see new and innovative ways that it can be used to your benefit. A variety of organizational tools are also provided to help keep track of essential documents, based on the unique needs and structure of your organization. Efficient file tools, including the ability to create your own custom tags, metadata, and folders to streamline daily use and file searches are definitely at the top of that list. Automated processes, advanced analytics, and scalability, all allow you and your team to work more efficiently, while handling large volumes of files, data, and work on collaborative documents, without slowing down overall performance.

Reason #10 – Comprehensive Security and Industry Compliance Tools

Depending on the industry that you serve, you may be required to have increased security and ensure compliance to safeguard the data stored on your network. Educational facilities, healthcare industry organizations, and other companies that demand consumer, patient, or student-based security can benefit greatly from the tools available in Microsoft SharePoint and SharePoint Online. Unlike your traditional Windows file server or other document management system, you will not need to use any third-party products to ensure comprehensive security and industry compliance. SharePoint has these features built-in, including data encryption, virus protection, as well as the ability to add even more security features. Information Rights Management (IRM) and Multi-Factor Authentication are just two of the ways that you and your IT Department or IT Support Team at Synivate can help to increase your ability to safeguard data.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication is highly recommended for your file server setup to ensure that unauthorized users are not able to access your stored and shared data. A variety of tools can be used under this umbrella, including fingerprint scans, limited-time codes sent via SMS to the user’s smartphone or device, as well as direct approvals from the Microsoft Authenticator app. Whatever method you decide to use, SharePoint and SharePoint Online can support it for effective security access to your organization’s data. Many organizations are now utilizing multi-factor authentication throughout their structure, making it possible to increase security for certain types of data, while ensuring access to public, company-wide, and other “safe” documents without restrictions.
  • Information Rights Management is another very effective tool that can be used to regulate the viewing and usage of sensitive data – even if it has already been downloaded from the server. You can have complete control over who can access any document on the server, including how the file can be used. It is possible to restrict access to certain individuals or departments, as well as set a time-based restriction that expires once accessibility is no longer granted. Other restrictions available with Information Rights Management tools include making the file read-only, which prevents them from editing or adding to the document, as well as preventing people from copying the text, saving a local copy, or even from printing the file.

Business Continuity Support & Services

At Synivate, we are strong supporters of having a custom backup strategy for any size or type of business. Cyber criminals do not care who they attack these days, which means your local mom and pop brick and mortar store is just as likely to be the victim of ransomware as a high-tech, multi-national corporation. It is important to work with a professional IT company that can provide you with a custom strategy for backup and recovery to ensure that you are able to get back to work after a disaster. That could be a fire at your workplace, simple human error in deletion of essential data, a virus or malware attack, power grid issues, or anything that might impact your operations.

We work with you and your team to identify essential data and ensure that your files are backed up on a daily basis. Non-essential data can be backed up weekly or monthly, depending on your needs, ensuring that the most critical files get daily attention. This can be integrated with your existing file server setup or even a more advanced option, such as SharePoint or SharePoint Online. Our team can help you to choose the best backup techniques based on your unique requirements, industry regulations, and budget. Secure storage, which should include both on-site and off-site management, will help you to recover even if your physical location is a complete loss. Regular backup file testing to ensure the value and validity of your business continuity plan is essential to ensure that a full restoration of data would work as needed following an incident.

Contact Synivate for a FREE Consultation

If you are interested in learning more about better ways to manage, secure, and access your company data, documents, files, and programs, contact our team directly by calling 617-517-0704. We can answer any questions that you might have about upgrading from a traditional Windows file server and Information Technology services to more advanced Microsoft SharePoint or SharePoint Online document management system. Located in the Greater Boston Massachusetts area, we serve a wide range of clients throughout the New England area with professionally managed services, employee education, and ongoing support for innovative technology solutions.

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