A few weeks ago one of the companies I work with had a file server dramatically crash after years of faithful service. It took two days of engineering time to set up a new server from scratch and restore files from backups. Even before the crash, it used to take engineering time to add new users and set permissions. The permissions were never really set properly and many folders were accessible simply by using a shared username & password that did the rounds. There were also occasional issues with files being overwritten with older versions and work needing to be redone.
Running their own “cheap” in-house server was actually getting expensive and introducing huge amounts of risk. Some of the employees at the company started using their personal Dropbox accounts for handling mission critical files such as accounting records. This had the benefit of giving Revision Control up to one year and rollbacks in case of files getting corrupted. Folders could also be shared, but, the file ownership was by nature “personal”. If an employee left the company it would create security problems.
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Luckily, DropBox recently lauched Dropbox for Teams. It allows centralized management of users & files, unlimited revisions and huge amounts of storage.
Although it’s a Cloud Storage Service, your files are synchronized across all your devices, thus meaning fast, local access at all times without the need of an internet connection.
At first, I thought the price came in a bit steep at $795 per year for 5 users, or $13.25 per user per month. Yes, you could buy a half-decent Ubuntu server for $795, but the cost of setting it up properly, maintaining it, security and lost productivity quickly adds up to thousands of dollars. Professional companies in Cape Town charge in the region of $500 a month for basic server monitoring & maintenance and callout fees of $100 per hour.
I’d say it’s a no brainer: throw out the file server and get Dropbox for Teams.