A shared drive still has its place in homes and businesses, but to what extent should you use one? And are there any solutions to the issues shared drives currently have?
What Is a Shared (Network) Drive?
A shared or network drive lets users quickly share files from computer-to-computer. The shared network most often operates on a Local Access Network (LAN). The network drive is shared, allowing all users on the network to access stored files and share files with one another.
Lack of Security on a Shared Drive
The bulk of security within a shared drive comes from administrative tools and options. For example, users can’t access certain files or folders on the LAN. This way sensitive information is protected and shared only with the intended users. This is a limited scope of security options, which is a huge issue.
The security concerns are staggering. In fact, there are many scenarios in which sensitive information gets exposed. This comes about from human error or intentional intrusion. Viruses are a strong potential to expose themselves to users as well. There is a better way to connect users on a network and for secure file sharing, which I address later on.
Lack of Search on a Shared Drive
One of the most important features to compliment search functionality is metadata. Unfortunately, shared drives don’t allow users to keyword their files with metadata. This is a serious issue especially for companies who need to quickly locate files on a network. Without metadata, the chances of organizing shared files for quick retrieval are slim.
A potential issue is a company that has thousands of users sharing millions of files on a LAN. If a team creating a campaign needed brand logo files, the idea of searching the shared drive for them would be exhausting. Without metadata to help users search for specific keywords relating to the brand logos, they would have to sort through too many files to complete the campaign in a reasonable time frame.
Issues With Duplicate Documents on a Shared Drive
Misplacing a document file is a common problem in a shared drive, but an even worse mess to deal with is duplicate documents. Duplicate issues are a huge issue for companies, as they put the business at risk for all sorts of problems. For example, if a team member opens what he or she believes to be the most recent document for a project, but it’s a duplicate version that is missing key elements, it’s a disaster.
Another issue with this is potential copyright problems. If certain duplicate documents prevent team members from using the most current copyrighted document, it is unprotected. Finally, the time-consuming process of deleting duplicates wears down users.
The Best Alternative to a Shared Drive
Move away from shared drive technology into a digital asset management (DAM) system to address the above issues. A DAM allows teams to share files securely in a centralized location. It prevents duplicates, allows metadata and has strong search function.
If the problems of a shared drive are undermining your company’s attempts at seamlessly sharing files, upgrade to software capable of handling the entire process.