A shared drive is still used in many homes and businesses. Though there are some benefits to using one, there are pitfalls as well. To what extent should you use one? Are there any solutions to the issues shared drives currently have? Here’s a breakdown.

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.

Here are three potential problems with using a shared drive, plus one solution:

1. 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 offers a limited scope of security options, which is a huge issue.

A picture of a digital padlock.
Security issues loom large on a shared drive.

The security concerns are staggering. In fact, there are many scenarios in which sensitive information gets exposed. This is a result of human error or intentional intrusion. Furthermore, viruses have a strong potential to expose themselves to users. If you are worried about safety but still need to connect users on a network for secure file sharing, read further for some solutions.

2. Search Limitations

One of the most important features to complement 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 room made up of question marks.
Search functionality is often a problem.

There’s a lot of potential issues for a company with thousands of users sharing millions of files on a LAN. If a team creating a campaign needs brand logo files, searching the shared drive for them would be exhausting. Without metadata to help users search for specific keywords, they would have to sort through too many files to complete the campaign in a reasonable time frame.

3. Duplicate Document Issues

Misplacing a document file is a common problem in a shared drive. 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 they believe to be the most recent document for a project but it’s a duplicate version that is missing key elements, it’s a disaster.

Numerous yellow taxi cabs from above.
Duplicate documents are a huge issue for companies.

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. Furthermore, it’s at serious risk for misuse. Finally, the time-consuming process of deleting duplicates is tiresome for users.

The Best Alternative to a Shared Drive

A shared drive has some positives, which can be found in other systems that don’t have the same limitations. 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.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.