Welcome to SaaS thoughts

Whether you call it Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Service Provider (MSP) or On-Demand Services, your organization uses the service running “in the cloud”. This blog will discuss these services, their benefits, drawbacks and operations. Are we biased? Yes. We believe that some services make sense for most organizations. Email security is one of those. However as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, even this one.” Each Tuesday we will post information and questions about Software as a Service. Occasionally, we will have a "Guest Post" from either a consultant or vendor posting her/his thoughts on Managed Services generally as well as some degree of specificity based on her/his unique perspective. We encourage your insights, comments and feedback. Welcome.

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Sharing Documents Among Detatched Workers


The virtual office brings both benefits and detriments. It’s good to reduce office space and commute times by allowing workers to work from home. However, sharing documents among these workers can cause complications among versions as well as legal and security concerns.

How do you easily and securely share documents outside the firewall with clients, partners, suppliers without email bouncing back or dealing with FTP download complications? Which version is the latest or THE final version?

  • You can create a VPN connection allowing off-premises users to access files inside the network.
  • You can setup one of various vendor’s file sharing software on a server in the data center.
  • You can have people email documents among themselves.

While these options work, they come with several concerns.

  • Security – how do you authenticate users and allow only permitted users to access the documents?
  • Access – how do you get the documents to the people who need them?
  • Versions – who has which version? How do you update and track versions?

The only way to accomplish document sharing is to hold them in some central repository with controlled access with “check out and check in” capability with versioning.

Traditional Internal Application

Of course, you can set up an FTP system and manage the ACLs manually. You could also set up something like Microsoft’s Sharepoint©, Office Live© or Novell’s Virtual Office©. Both are good products but have similar problems:

  • Complex configuration of the application
  • Licensing requirements for the products and additional external document contributors
  • High up front and maintenance costs compared to SaaS applications
  • Internal storage for proliferation of documents
  • Increased redundancy needs to keep the service available
  • Increased bandwidth requirement as document sharing and updating occur
  • Version tracking

SaaS Application

With all the move to SaaS applications, it is no surprise that vendors have moved to offer document sharing solutions in the “cloud”. As with all SaaS applications, initial configuration is simple and can be done in minutes with no up-front costs beyond subscribing to the service. While the most well known is probably Google Apps other vendors are in this space as well. Chief among them is Box.net.

Easier Client Management

While traditional FTP solutions are one of the most popular ways to share information, they often prove to be cumbersome. Box.net helps creative agencies, consultants, law firms and other client-focused businesses give clients more insight into their processes and expertise, as well as improve their professional image.

  • Easily share huge files with a single account manager or a whole department
  • Know when your client has reviewed materials with automatic updates through email
  • Share and manage project folders with clients to let them see on-going progress

Improved Marketing Asset Management

Box.net can help simplify your sales collateral distribution, stop duplication of efforts across global teams and help employees build on and learn from the best work.

  • Create libraries of sales materials that are accessible anywhere – even the iPhone
  • Centralize marketing resources to reduce duplication and increase visibility
  • Help geographically dispersed marketing teams discover best-of-breed campaigns
  • Easily share large designs with agencies, vendors and potential customers
  • Control viewing, editing and download privileges for any file or folder, including the duration of access

Increased Team Collaboration

When it comes to collaborating on projects, Box.net provides simple and practical tools that can help your employees move away from collaborating back and forth primarily by email and into an online workspace.

  • Keep all content in one online workspace including key discussions and approvals
  • View only the latest version, files are locked during editing or collaborate real-time with Zoho
  • Team members get automatically update when anyone edits, reviews or uploads new files

SaaSexperts.net is now a Box.net certified partner. For more information, call us at 866-603-0301 to set up a demo or a free 14-day trial.

Here is a sample of a Box.net Shared Folder


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