ECM vs EFSS Solutions

In this article, we will cover what is EFSS? the benefits of using Enterprise File Sync and Share tools, comparison between an enterprise content management system and EFSS solution and how they could get along.

What is Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS)?

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) is a software services that enable individuals to store, share, and synchronize documents, photos, videos and files using its secure cloud storage capabilities.

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) tools gained popularity and became the favorite secure cloud storage tool for individuals to synchronize and share their documents, photos, and files across multiple devices. Due to its simplicity and ease of use, Enterprise File Sync and Share also became an essential part of the day to day activities in organizations.

When an increasing number of employees started using Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) i.e. Dropbox, Box, Google to organize, share, and collaborate on business documents, this raised a big concern for organizations having their information stored and managed on a public cloud storage outside their IT’s control. This is where organizations started adopting enterprise file sharing tools.

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Deployment Model

There are 3 options for organizations choosing to adopt EFSS solution

Cloud Deployment: When employees use the Enterprise File Sync and Share solution, files are being stored on the provider’s cloud storage. The maintenance, upgrades, hardware & infrastructure are handled by the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS solution) provider.

Hybrid Deployment: The service is handled by the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS solution) provider but the files are stored on the organization file storage infrastructure.

On-Premise Deployment: The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS solution) & services are deployed on the organization hardware, maintenance and support is handled by the organization’s IT department, and files are stored on their servers.

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Benefits

Enterprise File Sync and Share’s easy to use and simple user experience quickly brought users attention and became the favorite tool to backup, store, organize, and share personal and business content.

Below are some Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) characteristics:

  • Content synchronized across all devices (mobile, tablets, pcs). The EFSS solution provider often provides the ability to use their solution on different types of devices.
  • Smoother collaboration enabling not only a read only access to the documents but also real time editing
  • Easily share folders and content (business documents, photos, video, etc.) between different parties
  • Set user permission to folders and files. Enterprise File Sync and Share allows to set specific permissions based on specified user.
  • Built-in file creation, editing and previewing
  • Notification engine on each change on the document
  • Integrate Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS solution) with different business applications using Rest APIs, plugins and mobile apps
  • Offline file viewing capabilities.

What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?

Enterprise content management (ECM) is the combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to allow organizations to capture, manage, preserve, store, and deliver information to the right people at the right time.

Enterprise content management (ECM) is an umbrella term that covers records management, document management, collaboration, workflow management, web content management, digital asset management, imaging, and archiving.

Kindly check out my article “What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)” for in-depth explanation.

ECM System Benefits

An ECM system provide more sophisticated and advanced functionalities that almost all medium to big enterprises are in urgent need of. Some of which are

  • Version control: One of the most important features in enterprise content management (ECM) is version control where users are always working on the latest version of the file, having the ability to see the list of versions, and revert back to previous version when needed
  • Indexing & Classification: document indexing is the process of associating information with tags allowing for easier retrieval. Document classification is the act of labeling documents into categories according to their content such as drawings, financial reports, contracts, agreements, etc.
  • Search & retrieval: Enterprise content management (ECM system) should allow users to easily locate documents based on metadata or FTS. Additionally the ECM system should provide advanced search mechanism.
  • Records Management: Helps control the creation, declaration, classification, retention, and destruction of content and business records, resulting in improved compliance, minimized litigation risk, and lower storage costs
  • Advanced Collaboration: A good Enterprise content management system (ECM system) will give the ability to employees to easily collaborate on business documents in real time in addition to provide annotations, stamps, redlines, digital signatures, and content redaction.
  • Advanced Security: An enterprise content management system provides role based security to specify who can see what.
  • Document audit trail where each action on the document is logged.
  • Complete content lifecycle management. An ECM system support the full lifecycle of content from creation to disposition.
  • Business Process Management: Most enterprise content management systems give users the ability to start automating vital processes with an ultimate goal of improving accountability, productivity, and efficiency.
  • Business intelligence: Though not all enterprise content management (ECM) systems provide integration with major BI tools, if available it will allow to make use of the important data and faster decision making.

Check out this article for more information about Enterprise content management ECM benefits

ECM System Integration with EFSS solution

When secure cloud storage services emerged in the organizations, it started to challenge conventional enterprise content management (ECM) systems. While Enterprise File Sync and Share solution (EFSS solution) provides simple and intuitive user experience, smooth collaboration, and remote accessibility, an enterprise content management system (ECM system) is more focused on control, compliance, security, and automation.

Because employees started to use EFSS solutions in the organization to manage business information, it has become essential for ECM system providers to have full integration with at least one EFSS solution. Most of the well known enterprise content management systems already provide the two below integration model

  • One way integration: Users have the ability to send documents to their preferred EFSS solution directly from the enterprise content management system (ECM system). In addition users can select whether or not to automatically update the document in their EFSS solution repository if it has been changed in the enterprise content management system repository.
  • Two ways integration: When adding a document into the EFSS solution, automatically the document will be imported into the ECM system.

Conclusion

Enterprise file sharing and Sync (EFSS solution) gave us the ability to access content using any device wherever we are in need to and share this content with anyone in a very simple way but that created other problems for organizations.

The most important factors to consider before choosing between an EFSS solution & an ECM system

  • Security: In an organization, controlling the content access is extremely important in order to minimize the risk of data breach and information falling in the wrong hands. Enterprise content management (ECM) systems are well equipped with a robust and complete security model to control who can see what or who can do operations on the document level in addition to a complete audit trail.
  • Governance: Compliance requirements for certain types of documents is mandatory and failing to adhere to different regulatory regulations can cost your organization fines and in some cases legal actions. A good ECM system will help your organization reduce the risk of non-compliance to different regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, GDPR by automating records retention.

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