Definition

cloud file syncing

Cloud file syncing is an application that keeps files in different locations up to date through the cloud. For cloud file syncing, a user sets up a cloud-based folder, to which the desired files are copied. This folder makes the files accessible via a web interface for multiple users, on whatever device they are using. When a user updates a file, the changes are automatically synchronized with the corresponding folders on other user devices.

Cloud file syncing's popularity has risen due to the number of employees working remotely, telecommuting, or traveling, who need access to certain files. To meet this need, businesses turn to cloud file syncing services. Like typical cloud storage, cloud file syncing services work in either public or private environments. Hybrid environments are also an option.

The use of cloud file syncing leaves some organizations concerned. Because employees can sync up the files on any device, this could result in company data being held on a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Depending on the employee's use, corporate data could end up on multiple personal devices for each user. Problems such as data leaks or breaches could occur, and also arise if the employee leaves the company. To prevent this, many organizations are creating policies to rein in the storage of corporate data on personal devices.

Services provided with cloud file syncing vary by vendor. Some promote the backup capabilities of their services. If the primary copy of a file is lost or corrupted, these services can retrieve the copy that is kept in the cloud-based folder. However, not all cloud file syncing services are suited to backup.

Although it is similar to regular cloud storage, there are some key differences with cloud file syncing. First, cloud file syncing is an application that sits in front of the public or private cloud storage it uses. Cloud storage is not an application, and serves as a storage repository for data.

Vendors for cloud file syncing include Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Druva, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Ubuntu One.

This was last updated in October 2015

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How does your organization utilize cloud file syncing?
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What sort of lag time is there in syncing, and what happens if there's a problem during the syncing process? Any sort of checks and balances?
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