When you have access to SharePoint® through your Microsoft 365 subscription, you’re able to get rid of your physical servers, often at no extra cost. Instead of storing and accessing files on-premise, you can manage everything through the cloud. It’s an option local businesses are increasingly interested in as they look to increase agility and eliminate the burdens of maintaining physical servers.
Why You Should Consider SharePoint for File Sharing and Storage
The top reason for many businesses is simple: They’re already paying for SharePoint through Microsoft 365. But it’s not the only one. Let’s look at 6 more benefits of migrating.
1. Highly customizable settings
You gain a highly granular degree of control over your data when you move to the cloud. In SharePoint, you can set permissions based on a person’s role. If you have HR-specific folders, give or revoke access to those team members as needed. Or, share only a single file. You set the parameters.
2. Continual access to information significantly limits the financial pain of downtime
Once data isn’t tied to a physical server, people aren’t tethered to office desks. It doesn’t matter if they’re at home, in the office or sitting in a coffee shop, they’ll access data the same way. Continuous availability increases opportunities for productivity and decreases the amount of downtime you experience. Even if there’s an outage at the office, as long as you can get an internet connection somewhere, you’ll retain functionality for shared files and email.
You can work without an internet connection too by making files available offline. When you come back online, your changes will auto sync with the server.
3. Simplify remote work setups
In our experience, businesses using VPNs to provide remote work options during the pandemic encountered more problems than organizations in the cloud. We received a high percentage of tickets related to people not being able to connect through VPN. Because they couldn’t connect, they couldn’t work. This issue doesn’t exist with SharePoint.
4. Control files you share with external users
A client recently asked how they could share a document for one week so vendors could submit bids. In SharePoint, you can share a file, folder or site with an external user. Once the partner no longer needs the file, you cut it off. Additional levels of control include the ability to block downloads, edits and copying.
5. Simultaneously work on documents with coworkers
Multiple people can co-edit documents in SharePoint at the same time, so you don’t have to wait around for others to make changes before you work on a file. Or, if you want to edit separately, turn on notifications so you know automatically when updates are made. Then you can go in, see what’s new and make your changes. You aren’t “stuck” with any edits because you can view and restore previous versions.
6. Impose versioning and automatically create an audit trail
For regulated companies, we strongly advocate using SharePoint because you can impose versioning and track who made changes. Every document can have a pop-up box so when you make changes, it asks what happened. In it, you’ll state you updated a procedure, added Tom to the disaster recovery team or any other necessary notes. Then, when the auditor walks in and wants to see your change log and regularly updated policies, you have everything you need in your SharePoint files.
3 Steps to Successfully Transition to SharePoint
1. Answer this question before planning a migration
Your server stores files and runs applications. Before deciding to migrate, answer this question: What applications live on my server? To get rid of your server, you need a solution for your applications. This could entail switching to a cloud-based version of your software, running the program on a local workstation or engaging a third-party hosting company. An IT expert can help you determine which option is best.
2. Run the most recent version of Microsoft Office
Users running older versions of Microsoft Office will experience difficulties accessing data. The latest version of Office is always the most SharePoint-aware. We frequently recommend that clients who want to move to the cloud have a Microsoft subscription that includes automatic updates for Office so they don’t encounter problems.
3. Prepare everyone for the change
In an on-premise world, when you need to open a Word document, you probably go to your S Drive and open the files. After moving to the cloud, you’ll browse a SharePoint site to get to the file you want. For some, this is minor. Others will need an adjustment period because the process looks and feels different. Plan to provide extra resources, communicate the change and set expectations before migrating your files.
Migrating to SharePoint on Your Own vs Working with an IT Provider
If you don’t have many files, you can migrate to SharePoint on your own by dragging and dropping files from your computer into SharePoint. For businesses with more complex file structures or who want to turn on additional security features like multi-factor authentication, we recommend having a discussion with an expert before making the move. Along with managing your migration, an IT partner can help you:
- Establish permissions and security settings
- Understand SharePoint limitations, like file naming
- Find tools to automate migration
We’re here to help you find the right path forward
Businesses rely on our team to implement the right IT solutions and set a technology strategy that propels their organization forward. No matter where you are in your SharePoint journey, we can help you too. Let’s start the conversation. Contact us today.