Microsoft SharePoint – Your New File Server?

If your business is ready to replace its on-premises file server, it is the perfect time to consider whether a cloud-based file server might be a better option. Many businesses are switching to cloud file servers using Microsoft SharePoint and many managed IT providers now recommend a cloud-first approach to file storage given the workflow improvements and security benefits.

What is Microsoft SharePoint?

SharePoint is Microsoft’s cloud-based file storage system. It allows organisations to have a shared file storage system which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

As well as a place to store all of your files, SharePoint also allows you to create sites and company intranets to keep your users up to date on what's going on, automate some of your more mundane workflows, and create customised apps to help your teams stay productive.

Why Is Microsoft SharePoint Better Than On-Premises File Servers?

One of the biggest differences between Microsoft SharePoint and an On-Premises file server, and the difference which actually makes SharePoint easier to use for most organisations - -instead of top-down directories, there are Team Sites.

While this interface will be unfamiliar to customers who are shifting away from on-premises servers, once they get used to them, they will find that the layout of these sites ultimately benefits teams who want to focus on collaboration.

SharePoint's interface is built to allow users access collaborative files as easily as possible by centralising files essential for teamwork. On-premises servers are plagued with complex and difficult-to-navigate folder structures, as well as ineffective sharing procedures, which can completely derail a team's productivity.

Collaboration and storage don't have to be hard when you have an easy-to-use interface, especially since SharePoint's structure is significantly easier to manage than what most firms have to deal with when using their existing on-premises servers.

How To Transition From On-Premises To SharePoint?

Migration to SharePoint Online, like any other online collaboration platform, necessitates some user adjustment. But the learning curve is not very steep.  SharePoint's user-friendly design, sophisticated admin centre, and mobile accessibility make it easy for users to get started.

The first, and most important step for migrating your files from an on-premises server to SharePoint is to determine the structure of your new SharePoint architecture. Which structure suits you best will depend on the structure of your organization itself, how many teams you have, what degree of collaboration is required, and the amount of data you are storing in the cloud.

If this sounds daunting, don’t worry, Microsoft has developed their own SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT) which can help with the actual process of migrating the files safely and securely and there are many managed IT services providers who can help to audit your existing on-premises file storage systems and help you replicate them in a cloud environment.

How Does SharePoint Benefit Businesses That Use It?

The lower costs are a big advantage of Microsoft SharePoint. In fact, if your organisation is already using Microsoft Office 365 then you already have access to SharePoint at no extra cost.

You can access your files from anywhere with an internet connection since SharePoint saves them in the cloud and not on a single physical server. You may also synchronise your SharePoint files with your computer's File Explorer, making document access easier than ever for your employees.

Microsoft’s SharePoint servers are replicated and backed up in multiple data centres across the world. This means that a fault at one is easily compensated for by the redundancy at another. This make SharePoint far less prone to failure than an on-premises server which is a single point of failure. A fire or power cut can easily take out and on-premises server, and even if it is backed up it can take hours or even days to restore that backup to a usable state.

You can provide external access to a single file or even a folder without compromising the security of your entire file storage system. This is useful for providing external collaborators access to only the files they actually need.

Multiple file libraries are possible in SharePoint. This means you can easily form specified groups and add and remove individual users. You can use this feature to ensure that the right teams have access to the files the need to their work without giving them access to your SharePoint.

How To Make The Switch To SharePoint?

If you’re convinced and are ready to make the switch to a cloud-based file storage solution, the best advice is to contact a IT services provider who is experienced with managing cloud solutions. The process of transferring your files from on-premises to SharePoint is simple but it’s one that you want to make sure is done correctly and using a professional IT service is the best way to do so.


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  1. author
    27 Aug 2019
    Tomas Mandy

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    1. author
      27 Aug 2019
      Britney Millner

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    27 Aug 2019
    Simon Downey

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