Moving Into The Cloud
This week, the rate of change has quickened significantly at Punch. We’ve had a couple more people join in the last two weeks, several major projects confirm go-ahead (divided relatively across the PR, Search and Social areas, which is ideal) and the recruitment process had shifted up through several gears, not least to accommodate our growth into a second office, in London.
The latter has given me pause for thought in terms of how we share data effectively – not only in terms of cost but also with an eye towards making best use of existing resources and limitations. Clearly there’s the traditional server route – but I wanted to see if there was something more interesting that we could do. And, it turns out, there is.
We looked at a number of virtual file sharing options. Moreover, as this is a subject not well known to me, I’m still learning apace.
Given my obvious interest in communications, I found it notable that I was treated very differently as a potential customer by the various companies that we looked at. I spoke to Box.net in the US and briefly trialled its software, which is an excellent file sharing solution but which lags behind the likes of Dropbox given the lack of automated synchronisation (which, I’m told, is imminent). A client has also recommended Microsoft’s LiveSync which does sync – but whilst set up worked, it didn’t seem to want to share the files onto my macbook, at least on first attempt. In the space of a frantic 36 hour peirod that was devoted to crackng the issue as quickly as possible, I also fiddled with FilesAnywhere, Drop Send, Diino.com and Fasthosts.
The conclusion that I came to is that although Box.net is targeted at exactly our type of company – with numerous glowing testimonials eschewing its various virtues – Dropbox seemed to offer the best solution, despite being aimed at the consumer rather than the commercial user. To me, this is most interesting because it shows that businesses can target SMEs as consumers, without having to be too concerned about making the customer absolutely convinced that the product is robust, infinitely scalable, has been stress tested to the moon and back etc etc. In other words, by focusing on the required functionality (which, it has to be said is a step ahead of Box.net, for example) and appealing to me as an individual, I consider it to be highly appropriate for our commercial needs.
Still, it’s early days and I may yet live to eat my words but either way I love feeling like there’s a way to sidestep the traditional hassles – and cost – associated with going down the accepted route.