Successfully reported this slideshow.

eCollaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME


Published on

The current state of file-transfer leads to problems in SME. Overview of existing file-sharing platforms for SME. evaluation of a file-transfer system for sme

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

eCollaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME

  1. 1. eCollaboration Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Topics in Business Information Technology Written by: Stefan Martens, Class WIVZ 3.51 University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland Supervisor: Prof. Martina Dalla Vecchia Location: Olten, 3 January 2014
  2. 2. Declaration of Authenticity I the undersigned declare that all material presented in this paper is my own work or fully and specifically acknowledged wherever adapted from other sources. I understand that if at any time it is shown that I have significantly misrepresented material presented here, any degree or credits awarded to me on the basis of that material may be revoked. I declare that all statements and information contained herein are true, correct and accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. Name
  3. 3. Preface This work was written as part of the Topics in Business Information Systems (TOBIT) module at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. The creation of the work extended over a period of three months from October to December 2013. During this time, frequent questions emerged about content and formal aspects. I would like to thank Ms Prof. Martina Dalla Vecchia for her conscientious care during the whole working period. Her comments concerning the structure and methodology of the work have facilitated my progress a lot. In addition, I would like to thank her also for bringing me into contact with Mr. Frank Fischer. I hereby expressly thank Mr. Frank Fischer for access to his Expert Thesis “Secure file-based dataexchange over the Internet for SME”. His work was a great help to narrow down my subject area with the right accruals. In addition, his work has given a valuable hint to organize my third chapter. Last but not least I would like to thank Ms Prof. Dr. Anke Dreiling for her informative Kick-offMeeting and her help during the selection of the TOBIT topics.
  4. 4. Abstract Accelerating market globalization, information-explosion and major advances in technology are changes which are influencing small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in their daily business. For SME, it is a serious corporate challenge to handle these changes in a proper way and not to struggle with it. To enlarge the efficiency and effectiveness of the added value within a company, or at least maintaining it, it is necessary to enlarge and empower the employees by using ECollaboration. The linchpin of E-Collaboration is the file-transfer of content in different application formats between parties spread across a wide geographic area 24/7. Because some IT strategy plans have been overtaken by technological progress, employees satisfy their need of file-transfer with their own solutions. SME suffer hereby major risks in the areas of data security and reliability. SME differ significantly in their number of employees and geographical expansion and therefore they must be considered separately. Besides data security, the needs of medium-sized companies especially lie in the field of data integration, file-transfer automation, compliance and complete audit trail of file activity. The needs of small-sized enterprises are more located in usability, end-toend encryption and secure document management. On the one hand, it is clear that larger enterprises need a Managed File-Transfer System (MFTS) from vendors that offer broad capabilities and have a strong market presence and reputation due to the high data volume and the spread of parties across a wide geographic area. On the other hand, small enterprises need a less sophisticated solution to satisfy their requirements.
  6. 6. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME List of Figures Figure 1.1: Methodology ..................................................................................................................2 Figure 3.1: FSS-Tools in use at Organisations (Osterman Research 2012a) ...................................6 Figure 3.2: Would your IT-Management use services like Dropbox? (Osterman Research, 2012a).7 Figure 3.3: Priorities for Security (Intralinks independent research, 2013) .......................................8 Figure 4.1: Yammer main page ( Figure 4.2: Team Drive Version 3.1.2 ............................................................................................ 12 Figure 4.3: MFT Vendor Landscape (Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. 2013) .................................14 Figure 5.1: Preference matrix ........................................................................................................16 Figure 5.2: Utility matrix .................................................................................................................17 Stefan Martens II
  7. 7. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME List of Abbreviations AES 256 Advanced Encryption Standard BYOD Bring Your Own Device CMS Content Management System ESN Enterprise Social-Network FSP File-Sharing Platform FTP File-Transfer Platform FTS File-Transfer Solution FSS File-Sharing and Synchronization MFTS Managed File-Transfer System SME Small and Medium sized Enterprise TCO Total Cost of Ownership Stefan Martens III
  8. 8. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 1 Introduction 1.1 Motivation Fast and secure data exchange in the Information-Age is also for SME an important topic. The employees of companies have a need for quick and easy data exchange during collaborative work. Usually, they do not worry about data security and user rights. Their focus is on ease of use. So the employees find their own solutions for effective and efficient data transmission. Companies suffer hereby major problems in the areas of data security, logging and user rights. The author’s motivation in the present work is to support SME needs in the field of data exchange to fulfil corporate governance and compliance rules. 1.2 Goals of the paper This paper focuses on the meaning of file-sharing with regard to E-Collaboration in SME. It outlines the currently state-of-the-art file-sharing in SME and the problems associated with it. This leads to an overview of existing File-Sharing-Platforms (FSP) and similar solutions in the market. Finally, elaborated requirements will lead within an evaluation process to a guideline which SME can use for consideration. The paper’s goal is to show out following important points which are highly serious for SME:  Risks of current state file-transfer for SME  Alternatives for collaborative data-sharing in SME  Different needs in relation to the size of SME  Approach to encounter this issue 1.3 Methodology The author uses a deductive approach, starting from the task “E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File-Sharing Platform for SME” (cf. Figure 1.1). He integrates the subject of file-sharing into the environment of E-Collaboration. Therefore it is important to give an insight into the topic of ECollaboration and the role of file-transfer in this context. He will look into empirical surveys of various companies such as Osterman Research Inc., Hurwitz & Associates and many more. IT decision-makers and -managers are interviewed about their requirements and approaches in collaborative working and file-sharing in these studies. On the basis of this broad current data the author will pick up relevant results and add them into his work. Based on this data the author will Stefan Martens 1
  9. 9. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME justify his conclusions and make recommendations. Surely, there are other empirical investigation methods like a depth interview instead sighting existing data surveys. But the author believes that with such a large quantitative and qualitative data base no interview would bring significantly new insights. In addition, most of the surveys took place in the years 2012 and 2013. The insights from the empirical analysis allow the identification of necessary requirements for FSP under taking account of objectivity, reliability and validity. The defined requirements will be used for an evaluation process to find a suitable solution to apply in SME. Finally, the gained knowledge forms a kind of guideline for dealing with data exchange in companies by employees with each other and with externals. Figure 1.1: Methodology 1.4 Boundaries This paper focuses on FSP and their use for SME in daily use. This means it is concerned with data exchange in the practical day-to-day use and defines requirements that should be considered when selecting a system. It does not deal with architecture models and their structure. There is also no need to explain decryption- and encryption methods. In addition, the system security, -storage and -backup are no topics in detail here. Further the intranet as transmission medium will not be discussed because it is no proper and suitable way for data exchange. Stefan Martens 2
  10. 10. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 2 E-Collaboration 2.1 What is E-Collaboration? Electronic Collaboration (E-Collaboration) enables employees to satisfy their informational needs and collaborative action needs throughout distributed project work within a company. This is achieved through the identification and reunification of the individual knowledge holders at any time and across geographic boundaries through Information and communication technology. Stoller-Schai (2003, p. 47, 48) speaks in this context about direct and mutually influential confrontation to resolve a goal of two or more persons. He furthermore points out that this process is placed in a jointly specific designed space which is computer-mediated. 2.2 The importance of E-Collaboration The importance of E-Collaboration for SME must not be underestimated, because it acts as an amplifier in some areas of the company. Firstly, it relates to the potential of the employees in a company. This means that the employees will be enabled to increase their results in terms of creativity, sustainability and reversion. Secondly, it is a fact that the Internet and the digital economy are collaborative. Thirdly, globally distance and internet based products and –services lead to adjustments which shall be made to realize the potential of E-Collaboration. (cf. StollerSchai, 2003, p. 3 ff.) This means that E-Collaboration is an important instrument on SME to generate added value through optimizing processes within and outside the company. In this context it is necessary for companies to make individual knowledge externally accessible. This is promoted through ECollaboration as knowledge networks are formed regardless of time and geographic boundaries. Not only the company will benefit from it also the employee will get access to hidden knowledge, save time and effort and build reputation and contacts. This is called a win-win-Situation. 2.3 Driver of E-Collaboration There are plenty of market drivers which have an influence of SME and their strategic decisions. Besides technology and IT trends like mobility, cloud and big data Riemer (2009, p. 8) pointed out three major drivers which pushes enterprises to improve themselves continuously. Firstly, the globalization and opening of markets leads to multinational companies which have distributed work contexts. Furthermore, strategic alliances are increasingly important to face rapid Stefan Martens 3
  11. 11. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME changes in economy. Secondly, the constantly increasing knowledge concentration for products and their associated processes leads to outsourcing of non-core processes because resources need to be pooled. Thirdly, the complexity of product development and -care increases the costs at ever shorter innovation cycles. “The mentioned trends lead to the formation of hybrid organization forms at which the cooperation is in the centre between enterprises” (Riemer 2009, p. 8). Certainly, we cannot equate globally operating companies one to one with SME. But we can adapt the insights from the globally enterprises macrocosms to the SME microcosms. Stefan Martens 4
  12. 12. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 3 The current state of File-Transfer in SME Business processes requires plenty of data and information not only within a company in addition to it with supply chain partners and customers. There is a need for employees to transfer content in a timely manner, managed in a consistent, compliant and efficient way. Employees find their own way to share content if there is no solution supported by the business itself. 3.1 Email Email is the commonly used medium in SME for sharing content with staff or externs because it has proven itself for many years and it is accessible from PCs, smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, email was not invented for File-Sharing and –Synchronization (FSS). There are several shortcomings. Firstly, the commonly used standard email is not encrypted and therefore not private. Secondly, email is a store forward technology so residuals of the message are left behind at some servers between the sender and receiver. Thirdly, the maximum size for attached files is limited due to mail server performance reasons (cf. Ipswitch File Transfer 2013, p.3). Overall it is obvious that the email technology does not match the file transfer needs of the SME employees. So it is not surprising that the user has changed focus on FSS tools. 3.2 File-Sharing and Synchronization Cloud-based FSS providers like Dropbox Inc. are mostly consumer-focused and therefore the service is designed for ease of use. The good usability, the simplicity and spread on various platforms lead to a high user acceptance. Further, it provides Version-Control and eliminates the size limitations of email. The users are able to install a client version on each device they use and the synchronization will be accomplished in the cloud (cf. Osterman Research 2012a, p. 1). Figure 3.1 shows how much FSS-Tools will be used with and without IT’s blessing. Stefan Martens 5
  13. 13. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Figure 3.1: FSS-Tools in use at Organisations (Osterman Research 2012a) 3.3 Problems with the current state of File-Transfer in SME The individual employee is not aware that a company has other demands on IT-Solutions than the private user. Osterman Research (2012, p. 4 ff.) pointed out that companies suffer problems in four major fields: Compliance and governance When using FSS-Tools, corporate data is stored on external servers normally with a lack of encryption. Sensitive data can be intercepting on the third party server. The company has no control of the security. Content control by IT Lifecycle control, logging and access control are not the only three important points in this subject which are not guaranteed by FSS-Tools. It is important that sensitive corporate data can be tracked within and outside the company and only the right people have the permission to use data for their purposes and needs in context of the job. Stefan Martens 6
  14. 14. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Malware scanning Dropbox, for example, does not scan content for malware. It could be a possible scenario that from an infected home computer, uploaded content to the cloud, will be downloaded by a company computer with non-authorized FSS-Software and bypasses corporate malwarescanning systems. Mixed data Because FSS-Tools are used for private and corporate purposes, it is possible that data are mixed. This would complicate the compliance of company rules and laws. An additional important topic in this context is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy of companies. Osterman Research points out: “[…]important to note that our research found 45% of users in the organizations surveyed currently use mobile apps to access cloud based FSS-Tools, but only 18% of organizations currently support these mobile apps”(Osterman Research 2012, p. 6). This means that, by 27% of the users the company has no overview and access of the corporate data which are managed by mobile apps. The following figure shows that over 70% of the IT-Managers in companies would not like to use FSS-Tools like Dropbox or at least a minimal use, but with IT oversight. Figure 3.2: Would your IT-Management use services like Dropbox? (Osterman Research, 2012a) Stefan Martens 7
  15. 15. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME The bottom line is that the use of consumer-focused FSS-Tools within and outside a company is not an appropriate way to deal with corporate data and file-transfer. Rather, SME are exposed to higher risks and financial expenses. In addition to this, a recent survey in 2013 from Hurwitz & Associates with more than 800 business executives’ respondents underpinned the Osterman Research paper. As shown in Figure 3.3, there is a priority on lifetime control of content. This means that, over 60% of respondents would like to have the opportunity to permission pullback or the ability to un-share content. There are two reasons for this attitude of business executives to maintain control over shared content. On one hand, they want to avoid being a victim of an international theft of sensitive information. On the other hand, the survey shows a worrying point. “[…] over 80% of respondents say they’ve receive an email not intended for them, and 53% actually confess to making the same mistake themselves, with an astonishing 43% saying they make these kinds of mistakes on a monthly basis”(HURWITZ & ASSOCIATES 2013, p. 5). People make mistakes. This is a fact. But when it happens, there must be an option to handle security breaches by having the oversight on any time. Figure 3.3: Priorities for Security (Intralinks independent research, 2013) Stefan Martens 8
  16. 16. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 4 Existing File-Sharing Platforms As mentioned above, consumer-focused FTP-Tools are not an adequate solution for SME and their employee to handle corporate data in a proper way. To find out what could be a suitable application it is legitimate and advisable to give an overview of existing solutions in the market. Because there are several approaches with a large number of applications we have to categorize the approaches and find for each of them a good representative. Afterwards we can rank the different approaches. The author pointed out three relevant categories of approaches: Socialized Network for Enterprises File-Transfer Platforms Managed File-Transfer Systems 4.1 Socialized Network for Enterprises In this chapter we will have a look into the proven collaboration tool yammer. The focus here is on collaboration and not file-sharing. Nevertheless, these applications offer file-sharing in one way or another and the functions will be extended forth in this field. So it is worth to take a serious look on them. Yammer Yammer ( is a social network that enables employees and teams to connect and collaborate in a real time environment. The user has to add in his expertise, location and contact information for the rest of the organization to see. You can build groups on your own or can join one. From the myfeed you can post a message for help directly in the publisher to all or only to specific groups. The central focus of yammer is thus to establish an Enterprise Social-Network (ESN) for collaborating as you can see in the following Figure 4.1 on the next page. Stefan Martens 9
  17. 17. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Figure 4.1: Yammer main page ( Besides the possibility of interacting with other employee there are functions to transfer data between individuals and groups. With the key feature yammer-files you can share spreadsheets, videos, documents and images. People who are related to the group in which the data is posted can open and download it. Yammer is an excellent platform for enterprises to establish an ESN for larger companies because its strengths lie in networking many employees over geographically boundaries. This leads to the weakening of file-transfer. There are no functions to manage file-transfer with regard to lifecycle of content, IT control and access control. At the end, the users themselves are responsible for the proper handling of the data, which is a big problem without IT control. Further, externals without yammer access cannot get the data this way. So, the enterprise has to establish a second channel to deal with externals which is not productive. In addition, yammer was acquired by Microsoft in 2012 and it is foreseeable that Microsoft will integrate it in their SharePoint and Office 365 applications. Maybe in the future, customers like SME have to buy the whole package even if they do not want. Stefan Martens 10
  18. 18. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Also we are talking in particular about yammer we can transfer the insights to similar applications which satisfy the same needs like Socialcast, Google Plus and many others. By the way, these applications are continuously improved and maybe in the future they will match the requirements of secure data transfer, but not yet. Therefore it is not reasonable for SME to buy ESN-Software to satisfy their file-transfer needs. 4.2 File Transfer-Platforms Besides Dropbox which is consumer-focused as we pointed out before there are other FTP’s that are more tailored to the needs of companies like TeamDrive and Wuala. We will discuss here in detail TeamDrive due to its good reputation and the earlier touch points of the author with it. Team Drive A good representative of FTP’s for SME is TeamDrive ( from the TeamDrive Systems GmbH in Germany. TeamDrive is almost as easy as Dropbox in use but it provides much more security for companies. Firstly, TeamDrive offers an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256 ) end to end encryption on client and server side. The decryption key lies only on client side. Secondly, it provides key features like automatic backup and versioning of files. Thirdly, it gives the ability to operate the TeamDrive registration and hosting servers in the company’s own data centre. By the way, all own TeamDrive hosting servers are located in the European Union. So, there is a choice where the data can be stored. In addition, the TeamDrive solution was awarded with the Data Protection Seal of the "Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein (ULD)". Data are stored in the TeamDrive Space (managed folder) on which a set of users can gain access. An additional feature is the event log and colour display of files that are being edited. The exchange takes place on a space depot (hosted space folder) which can be on a TeamDrive hosting server or a company’s server. It is obvious that TeamDrive fits the company needs in terms of safety more than any consumerfocused FFP ever could. Furthermore, Team Drive was named in May 2013 by Gartner “Cool Vendor in Privacy”. On the other hand, the user management and access rights for TeamDrive spaces require a higher effort in maintenance. Stefan Martens 11
  19. 19. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Figure 4.2: Team Drive Version 3.1.2 Stefan Martens 12
  20. 20. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 4.3 Managed File-Transfer Systems Information explosion, Big Data and Cloud-Computing forces SME to deal with their corporate information management. And there is a need to perform the leap from file-transfer to the next level of managed file-transfer (MFT). MFT includes a technology which can handle issues about monitoring, controlling and securing of data movement between two entities. Attachmate Corporation (2009, p. 6) worked out fundamental topics which MFT-Solutions have to match: Single point of control This means, the absolute control of data movement inside and outside the company is handled by a centralized interface that serves as the single point of control. Total security Each user, server, database and MFT-Network needs its own authentication and authorization. Authorization schematics can be granted and lead to access of restricted granular level. Total auditability Total auditability calls for logging of every transfer-related event. This means, every file-transfer activity 24/7 between parties spread across a wide geographic area is logged by detailed audit reports. Guaranteed delivery It means that data will be delivered on time and it is confirmed that the data has arrived absolutely positively. This is especially important in B2B relationships upon service-level agreements. End-to-end automation “End-to-end processing is a key requirement as it permits an organization to automate and streamline many of the fundamental business processes built around file transfer.” (Attachmate Corporation 2009, p. 5) This means that data integration allows seamless integration with enterprise applications and support of business-process automation. The bottom line is that SME need expert know-how to handle these topics in the right way. On the next page, figure 4.3 shows a comparison of MFT market competitors. The solutions of IBM and Ipswitch will be discussed in the evaluation chapter 5.1. Stefan Martens 13
  21. 21. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Figure 4.3: MFT Vendor Landscape (Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. 2013) Stefan Martens 14
  22. 22. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 5 Evaluation of a File-Transfer System for SME We have clarified in previous chapters why E-collaboration is important and that many data are generated which also must be shared. We have also seen that employees find their own approaches if they are not supported by their IT infrastructure of the company. We figured out that this leads to security gaps and breaches. We categorized different approaches of file-sharing and found in each category one good representative of this approach. We have seen that different approaches satisfy different needs. We worked out the importance for SME to make the leap on the level. But now, we have to define the requirements to transfer files in a secure and reliable manner to find the best solution for SME. 5.1 Requirements Now, we will define compelling requirements for a SME-Grade FTS from the obtained findings from the previous chapters. As we pointed out so far, consumer focused FSP’s like Team Drive and MFT solutions match the needs of SME most. Therefore, we compare each of two representatives of the genus. These representatives are:  Dropbox: Already widely used in business (often only tolerated) and therefore worth a closer look.  Team Drive: Multiple award-winning solution and located in Europe.  IBM: A leading global provider of IT products and services, which has been providing MFT solutions since 1984.  Ipswitch: An authority in network monitoring, messaging, and file transfer with over two decades of experience. In chapter 3, we figured out that the ease-of-use of a FTS is critical for the acceptance of the employees. Further, we discussed the importance of end-to-end encryption on client and server side to secure corporate secrets. In addition, we talked several times about the importance of logging and auditing. As we have already worked out, BYOD makes it necessary that the FTS is running on multiple platforms. Next important point is that only a single point of control (centralized control) will enable SME to ensure lifecycle control of content. For end-to-end automation of processes within and outside of enterprises it is necessary to take care about data integration in existing Content Management Systems (CMS) and also include email offloading. Last but not least it is necessary to grant secure access for external users. All defined requirements are summarized in the preference matrix below and in the “order” column is the value seen of the ranking sequence for the weighing in the preference matrix on the next page: Stefan Martens 15
  23. 23. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 5.2 Preference matrix In the preference matrix, we compare each criterion with all other criteria. These were developed by the author, based on the findings in this work and classified in a ranking. We weighted each criterion by a key, which is composed of the direct comparisons to each other results. This weighting flows under item 5.3 in the utility matrix. Preference matrix File-Transfer Solution for SME weightingorder quantity Criteria 4,762 6 1 a Ease-of-use 28,57 1 6 b End-to-end encryption b c b 23,81 2 5 c Logging and auditing d b c 9,524 5 2 d Multiple platforms c e 19,05 3 4 e Centralized control 4 3 f f Integration f b c e 14,29 e b a b c d e f 0 T otal 7 100 0 g Secure access for external users 21 Figure 5.1: Preference matrix The criterion “Secure access for external users” has no number of nominations and is not included for this reason in the utility matrix. The cost aspects have not been combined into a single criterion, because they need to be considered individually for a solution in detail. 5.3 Utility-matrix The utility matrix on the next page shows the ranking of the selected FTS. The overall evaluation score of a FTS results from the sum of all the multiplications of the number of points and the respective weighting per criterion. If the criterion is fully met, it is by paragraph 6, if not at all, with 0. Stefan Martens 16
  24. 24. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME Criterion weighting Dropbox Ipswitch IBM TeamDrive Erfüllt Erfüllt Erfüllt Erfüllt Ease-of-use 4,76 6 28,57 4 19,05 3 14,29 5 23,81 End-to-end encryption 28,57 3 85,71 6 171,43 6 171,43 6 171,43 Logging and auditing 23,81 2 47,62 5 119,05 6 142,86 4 95,24 Multiple platforms 9,52 6 57,14 6 57,14 4 38,10 6 57,14 Centralized control 19,05 2 38,10 6 114,29 6 114,29 3 57,14 Integration 14,29 1 14,29 6 85,71 4 57,14 2 28,57 Total 100 20 271,43 33 566,67 29 538,10 4 433,33 Figure 5.2: Utility matrix 5.4 Recommendation True MFT like the Ipswitch solution (566,67 points) and IBM solution (538,10 points) are designed for mid- and large-sized enterprises which are operating in several countries, so it is obvious that these solutions have their only weaknesses in the usability due to the cardinality of their features. But this is precisely its strength in workflow-, integration-, information- and collaborationmanagement and therefore it is a recommendation for SME with over 100 employees (users). The “Total Cost of Ownership” (TCO) for a mid-sized enterprise for a three year ownership and two hundred users falls into a pricing between $100,000 and $150,000 (Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. 2013, p. 26, 30). Vendors like IBM and Ipswitch offer broad capabilities across multiple platforms and have a strong market presence in mid-and large-sized enterprises. For small sized enterprises operating in a small geographical area without a high grade of automation and compliance needs MFT solutions are not the right choice. A FTP platform like Team Drive satisfies their needs more. The usability and end-to-end encryption are excellent. Also logging features are available, although not as pronounced as in MFT solutions. With the extension Team Drive SecureOffice, all data and documents even when shared by more than one person at any given time are safe because they never leave the created environment in the application. These two products in combination could therefore be the right choice for small sized enterprises. The consumer-focused FTP Dropbox (271,43 points) does not meet satisfactorily the criteria. Stefan Martens 17
  25. 25. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 6 Conclusion It is undisputed that the technological changes significantly affect the value creation and business processes of SME. Due to this change, it is increasingly important to provide the right information at the right time to the right people for disposal. It is also important for employees and supply chain partners to work productively with this information across company boundaries to generate added value. E-Collaboration allows the company to create a flexible work environment which can enlarge the productivity of business processes. This requires an IT strategic plan in which E-collaboration is an inherent part. Is this not the case, employees satisfy their E-Collaboration needs with their own solutions and SME suffer hereby major risks in the areas of data security and reliability. The individual employee is not aware that a company has different demands on IT-Solutions than the private user. IT decision makers in SME want to avoid being a victim of an international theft of sensitive corporation information. It is highly important for them to have the control over corporate data 24/7. So a product has to meet following requirements, at the very least: the single point of control of data movement inside and outside the company which includes logging of every transfer-related event. In addition, authorization schematics to grant and lead access of restricted granular levels for users and data integration to automate and streamline many of the fundamental business processes built around file transfer. Last but not least, end-to-end encryption is the most important requirement. Besides encryption, these requirements are not applicable for smaller businesses due to their different business needs. For mid-sized enterprises it is highly recommended to buy in expert know-how. The evaluation of a MFT solution in this work is only an example. The vendor landscape of MFT solutions is huge and growing. So it is important for IT decision makers to get deeper in detail also due to the cost of implementing and running for a specific system. For small sized enterprises it is worth to take a serious look into the Team Drive solution. In combination with the extension Team Drive SecureOffice (document management) it is a suitable way to satisfy their needs by low cost expense and good usability. It is a multiple award-winning solution and for security reasons their servers are hosted in Germany. Stefan Martens 18
  26. 26. E-Collaboration: Evaluation of a File Sharing Platform for SME 7 Bibliography Attachmate Corporation. (2009): The Universe of Managed File Transfer. URL: [Stand: 25. October 2013] HURWITZ & ASSOCIATES. (2013): Enterprise Collaboration: Avoiding the Productivity and Control Trade-off. URL: hurwitz _intralinks.pdf [Stand: 24. October 2013] Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. (2013): Vendor Landscape: Managed File Transfer. URL: [Stand: 26. Decmber 2013] Ipswitch File Transfer. (2013): Secure and Managed File Transfer in the Era of Regulatory Compliance. URL: 20Era% 20Of% 20Compliance.pdf [Stand: 25. October 2013] Osterman Research, Inc. (August 2012a): The need for Enterprise-Grade File Sharing and Synchronization. URL: [Stand: 23. October 2013] Osterman Research, Inc. (2012b): Making File Transfer Easier, Compliant and More Secure. URL: -FileCatalyst.pdf [Stand: 06. November 2013] Riemer, K. (Juni 2009): eCollaboration. URL: [Stand: 12. October 2013] Stoller-Schai, D. (2003): E-Collaboration: Die gestaltung internetgestützter kollaborativer Handlungsfelder. URL: 2767/ $FILE/dis2767.pdf [Stand: 12. October 2013] Yammer. (2013): Yammer main page. URL: [Stand: 26. October 2013] Stefan Martens