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How SugarSync Makes Remote Team Collaboration More Efficient

Published By: HostingAdvice.com
Credit: Ghostwriter
Type: Feature
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How SugarSync Makes Remote Team Collaboration More Efficient — Featuring Real-Time Updates of Shared Files Across All of Your Devices


Cloud back­up and sync is a fun­da­men­tal need of multi-device pro­fes­sion­als and teams. Files need to be ac­ces­si­ble any­where, any time, and from any de­vice. Teams need a ser­vice like SugarSync to eas­i­ly share and col­lab­o­rate on doc­u­ments with in­stant syn­chro­niza­tion of changes to all mem­bers, while team leads need ac­cu­rate over­sight and gran­u­lar con­trol over per­mis­sions and what files syn­chro­nize to what de­vices. Busy teams with re­mote work­ers, con­trac­tors, and temps need the abil­i­ty to in­stant­ly au­tho­rize and deau­tho­rize users on the com­pa­ny ac­count, and to in­stant­ly re­claim and re­move com­pa­ny dig­i­tal as­sets from for­mer team mem­bers. With an ar­ray of business-class ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als and teams, SugarSync sat­is­fies all of these needs while al­so en­sur­ing da­ta se­cu­ri­ty with anti-hacking tech­nol­o­gy and bank-level encryption.

The web interface to SugarSync enables managing, sharing, and setting share permissions on files and folders.

The web in­ter­face to SugarSync en­ables man­ag­ing, shar­ing, and set­ting share per­mis­sions on files and folders.

There are many rea­sons a busi­ness might need to share dig­i­tal as­sets among team mem­bers and with out­side en­ti­ties. Email, FTP, shared net­work dri­ves, and re­mov­able me­dia are all an­ti­quat­ed con­tent dis­sem­i­na­tion meth­ods that ac­tu­al­ly slow down busi­ness. The pace of mod­ern busi­ness re­quires the abil­i­ty to in­stant­ly share the lat­est ver­sion of any file with any­one, and to just as swift­ly un­share any file. Cloud-based file syn­chro­niza­tion and shar­ing, but­tressed by the con­trol to take back shared files, is es­sen­tial to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and as­set control.

At no point was it more plain­ly ev­i­dent to me how slow even email doc­u­ment dis­tri­b­u­tion had be­come than when my friend re­lat­ed to me his sto­ry of how, with­out gen­uine­ly in­stant doc­u­ment syn­chro­niza­tion, a sin­gle im­age would have com­mit­ted his client to a $2 mil­lion mistake.

My friend is a con­sul­tant to a com­pa­ny whose name, for con­fi­den­tial­i­ty rea­sons, I can’t dis­close. We’ll call the com­pa­ny Acme POS Systems.

Acme POS Systems man­u­fac­tures point-of-sale sys­tems for a range of na­tion­al re­tail, hos­pi­tal­i­ty, and food and bev­er­age ser­vice chains. This past Spring, Acme POS Systems launched the most sig­nif­i­cant up­date to its sys­tems in three years. Every as­pect of their systems—31 prod­ucts in to­tal across all lines—was re­fined through nu­mer­ous ren­di­tions, ex­ten­sive user ex­pe­ri­ence re­search, and fo­cus group test­ing. These new ver­sions sped and eased point of sale op­er­a­tion through more than three dozen al­ter­ations and re­fine­ments to the soft­ware func­tion­al­i­ty, user in­ter­face, and ac­cess hard­ware. The new ver­sion rep­re­sent­ed a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment of work­hours and cap­i­tal, with every employee—and a few con­sul­tants like myself—working un­til the fi­nal hours be­fore the day of the new ver­sion launch. That launch would oc­cur not on­ly just through the usu­al chan­nels of so­cial me­dia, blog, and press re­leas­es, but al­so live be­fore the top ex­ec­u­tives in all of hos­pi­tal­i­ty at an in­dus­try convention.

So fo­cused on en­sur­ing every de­tailed was tend­ed to that, of course, one de­tail was left un­fixed. To get a jump on ready­ing for launch day, doc­u­men­ta­tion writ­ing and pre­sen­ta­tion cre­ation be­gan be­fore the POS sys­tem user in­ter­faces had reached their fi­nal ver­sions. Out of dozens of screen­shots spread across pro­mo­tion­al ma­te­ri­als, tu­to­ri­als, sales sheets, and oth­er doc­u­men­ta­tion, a sin­gle old screen­shot slipped through with­out an up­date. That screen­shot showed a but­ton that had been re­moved from the fi­nal ver­sion of the product—as had the func­tion ac­cessed by that button.

The old screen­shot went un­no­ticed un­til the company’s Vice President of Sales was prepar­ing to take the stage to present Acme POS Systems’ new prod­ucts at the convention.

The de­vel­op­ment team at Acme lat­er es­ti­mat­ed that it would have cost just un­der $2 mil­lion to re­store and make func­tion­al that aban­doned fea­ture of their point of touch sys­tems. The sales team, who be­gan re­ceiv­ing multi-million dol­lar or­ders for the new POS sys­tems be­fore the VP had even con­clud­ed his pre­sen­ta­tion, are con­fi­dent that cus­tomers would have in­sist­ed on re­ceiv­ing the re­moved func­tion, even if it didn’t re­al­ly ben­e­fit them, sim­ply be­cause they had seen it in the presentation.

Back at the of­fice, the doc­u­men­ta­tion team fran­ti­cal­ly took a new screen­shot. They opened the VP’s PowerPoint pre­sen­ta­tion from the SugarSync-managed fold­er and re­placed the old screen­shot on a mas­ter slide that caused the im­age to ap­pear on eleven slides. The im­age up­dat­ed, the team pressed CTRL+S to save the pre­sen­ta­tion. Ten sec­onds lat­er and two thou­sand miles apart, the VP opened the up­dat­ed PowerPoint file to be­gin his pre­sen­ta­tion com­plete­ly un­aware that any­thing had changed from when he’d last opened it dur­ing that morning’s rehearsal.

Versatile Cloud Storage Gives Businesses Control Over Productivity

Fundamentally, SugarSync is a cloud back­up and file syn­chro­niza­tion ser­vice. It can safe­ly store all of your most im­por­tant files in the cloud, ready for restora­tion in the event of a da­ta loss or to eas­i­ly mi­grate your files from your old com­put­er to your new one. Similarly, it keeps your home and of­fice com­put­ers in sync so you nev­er have to feel the frus­tra­tion of leav­ing an im­por­tant file at the of­fice, or con­verse­ly, leav­ing the lat­est ver­sion of your pre­sen­ta­tion at home. These are the most ba­sic func­tions of SugarSync, and it does them ex­ceed­ing­ly well. They aren’t all it does.

Backing up files to the cloud means the lat­est ver­sion of your files — and sev­er­al pre­vi­ous ver­sions — ex­ist in the cloud, ready for ac­cess from all of your de­vices, not just your home and of­fice com­put­ers. In a meet­ing with your iPad and need the lat­est spread­sheet from your desk­top or that pre­sen­ta­tion you pol­ished off last night while watch­ing “The Tonight Show”? Easy. Open the SugarSync iOS app and you’ll have in­stant ac­cess to all your files, even if the com­put­er you last edit­ed them on is turned off. It’s the same on your phone. Need those con­cert tick­ets on your Galaxy S phone? They’re in your SugarSync Android app. You can even mark some files to al­ways be down­loaded, ready to go to each device.

What if your col­league needs your spread­sheet or Jimmy Fallon-inspired pre­sen­ta­tion at a moment’s no­tice? Will you have to ac­cess the right file in SugarSync, down­load it, and then email it to your col­league? No. Just share the file — or en­tire fold­ers — right from the SugarSync app on any de­vice — mo­bile, lap­top, or desktop.

Sharing a folder with a team member and allowing the collaborator permission to edit, delete, and sync files and to add new files to the folder.

Sharing a fold­er with a team mem­ber and al­low­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tor per­mis­sion to ed­it, delete, and sync files and to add new files to the folder.

Not on­ly can you share doc­u­ments to col­leagues for view­ing, you can al­so make them co-editors, en­abling col­lab­o­ra­tion on your doc­u­ments. Each file can have dif­fer­ent per­mis­sions, as can each per­son with whom you’ve shared the file. Some team mem­bers can be ed­i­tors, some mere­ly view­ers. Any mod­i­fi­ca­tions by any team mem­ber with ed­it per­mis­sions are in­stant­ly re­flect­ed in all col­lab­o­ra­tors’ copies via SugarSync’s rapid syn­chro­niza­tion. The ser­vice even keeps the last five ver­sions of a file, pro­vid­ing a clear path of ac­count­abil­i­ty and re­vi­sion back­track­ing. When it comes time to fi­nal­ize a doc­u­ment, re­vok­ing ed­it per­mis­sions or un­shar­ing en­tire­ly are just as sim­ple as it was to share the file.

SugarSync in­spires and en­ables pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. For in­di­vid­ual pro­fes­sion­als, it does that through cloud back­up, sync, and in­stant ac­cess to their files any­where on any de­vice. Though those fea­tures are im­por­tant to teams, it’s SugarSync’s pow­er to con­nect lo­cal and re­mote team mem­bers for col­lab­o­ra­tion that is the biggest boost to productivity.

256-Bit Encryption Keeps Data Secure and Provides Peace of Mind

Often the first and most im­por­tant ques­tion any­one asks about a cloud sync and back­up so­lu­tion, even be­fore, “What can I sync and with whom?” is “How safe is my da­ta?” The an­swer to that ques­tion is of­ten the de­cid­ing fac­tor in many cus­tomers’ minds. It’s ac­tu­al­ly a two-fold ques­tion. Inquiring about da­ta safe­ty means ask­ing how se­cure and pri­vate files re­main in the cloud and dur­ing tran­sit. It al­so means ask­ing about the in­tegri­ty of stored files should their orig­i­nals be de­stroyed in a da­ta loss such as the cor­rup­tion of a sin­gle file or a hard dri­ve fail­ure that re­sults in thou­sands of lost files.

SugarSync in­cludes both file se­cu­ri­ty and backup.

Utilizing bank-level 256-bit AES en­cryp­tion, your files in the cloud are safe. Getting them there has al­ways been the risky part, with man-in-the-middle (MiM) at­tacks a con­stant threat, par­tic­u­lar­ly with re­mote or trav­el­ing em­ploy­ees who might ac­cess shared work files over in­se­cure WiFi net­works. Fortunately, SugarSync pre­vents MiM at­tacks, even on the most open cof­fee shop or air­port WiFi, with se­cure up­load­ing and down­load­ing. Rather than trans­fer­ring files through open pro­to­cols like HTTP, the SugarSync client in­stalled on your com­put­er com­mu­ni­cates se­cure­ly with the SugarSync servers through a hand­shake process that ver­i­fies the iden­ti­ty of both and pre­vents da­ta in­ter­cep­tion by man-in-the-middle de­vices. Bidirectional sync, up­load and down­load, us­es in­dus­try stan­dard TLS (SSL 3.3) en­cryp­tion to se­cure files and data.

Automatic file versioning tracks the last five versions of files with accountability as to who modified each version and when. Each version can be downloaded individually while any previous version can be restored, overwriting accidental or unwanted changes to the current version.

Automatic file ver­sion­ing tracks the last five ver­sions of files with ac­count­abil­i­ty as to who mod­i­fied each ver­sion and when. Each ver­sion can be down­loaded in­di­vid­u­al­ly while any pre­vi­ous ver­sion can be re­stored, over­writ­ing ac­ci­den­tal or un­want­ed changes to the cur­rent version.

Once files are se­cure­ly stored in the cloud, the oth­er half of da­ta safe­ty can be ad­dressed. Files synced to SugarSync are, by de­f­i­n­i­tion, backed up. Should their orig­i­nals ever be­come cor­rupt­ed or lost, you can eas­i­ly down­load re­place­ments from SugarSync — ei­ther in­di­vid­ual files or en­tire fold­ers. In the event of a full hard dri­ve or com­put­er fail­ure, it on­ly takes in­stalling and log­ging in­to the SugarSync client to sync your en­tire cloud back­up to the new dri­ve or computer.

File ver­sion­ing is a na­tive part of SugarSync, too. Automatic back­ups of the pre­vi­ous five ver­sions of your files, and a sim­ple means of view­ing and restor­ing those ver­sions, of­fer a safe­ty net against cor­rupt­ed files that make it through syn­chro­niza­tion to the cloud as well as col­lab­o­ra­tors mak­ing un­want­ed changes. In a bril­liant stroke of cus­tomer ser­vice, SugarSync doesn’t even count the pre­vi­ous ver­sion back­ups against your stor­age lim­it. Only the size of the most re­cent ver­sion is count­ed. For ex­am­ple, your five ver­sions of a 1 GB file, though to­tal­ing 5 GB if saved to your com­put­er, on­ly count on SugarSync as 1 GB.

Plans are Available to Fit the Needs of Individuals or Businesses

SugarSync makes sense for both per­son­al and team use, and of­fers pric­ing that al­so makes sense.

Individual plans of­fer 100, 250, and 500 gi­ga­bytes of cloud stor­age, plus business-level file ver­sion­ing, and un­lim­it­ed up­load and down­load trans­fers. Pricing starts at $7.49 per month for the 100 GB plan and goes through $18.95 per month for the 500 GB plan. The most pop­u­lar plan, ac­cord­ing to SugarSync, is the mid-range 250 GB stor­age plan at on­ly $9.99 per month. To help put those num­bers in con­text, 100 GB of stor­age is rough­ly equiv­a­lent to 3,200 pho­tos, 10,000 PDF files, 220,000 Excel spread­sheets, or 500,000 Word documents.

Businesses that want file syn­chro­niza­tion, back­up, and ver­sion­ing for their team mem­bers get even more stor­age and ad­vanced fea­tures. One to nine users per month cost as lit­tle as $14.78 per user and in­clude 1,000 GB of cloud stor­age, file ver­sion­ing, and un­lim­it­ed up­load and down­load trans­fers. Even greater per-user dis­counts are avail­able for teams with 10 or more con­cur­rent users.

All busi­ness ac­counts in­clude live tele­phone sup­port, the abil­i­ty to re­mote­ly wipe all SugarSync-managed files from team mem­ber or con­trac­tor com­put­ers, and a pow­er­ful ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol pan­el. Within the ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol pan­el, team man­agers can eas­i­ly con­trol not on­ly what syncs with whom and with what per­mis­sions, but al­so ad­just in­di­vid­ual user stor­age ca­pac­i­ty al­lo­ca­tion and ac­ti­vate and de­ac­ti­vate seats on the fly. Should one team mem­ber be out sick or on va­ca­tion, that user can be tem­porar­i­ly sus­pend­ed, free­ing up a seat, and then a fill-in em­ploy­ee or con­trac­tor can be tem­porar­i­ly added as a SugarSync user with ac­cess to the ab­sent employee’s files. When the orig­i­nal em­ploy­ee comes back, his or her ac­cess can be in­stant­ly re­stored, while the contractor’s ac­cess can be de­ac­ti­vat­ed and all shared files in­stant­ly wiped away.

The SugarSync plans and pricing table.

The SugarSync plans and pric­ing table.

Sharing in­di­vid­ual files doesn’t even re­quire the re­cip­i­ent to have a SugarSync ac­count. Each file and fold­er can be shared with a pub­lic down­load link.

Between the doc­u­ment or fold­er own­er, with a full seat li­cense, and oc­ca­sion­al re­cip­i­ents who don’t’ even need a SugarSync ac­count is an­oth­er use­ful in­ter­me­di­ary step. Sharing a fold­er to a ven­dor, part­ner, or free­lancer who doesn’t need to con­tribute doc­u­ments in­to the fold­er, but who needs ac­cess to view and down­load the files with­in, is the do­main of the Shared Folder Plan. The free Shared Folder Plan en­ables pri­vate shar­ing of a fold­er to those with­out a paid SugarSync ac­count. Recipients of your shared fold­er link who don’t al­ready have a SugarSync ac­count can pur­chase one or sim­ply reg­is­ter free of charge for the Shared Folder Plan.

SugarSync’s Simplicity of Use Makes it a Standout Among Cloud Options

Digital files can no longer be stuck on a sin­gle de­vice be­cause mod­ern pro­fes­sion­als don’t use just one de­vice. Freelancer, team mem­ber, or man­ag­er, you and your col­lab­o­ra­tors need your files here, there, and every­where. You need to view and work on the same files on your desk com­put­er, on your lap­top while trav­el­ing and pre­sent­ing, on your iPad on the sub­way, and on your phone at din­ner and every­where, and you need the lat­est changes to those files in­stant­ly prop­a­gat­ed to every de­vice on which you might need them. You may nev­er find your­self sec­onds away from a $2 mil­lion im­age ver­sion mis­take like Acme POS Systems, but is a lack of ac­cess to the lat­est ver­sion of a file ide­al in any scenario?

The world no longer ac­cepts “I left the file at home” as an ex­cuse — and you don’t want to be the per­son who has to mum­ble that ex­cuse to a client, in­vestor, part­ner, or man­ag­er. SugarSync keeps your files safe from cat­a­stro­phe, puts them with­in your reach from any de­vice, and keeps them in sync when work­ing with col­lab­o­ra­tors in the same of­fice and a dif­fer­ent coun­try. All with a max­i­mum of se­cu­ri­ty, flex­i­bil­i­ty, and oversight.