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Cloud Document Management vs. Cloud File Sharing: What’s the Difference?

Where do you store documents after they're scanned? Many turn to cloud file sharing because it’s quick, free and easy, but there’s a downside... so what do you use instead?

By now you know that storing large volumes of paper documents, except in a bank vault type of environment, is a time bomb: you don’t know when it’s going to blow up in your face but you know it will.

It’s a familiar feeling these days for many who find themselves quarantined at home trying to work while the paper documents they need gather dust in abandoned offices.

Scanning is the first step to making documents available anywhere, any time, but where do you store them? Many turn to cloud file sharing because it’s quick, free and easy, but there’s a downside.  So what do you use instead?

Cloud File Sharing

Cloud File Sharing is used within many organizations because the base level is free, it’s easy to use and it allows you to quickly share files with people inside and outside the organization.

But as it grows, cloud file sharing tends to become harder to manage and control, making it difficult to quickly find documents and to ensure that only the right people have access.  This increases the risk of your cloud file share becoming abandoned – much like SharePoint libraries.

Improper use of cloud file sharing can also lead to fun things like loss of data control, data leakage, BYOD, and snooping, as described in this blog post.

Who has time for data leakage?

Cloud Document Management

Document management was developed in the 1980s as on-premise software to replace paper documents and filing cabinets. Some on-premise document management has moved to the cloud while other versions were born there.

The Comparison

FeatureCloud Document ManagementCloud File Sharing*
Example SoftwarePSIsafeDropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, etc.
Primary RoleOrganization, Operation & PreservationStorage
Quick SetupYesYes
Accessible Anytime, AnywhereYesYes
User RolesYesNo
Instant SearchabilityYesLimited
Add/Delete FoldersOnly If Defined User Role AllowsAnyone with a Login
User SynchronizationNoYes
SecurityLogin, Per Folder & Per DocumentLogin
Document Metadata & IndexingYesNo
Document Check-In/Check-OutYesNo
Document Version ControlYesNo
Document AlertsYesNo
Audit TrailYesLimited
Workflow AutomationSimple to AdvancedNone
eSignaturesYesNo
Automated Retention SchedulingYesNo
Automated Document RetentionYesNo
ERP/Accounting Software IntegrationYesNo
Auditor Self-ServiceYesYes
On-Premise OptionYesNo
IT Support RequiredNoNo
Overseas Data CentersOnly if the Vendor Is OverseasOften Used

* Consumer level; enterprise-level offers additional functionality but is no longer free

See for Yourself

Technology evolves quickly so, by the time you read this, some information in both columns may have changed – so talk to us. A demo can help you determine if cloud document management software is right for you or if cloud file sharing is a better choice.

Contact us to learn more about cloud document management software

Jessica Rivers

Jessica Rivers

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