File Sharing Challenges Continue to Frustrate Mobile Workers

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Despite the rapid growth of office technology and remote work solutions, mobile workers are more frustrated than ever when it comes to sharing files. In fact, nearly three out of four employees rate anytime access to work files and documents as important or very important, yet more than half still struggle to collaborate on projects with outside partners or customers. Similar end-user file sharing challenges have grown exponentially year after year.

These findings, included in the recent release of the annual Soonr Mobility in the Workplace Study which polled some 1,075 business professionals, demonstrate some of the largest issues facing the mobile workforce.

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When we look more closely at the challenges employees face with regards to file sharing, we realize:

– “Keeping everyone up-to-date” was at the top of the list at 67% in 2014, up from 26% in 2013.
– “Sharing large files” was the next most significant challenge at 47% in 2014, up from 20% in 2013
– “Accessing files anytime” was also a significant pain for employees at 45% in 2014, up from 13% in 2013.

These significant increases speak to overall employee exasperation around file access and collaboration that is certainly affecting productivity.

Unfortunately, for many employees, there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight. Only 22% report that they have an approved file sharing service in their workplace. When they do access files out of the office, employees are using email more (73% in 2014, 69% in 2013) and public file-sharing services less (47% in 2014, 52% in 2013). Employees have clearly taken heed of the fact that public file-sharing services may be exposing business data to risk. But this viewpoint is undermining employees’ freedom to work where and when they need and is potentially making them less productive as a result.

Employees aren’t any less concerned about being able to share files at work: three-in-four (74%) rate their ability to easily share files with co-workers, partners and customers as “important” or “very important.” Similarly, 59% said it was “important” or “very important” to be able to download or edit work files from a mobile device while outside the office. Still, about one-third (32%) report having had trouble viewing files remotely on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device.

It’s also likely there’s simply a heightened focus on business data security – and for good reason. 25% of employees have lost data while attempting to download business files. Security threats and data breaches are in the news daily, and IT teams have become more stringent about locking down the use of public/consumer file sharing services. As a result, four-in-five (83%) workers are concerned about the security and privacy of their files.

Although secure file sharing can enhance productivity and allow for flexible work conditions, companies remain unprepared to deliver the tools mobile workers need to work where and when they want.

As we move into the business model of the future, organizations able to provide enterprise-grade options for content sync, sharing and collaboration functions will allow employees to easily access and edit the business content they need – in its most current form – from any location. They will avert the frustration crisis while giving IT teams the assurance that business data is secure and CEO’s the confidence that their employees can remain productive.

By Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing, Soonr

soonrBio: Sam Liu is the vice president of marketing for Soonr and an expert in mobile, cloud and enterprise technologies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA.


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