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Online File Sharing for large files and complex use cases

Online File Sharing for large files and complex use cases

LucidLink for collaboration and mobility

If you’re a technology decision-maker in a business with large files and/or complex sharing requirements (such as the Architecture, Engineering, or Construction (AEC) industry), you’ve likely encountered challenges with traditional online file sharing platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, or SharePoint. 

In this article, we’ll delve into why these platforms often fall short of meeting the specific needs of these businesses in the context of online file sharing.

Common problems with major online file sharing platforms:

AEC teams frequently grapple with the following frustrations when using conventional file-sharing solutions:

Version Control and Overwrites:

Design staff often find themselves frustrated by the risk of overwriting each other’s changes on CAD, SolidWorks, or other design files stored on shared drive systems. 

External Reference Issues:

Continual external reference breaking occurs as files transfer across Dropbox, SharePoint, or Google Drive, disrupting the design workflow. 

Slow File Uploads:

Uploading major CAD or design files to these shared drives can be time-consuming, affecting productivity. 

Access and Stability:

The ability to access documentation from personal devices or while on-site can be compromised when shared drives crash or face accessibility issues.

Online file sharing case:

One of our AEC clients approached us seeking a file-sharing solution to address these issues. They had relied on Dropbox for central file management for three years. However, when they started moving major CAD design files into Dropbox, they encountered three critical problems:

Inability to lock files that are “in progress”:

Our customer’s desire was not to change the file sequentially, but they found continual synchronisations to Dropbox meant that central file data was being corrupted at each sync cycle. Each drawing inside a CAD file is grouped together, so a small sync can corrupt the entire file – therefore file locking was required to create consistency, version control and file corruption control. 

Inconsistency across file paths:

These Dropbox files were being accessed on Windows machines, but also shared across Linux and MAC operating systems. This meant that the central file path naming convention would alter and change depending on who was following the file path and from what operating system. For the end user, this meant repeated instances of ‘file not found’ or ‘corrupt link’ notifications.

Inefficient permissions structure:

The confidential nature of some of the design documentation and building IP meant that permissions to specific CAD files needed to be structured in a particular way, according to whoever was accessing it and whether they were a subcontractor or direct employee. Different projects also required different permissions across a range of files. The management and governance of this was increasingly complex and they had repeated breaks in permission control.  

Understanding the root of the issues:

Many cloud storage solutions, including Dropbox, SharePoint, and Google Drive, rely on peer-to-peer file synchronization. While this design philosophy facilitates file sharing between devices, it poses limitations for files still in development or editing. Additionally, sharing files outside the traditional network often hampers configuration, permission control, and version tracking.

Alternative Solutions:

Some AEC organizations have explored cloud-based solutions like Panzura, Nasuni, and NetApp Global File Cache. However, these solutions are limited to branch-based caching and may not effectively address the needs of hybrid work scenarios. 

The best online file sharing solution for large files and complex use cases:

We’ve recently partnered with LucidLink to provide a tailored solution that solves these challenges. Our service, integrated with LucidLink’s technology, empowers professionals to collaborate on shared projects seamlessly, from any location and through popular design applications like AutoCAD, Autodesk, or SolidWorks. 

LucidLink’s platform excels over Dropbox, SharePoint, or Google Drive for online file sharing by enabling:

Concurrent User Access and Permissions:

Users can simultaneously access the same Filespace with specific read-only, read-write, or restricted access to individual folders.

Robust Data Protection:

Automatic snapshots allow users to restore previous versions of files or the entire Filespace. All data is securely encrypted with AES 256, both in transit and at rest.

Global File Locking:

Supported on Windows operating systems, this feature ensures that files open for editing are locked, a crucial necessity for distributed AutoCAD users.

Managing plans, specifications, and drawings, as well as collaboration, can be complex in the architectural, engineering, design, and construction sectors. 

Our solution addresses these challenges by providing seamless access to documents across geographically disparate locations, external suppliers, and joint venture partners while maintaining stringent version control. 

The best way to share large files online and fulfil complex collaboration needs: 

Online file sharing is a critical aspect of modern workflows. To overcome the limitations of conventional platforms, our partnership with LucidLink offers business with large files and/or complex sharing requirements a superior solution tailored to their unique needs.  

Say goodbye to version control nightmares and hello to efficient, secure, and collaborative file sharing in the cloud. 

Josh Rubens - Director

Josh Rubens - Director

Empyrean Director, Co-Host of long-running Leading IT Podcast, formerly Deloitte.

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