Top 5 Sync & Share Migration Costs

Sync & Share Migration Planning

Many companies are considering migrating Windows File Shares to Cloud based Sync & Share vendors for department shares.  What are the Sync & Share Migration Costs?  As organizations contemplate moving files shares to Sync & Share vendor we need to consider the potential security, time constraints, risks and cost impact. While Sync & Share is great for collaborating on documents with teams inside or outside of the company, can it completely replace on-premises file server shares and be used as a file share alternative? What are the hidden costs of migrating to cloud based Sync & Share?

SharePoint Migration Costs

1. Sync & Share Migration Costs

Migrating organizations to Sync & Share is a complicated, challenging endeavor.  Many organizations may not realize it but Sync & Share systems are designed to be a collaboration platform – not replace file servers.  Migrating file shares to Sync & Share involves months of planning to sort and identify data to move from a pool of file shares that can go back years, if not decades.  To migrate files to Sync & Share, Files must converted to remove characters not allowed – for example (~ ” # % & * : < > ? / \ { | }.) and mapped to storage libraries to stay within the Sync & Share storage limits using specialized tools that must be purchased at an additional cost.  The process grows even more complicated when migrating organizations with highly sensitive data, such as government agencies, with a host of stringent compliance regulations to meet. Companies will need to budget for these hidden development and deployment costs when comparing Sync & Share to other enterprise file sharing solutions. In addition, most organizations do not have the specialized skills to successfully execute a Sync & Share migration and will need to budget for a vendor certified consulting provider to assist in the design and migration.  For organizations with many terabytes of file shares who simply desire to move to the cloud it may make more sense to migrate them to AWS or Azure file shares where NTFS permissions and files names can be retained and where storage limits are not an issue.

2. Vendor Lock-in and Data Sovereignty

Even if the organizations file shares can be placed in-country to meet storage location compliance regulation requirements what format are the files stored in? Are the files in a format that can be accessed even if the Sync & Share system or the Internet is unavailable? What happens if the organization wishes to move their files out of the vendors system?  If the files are stored in a vendors proprietary format what will be the costs to export, migrate and convert them to a new vendor format or back to native NTFS file shares?  In the case of most Sync & Share vendors all files are migrated into databases with their own set of permissions that cannot be easily exported back to their original NTFS format since all metadata is lost on import. Office files may also be altered so that all external links to other files are no longer valid once they are moved outside of the vendors file storage. Organizations will want to think carefully about the implications of moving files to any cloud services  proprietary format as they may find that if for any reason they desire to move to another platform the future costs of any migration will far outweigh any short term costs savings.

3. Long Term Archiving & Backup Costs

Traditional file shares can be easily encrypted and stored offsite indefinitely in their native NTFS file format, then easily restored at any time in the future regardless of any technology changes. With Sync & Share and other cloud storage, entire systems must be restored, or with most cloud vendors, deleted files are only retained for 90 days meaning additional archiving services must be purchased and paid for perpetually which store Sync & Share into long-term archives. These backup and storage costs will lead to additional support and subscription costs on top of ongoing subscription costs.  To meet compliance and archiving requirements the costs of maintaining duplicate systems for backup and data retention will need to be factored into any overall cost estimates.

4. Future File Storage Fees

If files are stored in cloud services online that are difficult or impossible to export they will need to be maintained in Sync & Share databases online.  What costs will the organization incur over time as archive data is maintained online?  Enterprises will need to budget for potential additional storage charges over time.

5. Training & Productivity Costs

Users are trained to easily grab their files from a mapped drive. With Sync & Share, files are stored in libraries that are accessed using a web-based interface or from within apps only. The interface looks nothing like Windows File Explorer. While there are 3rd party tools that can map cloud storage Sync & Share ti drive letters, they are slow, require additional administration and may not support Two Factor Authentication thus they cannot be used in secure environments. The costs of training and keeping employees on Sync & Share systems with there many advanced features and document management requirements can be significant.  In addition, most organizations find that they need to maintain an internal group of highly paid document management admins to enforce file storage policies and keep their Sync & Share storage from turning into a mess of disorganized files haphazardly placed in libraries or folders with no classification.  This administration requirement further adds to ongoing costs.