In the more than two decades it has been available to the public, email has become the primary communications medium in most organizations, the dominant method for sending electronic files of all types, and the primary repository for important business content in many organizations.
Unfortunately, such reliance on email as the primary method for sharing documents has created significant problems. Because the overwhelming majority of email traffic includes attachments, performance of email systems suffers (slower message delivery and greater susceptibility to downtime). It also leads to higher costs for storage and other infrastructure and additional IT labor devoted to managing the email infrastructure.
As email is being used more and email attachments are getting larger, reliance on email as the transport mechanism for electronic content is increasing.
While attachments are useful, there are significant drawbacks:
Email was never intended for large file transfers. When email is used for transporting sending large files, email server performance slows, message delivery can be delayed, and more infrastructure (servers, storage and bandwidth) are required over time.
Email storage is a growing issue. Increasing message size, backup and restore times, and overloaded mailboxes result in more cost and less productivity.
Content is normally sent unencrypted. Most emails, including those with attachments, are sent by users without any encryption. Sensitive or confidential information could be exposed to unauthorized parties. Emails and attachments that are not encrypted can create enormous liabilities for an organization that suffers a data breach caused by unencrypted email being exposed or lost.
Confirming content delivery is difficult or impossible. If a user sends a time-sensitive proposal through email, usually the only way to verify the delivery of this content is to send another email or call the recipient. Most email systems lack the ability to track completely the flow of content from sender to recipient.
A related problem occurs when users run into file-size limits that IT has imposed to prevent enormous file transfers from choking email servers. When faced with these limits, users will often resort to personal Webmail accounts to send these files, resulting in an inability to archive, audit or track this content, not to mention the problems associated with sending potentially sensitive material without encryption. Sometimes users will print the contents of large files or burn a CD or DVD and send the content via overnight courier, driving up costs.
Organizations need a better way to manage their file-sharing and project collaborations needs, and to do it as inexpensively as possible in a way that reduces corporate risk.