The Ebb & Flow of Two-Way File Synchronization

In today’s content landscape, the word “synchronization” is certainly difficult to define. Today we’ll discuss two-way file synchronization, also called a bi-directional storage platform synchronization. We’ll review the benefits and challenges as well as best practices for synchronizing your files across systems. Two-way file sync, for example, pushes and pulls files in both directions, from both systems.

But are we referring to file synchronization between devices? Maybe between different cloud storage accounts? Or possibly between entire data environments? Even once we’ve established the two synced platforms, the synchronization’s behavior can also take on various forms.

What Is Two-Way File Synchronization?

Two-way file sync copies files in both directions and will make any needed or updated changes. For example, if a file is in a cloud storage platform, it will copy to the on-premises storage too. Likewise, if you delete a file from the cloud location, you would also remove that file from the other location. Overall, a two-way synchronization will detect copy changed files in both directions.

But What About One-Way File Synchronization?

One-way synchronization, or “mirroring,” pushes files from your source platform to the destination system. You can learn more about one-way sync, and how it differs from two-way file sync here.

Why is Two-Way Content Synchronization Important?

Because working within multiple, different file systems can cause problems that two-way file sync can solve. According to dataginteration.info, the definition of data synchronization is “a process of establishing consistency among systems and subsequent continuous updates to maintain consistency.”

DataIntegration adds “The word ‘continuous’ should be stressed here as the data synchronization should not be considered as a one-time task or one-way operation. It is really a process that needs to be planned, owned, managed, scheduled and controlled.”

The need for content to be present and accurate in different environments is critical. The same piece of content can be used across many different systems to make business decisions supporting the enterprise’s needs and their customer’s experience. If major decisions are made based on inaccurate data, due to outdated or incorrect documents, the outcome can be disastrous – potentially putting the enterprise at risk of losing customers and revenue. 

How Does Two-Way File Synchronization Work?

How you implement file synchronization will depend on your needs. And there are several file synchronization techniques you can use. These can include using a hosted system, using a third-party tool, and creating your own sync system for instance.

Two-way file sync is particularly helpful in two scenarios:

  • hybrid storage environments
  • long-term migrations

Hybrid storage environments

Hybrid content management is an increasingly popular storage option. This storage environment is popular with businesses who cannot migrate or consolidate files due to compliance or security mandates. Or additionally those who have too many line-of-business systems to abandon on-premise storage. With both existing on-premises platforms and new cloud-based systems, bi-directional syncing keeps files on both platforms up-to-date.

Long-term migrations

Two-way file synchronization is also useful in situations requiring long-term enterprise content migrations. Businesses will often start with a two-way file sync until they are ready to “unplug” their source system. Thus allowing admins to continue working out of the old system while integrating the new system or training users. When admins are ready to make the switch, their user content will be waiting for them in the new system and they can pick up right where they left off, with no disruption to business operations.

Challenges & Best Practices

Challenges

But one of the biggest challenges enterprises face is that built-in integration can lack feature parity and ease of use for end-users. The optimal experience is the native experience, and to achieve this, a full synchronization between the different systems is often required. 

As outlined previously, cloud services promise unfettered access to content – as long as the content is stored within their system.

Solutions

SkySync’s bi-directional synchronization engine enables enterprises to fully-integrate and synchronizes your existing, on-premises system of record (e.g., ECM platforms, network file shares, other systems) with your existing cloud service. 

The SkySync platform enables extended file access to users while still maintaining control of on-premises content by IT staff – without impacting existing systems, system integrations or business operations.  

Completely transparent to the user, the SkySync bi-directional synchronization engine continually syncs – in real-time or at designated intervals defied by the IT administrator – all files, new files, file changes, as well any changes to file-related data, such as extended metadata. 

Benefits & Best Practices

IT staff maintains complete control over all content being synchronized – location, type, name, age, user, etc. – by job definitions and advanced automation rules. Users can access the content they require while IT staff maintains control of sensitive data, compliance, and retention rules

  • Enables users to have seamless access to files from all enterprise storage systems  
  • Incorporate cloud storage anywhere & any device capabilities with existing legacy systems
  • Storage systems that are part of a new business acquisition can be integrated with existing systems – and information shared – in minutes
  • No IT impact whatsoever – all existing system integrations remain in place

Leveraging the SkySync platform, and its powerful bi-directional synchronization capability, your users can access and collaborate in real-time on all of their content, no matter where the content ultimately resides. 

Meanwhile, IT can maintain complete control over business content and its environment. SkySync supports over 40+ different cloud-based and on-premises ECM platforms that can be seamlessly integrated.

Final considerations

Users of bi-directional syncing should consider a robust platform synchronization tool to help administrators easily configure a sync between their existing systems.

Additional features to look for with two-way sync are filtering controls and file parallelism settings to help address common problems like slower throughput speeds. Your two-way sync tool should be able to perform in the largest environments and be capable of full bi-directional synchronization across a wide variety of cloud-based and on-premises content management platforms.

SkySync enables the world’s most successful enterprises with total control over and unbounded access to their content, empowering their evolving modern workforce.  We connect disparate storage platforms, unite silos of information, and synchronize content spread across the enterprise—at scale. We enable our customers to achieve singular access and unified control over their content, so they can support the evolving needs of a modern workforce. 

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