Can SharePoint Replace a File Server?

Yes, Here’s How

Many organizations, especially if they have been around for a while, have one or more file servers that all the employees use. These file servers typically have hundreds, thousands, or even millions (in the case of huge companies) of essential documents, files, code, and images. Many of these file servers contain important assets like logos, text, banners, and other business essentials. However, Microsoft doesn’t seem to recommend file shares for this purpose. Instead, SharePoint appears to be Microsoft’s suggested way for enterprises to share information internally.

For IT professionals, the question is: can it replace a file server? That is, can you upgrade your business to SharePoint and ditch the legacy file server altogether? Yes, here’s why and how!

SharePoint Is Effectively a File Server with a Web Interface

Whether you run a SharePoint instance locally (only recommended in specific use cases) or in the cloud, SharePoint is effectively a file server. Indeed, the SharePoint service bundles SharePoint with OneDrive, as these products are very interrelated.

IT administrators can think of OneDrive as the legacy file share. Similar to Dropbox or Box, OneDrive lets you copy files to the cloud and share them with appropriate permissions. You can share files so that only named people can open them, all people in the organization, or the entire world can view them.

SharePoint is the platform used to create internal websites. You can create team sites with pages, assets, and practically anything else you would find on a website. Your employees can like and share these links. And you can make them searchable so people can find what they are looking for (like “marketing assets”).

In essence, SharePoint is a web interface that provides an internal method of communication and file sharing.

Why Is This Better Than a File Share?

SharePoint is powerful for many reasons, but one of the most significant is that it enhances a traditional file share.

Consider the following example. Let’s say marketing has released some new guidelines for how to use your company’s logos, including some revised image assets.

If you have a file server, marketing would put the new logos on that file server and probably send out an email to the team saying, “here are the new assets.”

There are a few problems with this, though. How do you control permissions? Who can read or see these files? How do you ensure new hires use these files and not some old ones lying around?

Instead, with SharePoint, you could create a web page that’s on your intranet site. Marketing could call it “Marketing Guidance and Logos.” They can update this page with whatever the most current logos and guidelines are. Marketing could also lock this page to people who need to know this information (e.g., graphics designers). New hires will come across this page as their reference when they join.

This method of distribution and communication is much better than emails and file shares!

SharePoint Improves File Sharing for Enterprises

There’s no question that this platform improves file sharing for enterprises. With permissions management, a collaboration interface, and internal website tools, SharePoint is the perfect replacement for those clunky old file servers that you might still have around the office.

If you’re looking for expert SharePoint developers, look no further than those at INVID Group! We are an award-winning software organization that specializes in all things SharePoint. Please contact us today and let us see if we can help you transform your old file server into an exciting SharePoint destination!

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