File locking an essential feature for collaboration

Dec 26th, 2013 / Category: Wide Area File Services

As businesses become more expansive, diversified and spread out, collaboration is growing in importance. Firms need to take steps to ensure that employees are able to work together easily and effectively, regardless of their physical locations. A remote employee who works from home should be able to easily contribute to a project alongside workers from two offices, both of which are separated by hundreds of miles.

It is the business's leaders who are responsible for enabling this type of collaboration. This requires an extensive evaluation of available options, and finally the selection of those tools that can best encourage employees to work together successfully. And among the most important factors for decision-makers to consider when looking at these options is file locking.

Expansive workplaces
Thanks to the rise of cloud computing, secure file sharing and other related technology, it is now relatively easy for employees within a given organization to access a corporate-owned file or record, which they can then work on from any location. In some cases, this can lead to dozens or even hundreds of employees with access to a particular document, one which they will need to update and modify regularly.

Obviously, this level of access and teamwork presents tremendous opportunities for businesses. By connecting so many employees, the productivity potential of a given organization skyrockets. However, this is only the case if employees are able to work together on projects effectively and efficiently. For this to occur, order must reign, and this is where file locking technology enters the picture.

Losing control
One of the problems with many of the technologies used to make corporate data widely accessible to employees is that the work done with these resources can come to resemble a free-for-all situation. Many workers may contribute to a document at once.

This can quickly become chaotic. Some employees may base their efforts on the information present in that document, and if it changes while they are in the midst of a specific operation, the results may end up wildly skewed. This may undermine not only that individual employee's efforts, but the work done by everyone working on this particular project.

Locking it down for success
A wide area file services (WAFS) solution featuring file lock technology helps businesses to avoid this issue. With this type of WAFS tool in place, opening a file will immediately prevent any other authorized user from making changes to that document. Other employees will be able to see the file, presented in read-only format, but only the original user can modify its content. Once the record is saved, the next employee who opens the document will gain the ability to make alterations.

This means that working on a shared file is a much more orderly, coherent and productive process. Collaboration is therefore greatly improved among disparate employees, helping the business as a whole to maximize its efficiency.