Shared drives is a general term for file hosting, sharing and storage platforms, not to be confused with decentralised online file sharing platforms like BitTorrent (many of which are illegal). The concept of a shared drive is to move from a localised drive or folder that sits on your personal computer to one that is located in the cloud and is accessible to anyone on your team. This is beneficial for a number of reasons.
Save Work in A Shared Location
Shared Drives allow team members to save work in a shared location so all members of the team can find documents in them. Locally saved documents and files can cause overlap and confusion. Shared drives solve this issue by providing a unique centralised location accessible to anyone on your team or working with your team.
Share Information and Documents
Shared drives provide the ability to share information. Since the drive is located in the Cloud, documents saved on the drive are already uploaded to the web. Most shared drive platforms allow users to share documents in these drives via a link, which effectively makes them file sharing services. Some services like wetransfer.com are designed around this purpose.
Security and Storage Considerations
Another important consideration to move to file sharing for your business is for Security & Storage. Both Dropbox and Google Drive allow users to upload files to their shared drives and then remove them from local drives. This saves space on your local machine, but the real value of this is security. User files are saved in a secure location online with tight control over user access. This is safer than saving files on a local machine which can be lost, stolen or damaged.
Shared drives come as a natural extension to collaborative documents (discussed in the above section). Once you collaborate and work on a document you need a space to save them. This is where software like Google Drive shines because it automatically saves your shared documents in your shared drive. This all happens seamlessly without any setup.
Dropbox and Google Drive
The two most widely used services in this space are Dropbox & Google Drive. Our business started out using Dropbox, being the most widely used at the time, but eventually we moved over to Google Drive since its capabilities are just as good and we were already enmeshed in the Google ecosystem, which includes Google Drive for free.