WebDrive Offline File Access and Synchronization
File syncing is a common phenomenon in cloud-based storage today. There are pros and cons to keeping data in the cloud and syncing it (essentially copying it) to your local devices. WebDrive does not sync files by default. Instead, the client accesses the files you want to open from the cloud, when you want to open them, live, using secure data transfer protocols. A temporary cache of just the files you have accessed is kept. The choice to enable syncing or offline mode caching of large portions of remote data should be managed with a balance of security and workflow in mind.
In the mobile environment, you want fast access to all of your data from any device. The fastest way to get this is to keep all of your most up-to-date data synced. This also allows you to unplug your computer from the Internet and still access files.
However, this carries a security risk in an enterprise environment. Data transferred unsecurely to a device, or even data transferred in a secure way to a device which is unsecured, or a device that is stolen, is a breach of defenses. Also, corporate accounts are likely to store a very large amount of data, which could bog down or overwhelm a local device during sync. WebDrive provides configuration options to mitigate this risk.
How does it work?
Every file contains a set of metadata. Depending on where and how the file was saved (on which operating system, for instance), more or less metadata may be collected. This can include everything from the date and time the file was created, when it was last modified, what user last opened or modified it, to a host of other bits of information. The protocol you use to send the file makes a difference, as well. FTP, for instance, only holds on to a small subset of metadata.
During the synchronization process, WebDrive will check the date, time, and file size of the local and remote versions of the file. If the server version of the file has not changed since the local copy was used, the local copy will be uploaded and will replace the old version stored on the server.
Provided that the folder in which these files are stored has been marked for offline access, new files that are created locally while working offline will be transferred to the remote server. Existing files deleted locally while offline will be deleted from the remote server during the synchronization process.
Selecting which files you want to work on offline keeps WebDrive from using resources to sync more data than necessary. This also keeps your data secure; if a mobile device with synced data is stolen, no one will be able to access your entire directory of data.
Set Up Offline Folders/Files
1. Launch WebDrive
2. Configure/Connect a site that you would like to have folders/files available offline
3. Click the down arrow icon to the right of the site you connected for “Choose files to make available offline” from the WebDrive interface
4. On the “Manage Offline Files” page, click on either “Add Folder” or “Add File” at the top right to get started choosing folders and files to make available offline
5. Select as many times as necessary to include all of the folders and files desired
For some installations, mainly where the computer will always be connected to the Internet and thus able to connect to WebDrive, offline access may be unnecessary. In this case, leave it disabled; the synchronization process could use up large amounts of local disk space.
In the case of syncing conflicts: If the local file has changed, but the remote file has also changed, WebDrive will rename the file on the server before uploading the local copy. If this happens, a message box will be displayed to the user to manually check for differences in the local vs. remote versions. The WebDrive client does not perform automatic merging of changes between local and remote versions, to protect you from overwriting important file changes.
Before entering offline mode, ensure you have ample disk space on the client computer for the cached files. For example, if a folder containing 2GB of data is marked for offline access, WebDrive will cache the entire 2GB locally on the user’s computer.