Can I sync my files?

The Tools

Microsoft is heavily promoting the OneDrive for Business sync tool for connecting to SharePoint Online. This tool has it's place but it also has limitations like:

  • it can only sync a maximum of 20,000 folders and files, and
  • it won't sync with a document library with more than 5,000 items

When we dug into this more we found that OneDrive for Business was really designed for storing and syncing your personal documents in your business SharePoint site, not your actual business files.

There are other sync tools available. Colligo provide a good tool that offers greater flexibility and can sync about twice as many items.

So, while you can sync your files the tools available provide some limitations.

 

But Do You Really Want To Sync?

This really is the question. And also why?

Most people want to sync their files because they are concerned about losing their internet connection and therefore access to their files. It's true, being in the cloud means this is a risk.

There is another side to it though. If you work through it, your business could have anything from 50 to 100,000 files. If there was a tool that could sync this many files would you want to have them all synced to you computer? And then on to every computer in the business? And if your computers are laptops do you want every file in your business being mobile?

Then if you have every file synced on every computer, you have the issue of which is the actual source of truth? None of the sync tools are instantaneous so if two people are working on them you will have different versions. And if you lose internet connectivity then syncing won't happen at all.

Think through the implications of syncing to your business and staff. It can sound like a great idea but often the implementation provides issues.

 

What We Reccomend

Based on this we believe the best way forward is not to sync SharePoint Online with your desktop computer. If your using SuiteFiles then all of your documents will be in one library and it's likely that the sync tools won't even work for you. And having a single source of truth for your documents really is the best way to go.

Place some trust in your Internet connection (how often does it really go down?) and use the SuiteFiles web browser to access your files.