Why it makes no sense to use SkyDrive integration in Hotmail

Microsoft is heavily promoting SkyDrive as the best option to send files to email recipients. In this article, I will explain several reasons why SkyDrive is not a recommended option to send files to email recipients.

Microsoft has started promoting the SkyDrive for sending files through hotmail. They recently started the Attachments Suck campaign, promoting SkyDrive and making fun of sending files as attachments. In another article, I have explained why this campaign is a ridiculous campaign with a lot of data that are not supported by any statistical research.

Problems in sending files through SkyDrive to email recipients

Before you read further, read the security concerns in sending emails with files shared through SkyDrive.

Here are some of the problems in sending files through SkyDrive to email recipients:

1. Recipients can delete unwanted emails but the unwanted attachments will remain in the skydrive of the sender, making it a trash box.

2. You sent a file to someone but now it is your job to keep it safe for him until he is done with it.

3. Documents in the SkyDrive are no more reliable source for tracking. If you make an agreement with another party and send through email attachment, it will remain as a record for future reference. But if it is sent through SkyDrive, the sender can change it anytime and you cannot depend on it as an agreement made on a certain date.

4. How will you know if the files sent through SkyDrive are read by the recipient and no longer needed? You may have to keep sending emails every few hours asking 'Are you done with the attachment so that I can delete it'!

5. When you send emails to a recipient with attachments on SkyDrive, the recipient has to depend on 2 systems to access the full email - 1. the email service 2. the SkyDrive service. If either one goes down, he will lose access to the information. If the email is down, he will not have the link to access the file on SkyDrive. If SkyDrive is down, he cannot get the file obviously.

6. Many companies and offices allow email access but not internet access to websites. This means a good percentage of users cannot get the files on SkyDrive, making the specific email useless.

7. Many people use email clients like Outlook and download files when they are connected to the network and read the mails later offline. Skydrive attachments no longer work for them. If they see an email with SkyDrive attachments, they have to mark that email to read when they are online, making it a pain to manage such emails.

8. Maintenance of files on SkyDrive is another task in your list now. You may want to delete files from SkyDrive periodically to save space, but how will you know if the recipient still needs them?

9. Why should you be in charge of safe keeping files meant for someone else?

10. The email recipient will not have any confidence that the attachment file will be safe in someone else's SkyDrive. This means, the recipient has to download the file and save on to his computer, making it another pain to manage such files in his computer. If the sender delete the file in skydrive, the recipient cannot access it anymore, resulting in an error like this:

SkyDrive sucks - File deleted error

11. Security of files sent from Hotmail using SkyDrive is a big concern. Files can be accessed by anyone who get the URL. If the recipient use a public computer to read the mail and access the file from SkyDrive, the url can remain in the history of the browser and another user on the same computer can easily get access to the same file or even all other such shared files from the same user. This is a big security risk for sensitive documents.

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

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Guest Author: wixostrix12 Feb 2012

SkyDrive does require some file management and maintenance, but it is the users job to keep their files organized. If you want to get rid of a file that is shared with someone else, what's so hard about telling them you want to delete it so if they need it they should save their own copy? Another feature Microsoft could implement in the future, saving a copy to your SkyDrive. As well as, an option for the original creator to disable that if they don't want the file copied.

After sending an SkyDrive hosted attachment via Hotmail, you can go to your SkyDrive and change it to view only. Microsoft could make this an option when originally attaching the file, as well as requiring login to view the file. That way a recipient couldn't modify anything. Also, SkyDrive tracks versions of Office documents so you can see when and what modifications were made to an original file.

The other points that article raise are use with companies. Again, SkyDrive is a consumer service, not enterprise. I would assume most IT managers would prefer any their employees to stick to traditional attachment methods and whatever on-premise and cloud storage solution they control.

Regarding the loss of service issue, you actually only have to worry about one service going down and that is SkyDrive. If one of our email services are down, or both, the file is still shared and accessible upon logging into your SkyDrive.

So the only real issue remains is files being publicly accessible by default.

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