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In this blog, so far we’ve discussed in detail the pros and cons of Public Folders, why users love Public Folders, how to get the most out of public folders, and finally, why smartphones hate Public Folders, but what we haven’t spent a lot of time on is why you should be syncing them to your smartphones instead of using them as a view-and-forget repository. Here are five reasons why you should stop viewing your Public Folders and start syncing them to your smartphone.

Reason Number 1: Syncing Public Folders allows actually viewing contacts and calendars contained in the Public Folders.

This one does seem a bit of a no-brainer, but most people don’t realize that Public folders can’t be accessed on smartphones. At all. Public Folders are primarily designed as a central repository for contact and calendar information; however, all that information, which was designed to be viewed on mobile, is completely inaccessible. It’s a bewildering decision on Microsoft’s part, and there appear to be no plans to change it anytime soon. Assuming you’re currently not syncing your Public Folder, the next best solution is to use a third-party application (for example, CiraSync); however, this still requires you to manually load the app, open up the Public Folder, and find what you are looking for each and every time information is required. Instead, by syncing your Public Folder to your smartphone, this can be circumvented entirely by having the data live constantly on your mobile device.

Reason Number 2: Syncing allows automatic update of shared contacts and calendars to your smartphone.

Not syncing the Public Folders means all you can do is view the current contents within the folders. If something is added, updated, or altered, you have to go back and look at the folder again . . . with really no means of knowing something changed until you find out. By syncing the Public Folders to your smartphone, you also enable an automatic sync, which means you now have access to live shared calendars and contacts on your smartphone. A meeting gets canceled? The update is instantly on your phone. A phone number changes? The update is instantly on your phone. With a standard view-Public-Folders-on-your-phone solution you often won’t know until it’s too late of a meeting change or contact update, but, by enabling automatic sync, this is now a problem of the past.

Reason Number 3: Business continuity, security, and offline access.

Many companies use Public Folders as a primary means of data storage, shared contacts, and emergency procedures. Consider what happens should you find yourself out of service, offline, in an emergency, or if there’s a catastrophic issue with Microsoft? If you’re simply viewing the existing public folder—one thing will happen—you’ll be locked out. Syncing Public Folder content to your smartphone solves this issue. Instead of having to worry about things like “Can I get to it in time, find what I need, and go from there?” With automated syncing of Public Folders to your smartphone, you can be assured the latest information you need is live and up-to-date on your phone.

Reason Number 4: Data and cost savings

Hundreds of people loading up their Public Folder across numerous devices dozens of times a day adds up. In not just data costs, but productivity losses as well. By enabling automatic syncing of Public Folder content, you can not only ensure the information is already live on your phone—whats more incremental updates ensure that only new and updated information is pushed to devices, saving huge amounts of data.

Reason Number 5: Central management

One of the really fantastic benefits of having Public Folders automatically synced to every mobile phone in the company is that it removes the many-to-many aspect of Public Folders and creates a one-to-many scenario. When each individual user is updating their phone on an ad-hoc basis, it creates a situation in which dozens of individuals are manually updating who and what they need, when and where they want. However, by allowing the Public Folder to be synced according to distribution groups, it allows one individual to control the distribution of data, which not only saves time and money, but increases accuracy and deliverability. To automatically sync Public Folders as an individual user, get started here with the CiraSync Personal Edition (always free). To set Public Folders automatically syncing to all smartphones in your business, try a free, 30-day, 100-user Enterprise Edition Trial (no credit card, no contract).