Hey CIO, get with the program. Employees are accessing your content remotely. And though they may be using the service you’ve told them to use, they’re probably using something else too. We’ve seen surveys that say that the average employee uses three to five file sharing solutions.

A recent study conducted on the behalf of Soonr, a provider of secure file sharing and collaboration services for business, reveals that though 89 percent of full-time employees access files remotely, only 22 percent are aware of a company-approved file-sharing system in their workplace. That means that a whole lot of content is floating out in the wild outside of your control.

It’s a big problem, and also a huge opportunity for the 100 plus Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) providers who want to solve it. They’re continuously raising their games to help companies protect files and comply with regulations, to win trust, to create emotional bonds with workers by providing them with awesome user experiences and to help make-work more productive.

Though we cover the EFSS market regularly, we can’t write an article about each vendor every time they make a move. So we’re highlighting those that we haven’t covered but are noteworthy.

Search, Security Everyone Will Love

Dropbox for Business introduced a search feature users will love and security that IT has been praying about.

Business users want to use Dropbox; it’s like the Coke of personal file storage in the cloud. And now that Dropbox and Dropbox for Business are two of the three defaults to which Microsoft Office 365 users can save their files (the other is One Drive) it’s likely to get even more popular. But that’s not the only reason. Late last week Dropbox announced a full text search feature that can be used when you can’t remember where you stored a particular file. All you have to do is enter a word in the file and Dropbox for Business will give you a list of documents containing the word.

But that’s not all. Dropbox for Business now also makes it easy for IT administrators to specify the default settings for shared links, which users can change if needed. Admins now also have the ability to remove shared links created by team members, to give them further control over how company information is shared. And with new unified sharing settings, shared folder owners can ensure that any links created to folder content follow the same permission settings as the folder.

Whether these controls will quell the concerns of IT has yet to be seen, but be rest assured that Dropbox for Business is aggressively working to become more and more enterprise worthy. And chances are good that IT managers are cheering Dropbox for Business boss Ilya Fushman and his team on; after all, saying “no” to Dropbox’s 300 million loyal users doesn’t make you very popular.

Opportunities for AirWatch

The content storage wars spell opportunity for secure content locker by AirWatch for VMWare.

Enterprise IT managers are becoming increasingly stressed by the large number of places in which content is stored. That spells opportunity to John Marshall, founder of AirWatch because his Secure Content Locker may just be the fix for the problem.

“Different business units within an organization often use various cloud repositories, but also require access to network file servers like SharePoint,” said Marshall. Because Secure Content Locker integrates into more than 35 content repositories it can be the single interface with advanced encryption and secure collaboration across business units and the extended enterprise of contractors, suppliers and third party vendors.

Last week, AirWatch announced updates for Secure Content Locker v. 2.3 on iOS. They include: 

  • File creation: Users can create new Microsoft Office and text documents, capture and upload audio files, images and videos and save annotated and edited files to a user-defined repository, all from an iOS device.
  • Personal Content enhancements: Users can access a Recent Activity feed for actions performed in Personal Content, mention other users in comments and see the owners’ name on shared folders.
  • Repository and search enhancements: Users can upload content to OneDrive and Google Drive repositories and can search based on content keywords.
  • Compatible with iOS 8

Accellion’s kiteworks is a Platform

Late last week Accellion announced that it is now a mobile content platform on which third party vendors can create applications that leverage its EFSS service. In a blog post the company claims to differentiate itself from the likes of Dropbox, Box and others because it features a secure mobile container with an integrated mobile editor, so that workers can create, edit or annotate business content securely on smartphones, tablets and other devices

“IT and mobile executives are under pressure to create mobile applications that ensure confidential enterprise information stays secure and compliant while helping mobile employees to work smarter and more productively,” said Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Accellion.

He adds that his company’s new kiteworks mobile content platform facilitates secure content access, editing, creation and sharing on mobile and wearable devices, like Google glass. As we’ve written before, kiteworks out-of-the-box security and control features, including remote-wipe, whitelisting, encryption, and comprehensive tracking and reporting features that enable IT teams to ensure data security and compliance with HIPAA, SOX and GLBA which may be exactly what some enterprises are looking for.

Accellion’s opportunity is to attract vendors and enterprises who want to integrate with kiteworks and to then make it easy.

Setting Standards

EFSS vendors are under increasing pressure to keep content secure as it moves between personal computers, laptops, mobile devices and even IoT endpoints. Though almost every EFSS vendor claims that it can do so, Watchdox said that it has an industry first solution to both detect and protect sensitive files everywhere, on every device via integration with Symantec DLP (data loss prevention).

“IT and security teams can now apply data-centric controls to sensitive files on the fly, including encryption, digital rights management, tracking and revocation, which continue to apply wherever the files travel,” said the company in a prepared statement.

Not only that, but it also protects data on its way out of the enterprise without impeding workflows.

So, for example, a company could use the solution to protect an email attachment detected to be potentially sensitive. The file would still be delivered to the recipient, but would be controlled, tracked and even be revocable were IT to find that it should not have been shared.

This also applies to other repositories that may contain sensitive information, such as file shares or SharePoint because the integration enables sensitive data protection at scale. An organization subject to PCI compliance, for example, could scan millions of files, and automatically encrypt and apply DRM and tracking to every file that was found to contain cardholder data. Those files would then generate access logs to facilitate compliance with the audit log-focused requirement 10 of the PCI Standard.

You can find more information here.

Get Smart with Syncplicity University

Because EMC Syncplicity has enterprise security and storage options pretty well pegged (after all, that’s its mothership’s DNA), it’s now heavily focused on user experiences and customer successes. (Although we suspect that there’s a back end announcement on the way.)

Jeetu Patel, General Manager of EMC Syncplicity, said that they’re now going big on Syncplicity University. It’s a free, online educational portal specifically designed to help further empower customers and to drive awareness, adoption and engagement of Syncplicity within the enterprise.

Not only that, but Patel said that Syncplicity’s enterprise customers are enjoying gold standard service and also reaping the benefits of unlimited cloud storage as well as support for unlimited on premise StorageVaults through their policy-driven hybrid cloud.

Needless to say, the EFSS market has been busy and we expect we’ll see at least one half of a dozen additional announcements before the end of the year.

The good news? It doesn’t look like prices are rising (at least for the most part) as the vendors work 24/7 to create better products.