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Enterprise File Sync & Share Solutions: What's the Difference?

2014-29-August-Confusion.jpgHey IT Manager: if you don’t think your company has a file sync and share solution, you’re fooling yourself. By some estimates, over one third of your employees are using one as many as four times per day. And if protecting your company’s information is your responsibility that spells trouble. Because whether you want to admit it or not, you've lost control.

Bad as that sounds, you’re hardly alone. More than three-quarters of companies have yet to choose an Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solution(s). And there are many, many to choose from.

Gartner, in its July 2014 Magic Quadrant report on the EFSS market, said that there were more than 100 vendors vying for your business. That’s a bit overwhelming, no? And even if you were to look at only the 19 that made the MQ, it’s still too many. Not only that, but now many of these vendors are pushing out new capabilities, new interfaces, new storage limits and pricing updates every few weeks — we can’t write often enough or fast enough to cover them all.

That being said, there’s good news as well. Competition causes everyone to come to the table with their best play and to keep improving on it. What that means at this point is that, in most cases, your cloud storage limits are nearing infinity. If you’re shopping, you can practically take that criteria off of your evaluation list.

Leading EFSS vendors and analysts will tell you that it’s features, services and even software you should look at and that that’s what you’re paying for. And while some analysts say the market is quickly becoming commoditized, we beg to differ.

In that light, we asked a number of providers who made it into the MQ the following question:

With all the recent changes in the EFSS landscape over the past few weeks such as vendors dropping prices, raising storage limits or eliminating them completely, the differentiators via that criteria have all but vanished. So the question now is what makes you different from your competitors? While Cloud-only vs. Hybrid is an obvious differentiator, what do you specifically offer that separates you from the pack?

Here are their answers, in alphabetical order by vendor name.

Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Accellion


One area where Accellion is light years ahead is with our technical infrastructure and security capabilities. We have a three-tier architecture that allows the web, application, and storage tiers to be placed anywhere in the network, independent of each other. For example, the web tier can be placed in the DMZ, so mobile access is easy for internal employees and external vendors, while the application and storage tiers can be placed behind the internal firewall for enhanced security. Each tier has a unique authentication token, making it exponentially harder for an intrusion or data breach to occur. Data storage is a commodity, which is why we’re seeing so many prices drop to zero. Winners in the EFSS market won’t be will be chosen based on how many terabytes of storage they offer, but on how secure we keep our customers’ content.

John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, AirWatch by VMware

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The content storage wars provide a great opportunity for AirWatch Secure Content Locker to accelerate customer adoption. Different business units within an organization often use various cloud repositories, but also require access to network file servers like SharePoint. With integration into more than 35 content repositories, Secure Content Locker provides one interface with advanced encryption and secure collaboration across business units and the extended enterprise of contractors, suppliers and third party vendors.

In addition to being storage agnostic, we built Secure Content Locker from the ground up to integrate with the AirWatch enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, which provides additional features for security, cost controls and collaboration. Combined with the AirWatch platform, IT departments can provide added layers of security to end users for certain types of content, such as the ability to restrict a file like a board book to be viewed only in a certain location, during a certain period of time or both. We also extend powerful telecom expense avoidance controls that are unique to AirWatch, such as the ability to prevent large files from being downloaded over a cellular network. With added security measures, including watermarking, screen capture restrictions and jailbreak detection, we provide customers with full data loss prevention capabilities and the advanced encryption for data at rest, in transit and while being viewed.

Now as part of VMware, we have the unique advantage of working with VMware's network of 75,000 partners and 500,000 customers. We believe our continued innovation, viability and customer adoption rate position Secure Content Locker as a clear leader in the industry.

Bill Carovano, senior director, ShareFile Enterprise, Citrix

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The price of cloud storage isn't particularly relevant to our customers or our strategy. Simple cloud storage by itself isn't why customers choose ShareFile.

The value that customers derive from ShareFile is via the workflows that we enable and integrate with. A good example of this is a mobile workflow that involves Office file editing or PDF annotation within the same app where you access your files (and where they are securely encrypted). Routing a file for approval with an electronic signature is another example. When it comes to our largest customers, most use ShareFile either with on-premises storage or to mobilize data in existing systems such as SharePoint or file shares.

ShareFile is a standalone product but it's also part of the broader Citrix solution. It's part of our EMM offering XenMobile (which, like ShareFile is a Gartner MQ "Leader" in its respective market) and is integrated with our virtual app/desktop (XenApp / XenDesktop) products, as well as the Citrix Workspace Suite. In fact, we're the only vendor with an EFSS solution that is specially optimized for use with virtual app and desktop infrastructures.

Kitty Oestlien, head of marketing, Dropbox for Business


We hear from our users that they choose Dropbox for three key reasons.

First, it really starts with best-in-class sync. It doesn’t matter what kind of features or functionality a service offers unless you know your files will always sync accurately, quickly, and reliably. Providing that kind of sync quality means a lot of complex things done right under the hood — like delta sync (if you make a small change to a large PPT, we’ll only update that small change, which lets us sync 10s of times faster) or streaming sync.

Second, it’s about content availability where and how you need it. We’re cross-platform, support a huge range of file types, and have integrations with more than 300,000 apps that enhance your workflows.

Third, it boils down to ease of use. User experience and simplicity are at the heart of how we build product, and we hear from customers every day that Dropbox “just works” (no training, no slogging through a ton of complex settings and steps). This is the result of us sweating over all the ways we can make complex problems really seamless and simple (a great example of this is our new desktop connect flow).

The strength of our core Dropbox product applies to Dropbox for Business, too — with the added differentiation of familiarity and adoption. Dropbox has 300 million users, meaning businesses are choosing a solution their employees already use and love (chances are, their partners and contractors do too). And for IT, they’re able to deploy a solution they know will be adopted, merging control and visibility with a great return on investment.

Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte

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