File Sync and Share Vendors Innovate, Businesses Win

6 minute read
Virginia Backaitis avatar

Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) vendors keep making news. And regardless of how brilliant some of it is, we can’t devote a single article to each new development that emerges every day. So while we covered Box earlier today, there are other notable developments that we don’t want you to miss.

Accellion Takes a Page from Box’s Book

Accellion is probably the most popular EFSS provider you’ve never heard of. Not only was it rated as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, but it was also probably the first EFSS vendor to bag a 100,000 user sale. The client was Verizon Wireless and that was more than a few years ago.

The reason the company hasn’t been on your radar screen is pretty simple: it targets IT when it sells versus marketing to end users by offering free services, like Box and Dropbox do.

The strategy seems to have been pretty successful so far. They have over 2100 enterprise clients that have deployed Accellion company wide. Compare this to other EFSS vendors who consider companies as clients once an enterprise writes them a check, whether it’s for five users or 100,000.

And while Gartner -- and others -- call Accellion an EFSS provider, the company describes itself as a mobile content platform, according to Paula Skokowski, the company’s chief marketing officer. The other differentiator is that Accellion doesn’t have much of an interest in storing your files for you. Most of its customers keep them on their own private clouds, but they can also be stored on Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or any other drive an enterprise chooses.

Accellion is a software provider, above and beyond anything else.

Today Accellion is announcing, kiteworks Team Starter. It’s a Box-like play which invites teams of individual workers to download kiteworks for teams, its mobile content solution, for free on a 30 day trial. Your CIO or IT manager does not need to know about it. (Though Accellion isn’t telling you to keep it a secret.)

And should you need instruction or support during the trial period, Accellion will provide videos as well as helpdesk-like support for the duration of the trial. The company hopes that users will find so much value in kiteworks Team Starter that they’ll become paid users when the trial period is over. At that point kiteworks for Teams is available for $75 per month for up to 15 users.

What’s in the name kiteworks you may be wondering?

The idea is that you can be in the cloud (sharing and collaborating in a mobile world) but tethered to the ground so that your data and files are always secure, according to Skokowski.

It’s a good strategy and, in a sense, the antithesis of what cloud-only Box or AWS Zocalo has to offer.
By the way, in our most recent conversation with Box boss Aaron Levie, he didn’t rule out the possibility of Box offering an on-prem solution someday.

VMWare’s AirWatch and Box Partner to Keep Mobile Content Apps Secure

Content, files and data are going mobile and to the cloud — if they’re not already there, that is. And keeping everything available, accessible via mobile devices, and secure is a challenge becausecloud applications need to integrate with the enterprise mobility management platforms to check if the device attempting to access the files is being managed by the company. Otherwise a business could be putting highly private or valuable information into the wrong hands.

Box and VMWare’s AirWatch (we’ll have more to share about them later this week) have partnered to solve this problem by integrating their products to control access to content stored in Box by enterprise managed devices.

This wasn’t an easy problem to solve, especially because there are so many apps and so many versions of them. Box, for example, offers Box for Good Technology, Box for iPad and iPhone, Box for ME, Box for MDM and so on. It should also be noted that mobile and cloud security requirements for sharing files vary from country to country as well as between countries.

Learning Opportunities

What this has meant for EFSS mobile device management vendors and developers is a never-ending and unsustainable struggle to keep up.

AirWatch and Box have partnered to try to solve this problem by creating and establishing a standards-based model that provides a framework for setting configuration settings such as user information and preferences, single sign-on (SSO) and security controls, among other settings. The idea is to provide globally distributed organizations with access to robust security capabilities from AirWatch by VMware for content stored on Box, driving collaboration without compromising critical security requirements and access controls.

Egnyte’s New Release Speeds Sync and Manages Sync Devices

Today’s information worker wants access to the right, real time information right now.

And whether you’re accessing files via mobile device from wherever it resides, or collaborating on the cloud, enterprise information must remain both compliant and secure.

Earlier today EFSS vendor Egnyte released Storage Sync 10.0 to address these challenges. Features include:

  • Data Prioritization and Policy-Based Sync: Administrators can now set policies to prioritize the syncing of data between a storage device and the cloud so users can gain quick access to their most essential data first. Sync can be prioritized by the most recent version or by file types, and administrators can also exclude certain file types from syncing.
  • 200 times Faster Sync: The new sync engine makes it significantly faster to sync files and folders between the cloud and local storage. Users will experience phenomenally faster (up to 200 times over the previous version) sync speeds, especially for file and large folder renames and deletes.
  • Central Cloud Dashboard: A new dashboard in the cloud will track all of an organization’s Storage Sync devices, making it easy to monitor and diagnose the health of each device. The cloud becomes a central point where admins can control local storage devices.
  • Simplified Administration: Storage Sync is designed to integrate with Active Directory, LDAP and SSO to simplify user management behind the firewall and maintain a central source for defining and managing users

Egnyte’s enterprise customers will, no doubt, delight in the new features and capabilities offered by the release. The Central Cloud Dashboard offers “nice to have” administrative capabilities.

That being said, the data prioritization and policy-based Sync that promises to offer greater speed is also impressive and may very well be key to Egnyte’s growth.

EFSS Getting Hotter

We can’t say it often enough or loud enough that the EFSS market is both evolving and hot. With five announcements in just four business days, it’s hard to imagine when anyone actually sleeps, including the majority of enterprise and business IT managers that have yet to select a solution.

Gartner, Forrester and other analysts assure us that the market will morph and/or consolidate. Until then, rates of innovation will be high and competition, though gentlemanly, will be ruthless.

And if there’s any vendor that wants to rest on its size or its laurels, forget it -- this is “we try harder time” for all.