Show me a company that doesn’t provide a way for its knowledge workers to share and collaborate on documents via their mobile devices and in the cloud, and I’ll show you a company that has a big problem.

And the problem is bigger than a bunch of bright employees who are supposed to be doing their jobs with their hands tied behind their backs and an anchor attached to their feet. Why? Because they are lobbing documents into the heavens anyway.

That’s bad for your company and bad for your job, Mr. CIO.

But with as much marketing material as we see about Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solutions that have been built to address the aforementioned issue, the reality is that fewer than ten percent of companies have them in place. And while some managers might argue that they lack the security and other features that their current way of doing business provides, it’s an argument that loses more and more validity each and every day.

EFSS vendors are constantly making big moves to let IT managers sleep at night and to keep end users happy.

Here are some examples that think are worth spotlighting this week.

Citrix Brings Ease, Security, Compliance

There’s a reason Citrix sits high above the crowd in Gartner’s EFSS Magic Quadrant. It simply provides its customers with what they need to get the job done.

Starting today Citrix ShareFile customers can send encrypted emails from Microsoft Outlook to secure the content of messages, in compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA. This means that both the email and the attachments are secure.

Better yet, all the recipient has to do to retrieve the file is to enter their first and last name and e-mail address. No hassle for IT. No hassle for the end user.

And just as Microsoft announced Customer Lockbox to give customer the right to decide if an outside party could access its data residing on Microsoft's cloud, Citrix raised its ShareFile Restricted StorageZones play. It uniquely offers:

  • Metadata encryption key ownership: Citrix has no ability to access customer files and no ability to provide customer data to any other third party. Data remains fully under the control of the customer.
  • No visibility to files or metadata: File and folder metadata are encrypted with the customer’s private key before being written to the ShareFile cloud, so Citrix has zero knowledge of file and folder names.
  • Flexibility and data sovereignty: With ShareFile, customers can store data on premises or in the cloud, and in either case they can use their own encryption keys. Customers have the option to keep their data in their country, city or even behind their firewall to comply with local regulations and protect sensitive data and intellectual property.

Shhh! Dropbox Notes is in Beta

Dropbox hasn’t released this to the press yet, but go to this link and you can sign up to beta test Dropbox Notes.

Dropbox is pitching it as a tool to help people to “write together," and it’s likely to be headed to Dropbox for Business. It’s probably built from the assets of HackPad and will provide collaborative capabilities. We’ll be interested to see if it looks more like Evernote, Google Docs or Box Notes.

Learning Opportunities

Blackberry Buys Watchdox

Most of us think of Blackberry as a device maker and we all know where there that business has gone. But the reality is that the company has recently made a pivot from hardware to software and its technology now also supports both Android and Windows devices.

Blackberry offers products like, its still popular messaging system, BBM and BlackBerry Balance, an app that separates work content from personal content. Its BlackBerry Enterprise Server is designed to manage thousands of employees, their devices and their applications in one system.

So its acquisition of Watchdox, a Visionary in Gartner’s MQ for EFSS seems like a smart buy. Watchdox, for its part, took a unique EFSS strategy allowing only one-way traffic from a Cloud drive and into Watchdox. This meshes with Blackberry’s Enterprise focused strategy.

EMC Syncplicity Offers Customer Managed Keys

When it comes to its commitment to keeping customer files safe, Syncplicity always plays a strong hand.  

Up until now it has offered:

  • Hybrid cloud storage with StorageVaults for compliance and data residency
  • StorageVault Authentication for additional privacy protection
  • Secure Shared Files for embedding rights management into the shared files

This week it added Customer Managed Keys into the mix via an on-premise Rights Management Server. It gives customers the ability to choose to have rights management keys stored “in the cloud” by Syncplicity, or in their own data centers, completely out of the reach of Syncplicity’s servers. In the latter case the Enterprise has complete control over both the content and the keys for the shared files.  

What does this mean for Syncplicity customers? That even the most cautious, or the most paranoid, can relax, the consumer-like end user experience won’t come at the expense of security at all.

Let the Good Times Roll

These are good times for EFSS customers. Choices abound. And because the landscape is so competitive, vendors are forced to compete not on price, but on the features and benefits they provide.