Sync This, Share That: What's Up in EFSS

5 minute read
Virginia Backaitis avatar

We know that we don’t have to tell you that the day when every worker at your company stores his content in the cloud isn’t too far away. In fact, at some enterprises, it’s already here.

A study conducted by Forrester Research reveals that 70 percent of employees use some kind of enterprise file sync and sharing (EFSS) service every single day — and that nearly one in five use it hourly.

Needless to say, this presents an unprecedented opportunity for vendors, which might well explain why the market is so dense. According to some estimates there are as many as 1,000 of them vying for our business.

Try as we might, there’s no way we can keep up with even a tenth of them. It seems that every time we write an article about EFSS, we get three to five vendors we’ve never heard of pitch us on stories.

Much as we might like to give you the skinny on each, it’s just not feasible. So what we’re going to do instead is keep you up to date on those that we feel are market makers or are doing something unique and especially interesting.

Are We at the Tipping Point?

Both EMC Syncplicity and Box reported huge enterprise wins this month.

EMC Syncplicity, which generally doesn’t publicly report the details behind customer wins, had an EMC big wig spill the beans. Though he didn’t name the client, EMC Information Infrastructure CEO David Goulden said this on an EMC earnings conference call:

Syncplicity's trial implementations quickly go viral in the enterprise, but it also makes sense to host Syncplicity in a private cloud, driving storage demand as utilization gross. A great example is a tech company that started off with a 500-seat trial a year ago, bumped it to 6,000 just a few months later —  is now at 50,000 seats and on the way to 150,000 seats.”

Not to be outdone by Syncplicity, Box recently landed GE as a client. As far as we know, this is the biggest EFSS deal to date. And given that only three companies in the world employ more people than GE, it’s likely to stay that way for a while.

Box CEO Aaron Levie wrote in a blog post that his company’s product will be the corporate standard for the 300,000 employee firm.

Dropbox for Business Earns an Enterprise Win

Dropbox put out a press release last week announcing that Spotify will be keeping its employees’ content  in sync and in the cloud using Dropbox for Business. Much as we love both companies, it’s hard to shout woo-hoo about this, according to Wikipedia the music streaming company employs about 1,200.

Compare that to Box’s and Syncplicity’s recent wins…

Should Dropbox Target SMBs?

That being said, Dropbox claims it has four million businesses using its service. While we have no idea how many of them are paid, maybe Drew Houston and company should go after the small to mid-sized (SMB) market which EMC Syncplicity and Box may not  be focusing on at the moment.

New Digital Rights Management from Accellion

Accellion’s market differentiator is its ability to provide secure enterprise solutions that improve mobile productivity. The word “secure”, in the context they use the word, means “private cloud”. They’re skeptical about storing files on the public cloud.

Learning Opportunities

Last week, the company introduced new, user-friendly, integrated digital rights management (DRM) features for their kiteworks solution. It gives users the ability to control the viewing, copying and altering of shared documents. 

The company says that its other new features include the ability to share files in a View Only mode with document watermarking and full-content search. They also make it easy for file owners to keep recipients from downloading, forwarding, or copy and pasting any part of the file.  In addition, kiteworks now also includes the ability to withdraw files, an extremely useful feature when a sender makes a mistake, either by sending a file to the wrong recipient or sending the wrong file.  (How many of us haven’t done that?)

Box Overhauls Android App

User Experience rules in the EFSS market because this group of users, more than most, will switch apps as soon as something is not to their liking. The powers that be know this, so they’re constantly striving to deliver the most elegant app on the market.

Last week Box unveiled a revamped Android App, which the company calls one of the biggest updates in four years. It includes support for more than 100 file formats, including Microsoft Office, lets you run PowerPoint decks from within a Box app and much more.

What’s especially interesting about the announcement is Box’s pitch to LG’s smartphone and tablet users. Here’s how it explains in a blog post:

Any new Box user will receive a free 50GB account for one year when they download and log into Box for Android on any LG G-series device. Existing Box users will receive the upgrade for one year when they log into Box for Android on their G-series device. The offer will be valid through March 31, 2016. After the one-year expiration date, users will be downgraded back down to 10GB accounts.”

Why is Box doing this? To win new users. In this case, they are probably gunning for Dropbox converts who will download the app for free cloud storage and then stay, over the long haul, for the experience, which they will want to share with their coworkers.

Is that all?

As we said earlier, no. The EFSS market is moving too fast and has too many players.

But stay tuned to CMSWire for the market’s biggest and/or most interesting announcements.