Don’t Get Fooled by Sync-and-Share Workarounds

Posted by Ankur Panchbudhe on November 11 2014

Gartner, in its recently released Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS), mentions that the EFSS market is maturing. Further, it classified the EFSS offerings into two broad types – Destinations and Extensions. A “Destination” offering is one that was built for the sole purpose of sync and sharing of corporate content. And, an “Extension” offering, as the label suggests, extends vendor’s existing solution with sync and share capabilities added.

It is not surprising, looking at the market opportunity, we have started seeing vendors from other segments - like data storage (NAS, Backup, WAFS), virtualization, security, collaboration, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Mobile Device Management (MDM), Virtual Data Rooms (VDR) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) - positioning themselves as EFSS vendors. We believe that “Extension” products are workarounds (retrofitting is probably the better word) around their native capabilities and hence not capable of fulfilling enterprise IT requirements of security, control and visibility, and they also fall short of end-user expectations of consumer-like mobile-first experience.

What an end-user expects from an EFSS solution is:

  • Freedom – With the rise in "Consumerization” trend, people are expecting consumer-like experience from the applications they use at work. This is particularly more visible in work-life because of apps like Dropbox. Freedom to ubiquitously and uniformly access all corporate content (including on-premise ECMs) from any device (including personally owned), and from anywhere (even beyond corporate firewalls), is the primary end-user requirement. It includes ability to edit, annotate and share files with integrated Mobile Collaboration features – and everything with mobile-first consumer experience.
  • Privacy – With the trend of BYOD rising, people expect to use their own devices for official work without having to carry multiple devices. But, unfortunately, enterprises have adopted the wrong approach of Mobile Device Management, which effectively gives control of employee-owned devices to IT, thereby creating privacy issues resulting in litigations.
  • Efficiency – Individuals expect a smooth and simple user experience, which will be a natural extension to their normal workflow, particularly for mobility where any additional efforts (e.g. dealing with a VPN) is an overkill.

Here's what enterprise IT expects from an EFSS solution:

  • Complete coverage – IT expects that any EFSS they choose should be able to give access, sync and share capabilities irrespective of where the corporate contents are – that includes all ECMs as well as user devices (laptops, desktop, mobile phones and tablets). Sync-n-share capabilities limited to only one ECM or one business application are seen as severely limiting.
  • Security and Control – It is important for IT to ensure that whenever content goes outside the corporate perimeter, it should be secure, traceable and controlled with capabilities like Data Loss Prevention, Data Protection and Digital Rights Management (DRM) such that the data is secure to protect Intellectual Property and meet regulatory compliances.
  • ROI – IT expects that EFSS solution should be able to leverage existing investment in infrastructure. It should be agnostic to storage, ECM, business applications and should be location independent (on-premise or cloud).

Some of the EFSS workarounds in the market are:

  • Data storage/NAS: NetApp, Hitachi
  • Endpoint Backup: Acronis, Druva, Code42
  • Collaboration: Google Drive, Huddle, Novell
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM): Alfresco, Box, Microsoft (Sharepoint, Office 365), Workshare
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM): Airwatch (Secure Content Locker), Good
  • Virtual Data Rooms (VDR): Intralinks
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): Watchdox

So, whenever you are evaluating EFSS, make sure that you have taken good care of the points above, from both end-user and IT perspectives. Be careful of workarounds. And keep in mind that Vaultize is built from ground-up as an enterprise platform keeping both end-user and IT perspectives in mind with a holistic content-centric approach; in next blog on this topic, we will share why Vaultize is the best option for you and how it addresses end-user and IT expectations covered above.

We are also running a separate blog series on Comparing Top 5 Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) and Mobile Collaboration Solutions (which are: Accellion, Citrix Sharefile, EMC Syncplicity, Watchdox and Vaultize)

Look at Why Vaultize to know the reasons why enterprise IT loves us. Contact us for more information or directly ask for free trial. Also you can download a free virtual appliance with 10-user perpetual license.

Topics: Solutions, Competition

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