How to assess and select enterprise file sync-and-sharing software
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
There are various vendors in the enterprise file sync-and-sharing market -- some are household names, while others are less well-known. These vendors bring both shared and unique value to this space. What makes a product the right software for a company depends on what an enterprise specifically needs to perform enterprise file sync and sharing to its full benefit.
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The proper EFSS technology can help businesses utilize the cloud to implement a standardized technology and business workflows that can generate a positive return on investment. Here are in-depth overviews of the EFSS platforms available. These vendors were selected by TechTarget editors after extensive research into the top market-share holders and seeing who fit the presented buying criteria the best.
Primarily for large and medium-sized enterprises with rigorous compliance requirements, kiteworks enables organizations to extend their existing applications, content and workflows to let users inside the enterprise to securely collaborate with external users, while maintaining complete control and visibility to achieve compliance. Current features allow for secure email and content sharing, as well as content editing, versioning, commenting and tasking. It also supports Microsoft Office 365 integration with the kiteworks mobile app, in addition to antivirus and data loss prevention (DLP) scans on file uploads and downloads from enterprise content sources, such as OpenText, Documentum and Box, among others. Kiteworks’ hardened virtual appliance manages metadata, storage and connections to enterprise content management systems and also allows for flexibility in deployment (on-premises, infrastructure-as-a-service or private cloud software as a service). The product also integrates with authentication systems, such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocl and Single Sign On, and admins can use its APIs to integrate with customer relationship management and ERP tools.
With its user-based subscription, pricing is available for Enterprise, Enterprise Connect and Business editions on Accellion's website. A 30-day trial of the full version is also available.
Well-established in the mobile space, BlackBerry Workspaces integrates with traditional BlackBerry systems, iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS to help users access, edit, share and control sensitive files from both mobile and traditional desktop systems. Workspaces has digital rights management features that allow users to control who can interact with specific content, as well as track, revoke and expire file access.
Workspaces is available in on-premises, cloud and hybrid options that integrate with content repositories, DLP and mobile device management platforms. Standard pricing is $15 per user per month. Prospective customers should contact their sales department for an enterprise quote.
More than enterprise file sync and sharing, Box considers itself a cloud content management (CCM) technology. Box powers more than 74,000 businesses globally and 64% of the Fortune 500 companies. Box aims to provide a platform for content with a consistent set of security, governance and discovery capabilities, as well as surface content through any of Box's almost 2,000 applications with which it integrates. This CCM system focuses on various use cases, including productivity, collaboration, business process modernization, IT modernization and migration to cloud. Box services SMBs, midsize enterprises, as well as large and global enterprises. Box runs on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Chrome OS.
Sold directly from vendors, channel partners and systems integration partners, Box offers Starter, Business, Business Plus and Enterprise options starting at $5 per user per month. A two-week trial is available as well.
Citrix ShareFile is an enterprise content collaboration service that connects users to the files they need across multiple repositories and aims to foster the secure exchange of data between teams and companies. Newly introduced features include Advanced Document Workflows, ShareFile Drive Mapper and Exchange Connector. One thing that differentiates ShareFile from competitors is its StorageZones feature that allows customers to securely share data and files from any source, including on-premises, in the cloud and other file-sharing services, while maintaining ShareFile's core security features. ShareFile is widely used in small businesses, midmarket corporations and large enterprises. The ShareFile platform is made up of a hosted -- and brandable -- web interface that is accessible through a unique connection URL. ShareFile is also accessible via an HTTP-based REST API that allows developers to utilize file-sharing functionality in their own custom applications. ShareFile also supports real-time chat and collaborative editing of Microsoft Office Online documents.
Pricing starts at $12 per user per month for small businesses and scales to enterprise customers with two editions called ShareFile Enterprise and ShareFile Platinum. SMB customers can buy direct, and enterprise licenses are sold through Citrix's more than 10,000 channel partners and over 40 ShareFile-only partners that extend ShareFile functionality into vertical and independent software vendor platforms. A 60-day trial is available from the Citrix website.
Dropbox markets itself as a platform that simplifies the way users can create, share and collaborate to meet their enterprise file sync-and-sharing needs. Users can store all of their files on Dropbox and access them from anywhere on any device. Dropbox.com is the main web interface, and clients exist for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux -- including for previous versions of each system -- as well as for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows phone, Windows tablet and mobile browsers. Dropbox has a range of offerings, including Dropbox Basic, free for 2 GB of space, and Dropbox Plus, $9 per month per user for consumers and end users, as well as a range of business and enterprise plans with multiple price points available directly from Dropbox or through reseller partners. For enterprise users, Dropbox Enterprise is designed to better meet the needs of larger organizations with features like advanced network control, domain capture and enterprise mobility management integration support. Additionally, Dropbox Paper is a new type of doc where teams can collaborate in a single space. With Dropbox Business, admins gain visibility into user activity in Paper, control document sharing and manage access to team content.
Enterprises can access Dropbox Business on a trial basis for 30 days.
Egnyte Connect positions itself as an enterprise file sync-and-sharing tool that enables users across all business verticals to securely access and share files and collaborate with colleagues and partners using their preferred devices. It aims to let users easily access business content residing both in the cloud and on-premises. Egnyte is different from freemium providers in that it has 100% paying customers. It is focused on business content collaboration tools rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Egnyte Connect separates content creation and collaboration from storage. This allows users to collaborate on content regardless of where it is located -- in the cloud, on premises or in a hybrid environment. Its API helps customers integrate with any cloud content – Amazon Web Services, Google, Azure, OpenStack, etc. -- as well as with on-premises content, such as NetApp, EMC and SharePoint. It also gives customers full control by utilizing their own in-house encryption and key management. It supports live coauthoring of Office 365 and Google documents, as well as assigning tasks, tagging users for notifications and integrating with collaboration tools such as Jive and Slack.
Egnyte Connect has three pricing plans and three tiers of support. It is sold through its direct sales force and through its partners and resellers. The product is priced per seat, which is variable based on number of users and functionality. A two-week trial of the platform is also available.
Google Drive for Work is marketed as a software that provides unlimited storage for files, folders and backups. Google Drive syncs files across traditional desktops, tablets and phones and also facilitates real-time collaboration and integration with third-party applications, such as DocuSign for e-signatures. Its admin console allows for companywide user management, auditing and reporting. Vault for eDiscovery helps with data retention, legal holds and investigations -- features that can be very appealing to larger enterprises. Given that Google Drive is part of G Suite, enterprises that are currently using that platform may find that it integrates well into their workflows.
Google Drive for Work is listed as $10 per user per month.
Intralinks markets its tools as focusing on content-centric business processes and specializing in sharing highly sensitive or regulated content with external business partners and customers. Intralinks includes plug-in-free information rights management tools for file-level security and control, regardless of location. It also features natively hosted, integrated and secure instances of Office Online apps, which allow for viewing and authoring tools directly within Intralinks data centers. Its ComplianceLink activity reports feature automates the delivery of audit data required for regulated industries.
Intralinks is sold directly, and there are Pro, Elite and Virtual Data Room editions. Licensing is variable based on use case with the most popular being per user/month and storage-based. A trial version is available, and the trial period is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business
OneDrive positions itself as a place to store all Office 365 files and discover, share and collaborate from any location and on any device. OneDrive continually updates desktop and mobile features across platforms, which include web, Windows, Mac OS and Linux on the desktop side and Windows, Android and iOS on the mobile side.
There are two editions of OneDrive: OneDrive Consumer and OneDrive for Business. OneDrive is licensed as part of Office 365. It is free for consumers, and business users get 1 TB of storage space per user. A standalone version is available for $5 per month with 1 TB of storage, $10 per month for unlimited storage or $12.50 per month, which includes an Office 365 license. A free 30-day trial version is available.
Syncplicity is another enterprise-ready file sync-and-sharing platform that positions itself as storage infrastructure consolidation that allows users to access all content on any device, as well as secure mobile collaboration, sharing and editing. It provides real-time document protection and backup and serves as a replacement for network file shares. There are three editions available: Personal, Business and Enterprise.
Personal is free for 10 GB of space and $60 per year for 100 GB. Business licenses are $60 per year per user with a minimum of three users, and Enterprise licenses serve a minimum of 25 users and can work as a cloud, on-premises or hybrid tool. Syncplicity offers a 30-day trial of its business edition.
VMware Content Locker
VMware Content Locker provides secure content access, collaboration and sharing from multiple repositories wherever users are located across web, desktop and mobile platforms. This enterprise file sync-and-sharing tool is broken into four main components: VMware Content Locker, Self Service Portal, Sync Client and RFS. Content Locker allows users to share files directly, tag, comment and add collaborators. Available on Windows, iOS and Android, organizations using Content Locker range from small businesses to multibillion-dollar organizations across a broad range of industries.
Available as on-premises and dedicated or shared cloud, as well as in standard and advanced editions, VMware Content Locker comes with various pricing options starting at $6.33 per device and $10 per user.
Enterprise file sync and sharing can bring enormous value to organizations of any size transacting business in any industry. As with any IT investment, having well-defined business needs is just as important as vendor or product selection. Ensure you fully understand what the overall goals are for enterprise file sync and sharing in your organization. This will help streamline the vendor selection and vetting process and ensure that enterprise file sync and sharing can work in positive ways to support your IT, security and business initiatives now and in the future.
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