News / December, 2015

Best Enterprise File Sync And Share (EFSS)

By: Josh Linder @ Tom's IT Pro.

Read original article here - http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/best-enterprise-file-sync-and-share,2-968.html 

Organizations today have many choices when it comes to Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) including cloud-first or cloud only solutions, like Box and Dropbox, enterprise-first or on-premises only products, like Syncplicity and Acronis Access, as well as hybrid cloud and on-premises options, like Citrix ShareFile, Egnyte and eFolder Anchor.

However, often enterprise organizations evaluating EFSS solutions experience the snowflake challenge -- their business priorities, incumbent vendors, security requirements, file types and user communities are very unique. Throughout our series of EFSS reviews, we tried to focus on the highlights of each tool while identifying where each might have its strengths and shortcomings around five key areas outlined below. And this goes beyond technology -- of equal or greater importance is providers' dedication and support to their offerings. As EFSS becomes ingrained in the organization fabric, it is paramount to have a provider that can support the enterprise's needs. 

Security, encryption, reporting and analytics should not be taken lightly. In the reviews, you'll see that some products have these functions included, whereas others rely on third-party partners. There are benefits to both approaches, but best-of-breed does not always fit.

Review Methodology

For this series, we asked several of the top EFSS providers to complete a matrix of questions, which accomplished two things. First, it set the stage for an enterprise perspective, focused on the areas that IT buyers are (or at least should) be taking into consideration. Since decisions regarding EFSS are increasingly being made at the enterprise-wide level and driven through a formalized RFP (request for proposal) process, the matrix simulated that structured evaluation. Second, it leveled the playing field, allowed us to confirm that we captured the most important aspects of each service and offered providers a platform to articulate how they differentiate from an inside-out view.

We recognize that specific pricing is a case-by-case basis and is greatly impacted by enterprise-level agreements (ELAs), existing business relationships, seat/user volume, and annual buying cycles, thus our focus was on showing how organizations are being charged for different services.

Note that these EFSS tools aren't best for traditional ECM functionality such as scanning, workflow and records management. But integration with enterprise systems is improving, especially as enterprise-class security is becoming a table stake and public cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are gaining traction in large organizations. 

Best EFFS Solutions

Note that these EFSS tools aren't best for traditional ECM functionality such as scanning, workflow and records management. But integration with enterprise systems is improving, especially as enterprise-class security is becoming a table stake and public cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are gaining traction in large organizations. 

What you'll find missing in our EFSS series are reviews of Microsoft's, Google's and Amazon's solutions, which represent some of the largest providers of cloud storage. While we wanted to include Microsoft's OneDrive and Google's Drive for Work, the companies would not provide resources to assist with the evaluation process. We owe it to our readers to provide an impartial and thoroughly-vetted review and we could not do that without assistance from the solution owners on how the products actually work and what they offer. 

On the other hand, Amazon provides more of an infrastructure offering and does not play within the traditional EFSS space. Amazon's storage and computing power is leveraged by multiple vendors reviewed here, so they are technically represented.

Our Top EFSS Picks

2015 Editor Recommended: Citrix ShareFile

ShareFile fits a perfect spot in Citrix's portfolio, and provides a strong offering to enterprises looking to expose on-premises content to their mobile workforce. Originally designed for large file transfers, the recent focus on core functionality enhancements, security policies, strong end user and administration interfaces, key management and integration with the broader Citrix Workspace Suite and XenMobile make ShareFile a viable enterprise selection. With a long-standing and tight Microsoft relationship, Citrix also fills a gap for Microsoft enterprise customers upset by shortcomings in OneDrive's positioning, support and reliability. Read the Full Review

2015 Editor Recommended: Egnyte Enterprise

Traditionally sold to individual departments, Egnyte surprised us with its rich set of functionality, strong security policies and solid architecture. Egnyte has the most well articulated and demonstrated capability around its tools, which can span public cloud, on-premises repositories and produce a true hybrid document cloud. With a workgroup-first segmentation model (minimizing individual information silos to prevent data theft) coupled with a mobile device management backbone, enterprises should take a serious look at Egnyte for both their cloud and on-premises needs. The company continues to innovate and meet market needs, including strong third-party integration and recent enhancements to their analytics and behavioral monitoring engine. Read the Full Review

Honorable Mention: Dropbox For Business

Dropbox is clearly the end users' choice, with both creative and technically excellent synchronization, document access and viewing. The company's mature desktop synchronization is a critical consumer functionality, but it exposes organizations to potential file duplication and information leakage. Dropbox for Business continues to enhance and innovate, with a strong API and the recent releases of Dropbox Paper (a strong counter-punch to Box Notes), file comments and Dropbox File Requests. The administration and reporting interface is still a work in progress (often deferring to partners), and Dropbox nor its partners have penetrated the enterprise content repository landscape for hybrid cloud access. We anxiously await testing Dropbox Enterprise in 2016 to validate its increased security and functionality. Read the Full Review

Honorable Mention: Syncplicity

Recently divested from EMC, Syncplicity now has the flexibility to further expand its core solution and partner with resellers, ISVs and third-party content tools. In our review, Syncplicity proved to be a solid offering with a good feature set, hybrid cloud capabilities, and a set of highly usable interfaces. The tool has gained market traction over the past year, capitalizing on the large EMC customer base. However, with market uncertainty surrounding its majority stake sale to Skyview Capital, coupled with EMC's recent sale to Dell, organizations should be cautious before making any enterprise-wide decisions, especially as AirWatch Content Locker is now competing for the same business with a much stronger device management value proposition. We were also expecting a much stronger integration with EMC's Documentum. Read the Full Review

Acronis Access Advanced

Out of all of the EFSS vendors we tested, Acronis has stayed true to its "data protection" value proposition, bolstering security while continuing to enhance its core file synchronization capabilities. The administration interface and strong policy management (possibly the best in the market) should at least get Acronis Access to the table with enterprises looking to extend their on-premises content to mobile-enabled users. With that said, a limited market presence and a gap in functionality (notably around large file access and user interfaces) hold this EFSS tool back from the top spot. Read the Full Review

Box Enterprise

Box Enterprise is the most commercially recognized and successful tool in the business market, however, a change in core strategy from pure file sharing to a collaboration tool and platform is perplexing and worrisome. While enterprises will be supported, small and medium-sized businesses should be most cautious with this strategy change. Strong partner community and a relationship with IBM SoftLayer shows forward progress, but Box Notes isn't the killer app that it is positioned to be. Additionally, a lack of hybrid cloud functionality and a sub-optimal customer managed key model yield further reservations around Box. Read the Full Review

eFolder Anchor

The lone managed service provider (MSP) solution in our series, eFolder Anchor is also an up-and-comer in the EFSS market. While many organizations will not actually purchase or directly select eFolder Anchor, it is important to note that the company is investing heavily to build out a viable product and support its MSP community. eFolder Anchor's security, user interfaces and organization segmentation are admirable. This is one EFSS tool to watch, but not completely all the way on functionality yet. Read the Full Review

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