According to EMC’s most recent earnings conference call, while revenue in its Information Intelligence Business declined in Q3, it’s Syncplicity sync and share SAS business is seeing dramatic growth in customers large and small. Now the provider of file sharing and collaboration solutions said it is extending its lead in the Enterprise File Sync and Share market with several new innovative features added to its cloud-based EFSS solution.
“This is by far the biggest release in Syncplicity’s history,” said GM Jeetu Patel, addressing the fundamental challenge of EFSS users having to choose between security and convenience. He said if done right, one should enhance the other, “gaining the delight of the users and the delight of IT.”
Gartner said EFSS refers to a range of in-house or cloud-based capabilities that allow mobile workers to:
-synchronize and store documents, photos, videos and files from multiple endpoints into a cloud
service or on a server;
-share files among multiple owned endpoints;
-share data among applications on a given device;
-share files with colleagues, partners and customers; and,
-access files securely on a server from a mobile device
Trying to satisfy the needs of IT, security and the end user isn’t easy, said Patel, but the latest enhancements deliver on the first two with:
-Syncplicity StorageVaults give IT departments more control and flexibility over where their data is stored using a policy-driven hybrid model. Content can be stored in a public cloud or a private cloud on-premise according to user, group, folder file, or content type, providing customers “as much cloud as they need.”
-Group-Level Policies mean different “policy sets” can now be applied for external sharing, system access, authentication, shared link security, and any other policy at the group-level using a “rank order” approach to effectively manage users in multiple groups. This means IT can be as permissive or restrictive as required for every user.
-Secure Shared Files will enable users to include rights management controls when sending files via Syncplicity Secure Shared Links. This enables maximum protection of shared content at the file level and protects against unauthorized access or display, so IT never loses control of the file.
However, making IT and security happier with EFSS won’t work if the users aren’t happy too, said Patel. To provide mobile users with a frictionless experience for accessing, updating, and sharing files, EMC has included:
-Isilon Mobile IQ Powered by Syncplicity enables users to access their Isilon-based home directories and file shares from their Syncplicity mobile app, with or without an EMC Syncplicity account. The Mobile IQ feature offers direct mobile access to Isilon file shares, simple implementation, and flexible deployment options. In the future, EMC will extend this feature to additional storage solutions.
-Next-generation Syncplicity mobile apps not only engage users, but significantly enhance their productivity by delivering unprecedented ability to access, edit, organize, and manage files securely on their mobile device of choice. And new Syncplicity Insights will anticipate and eliminate mundane user tasks.
We have to be as good as the consumer apps but far more secure, said Patel. “We believe we have about an 18 to 24 month lead on the competition. We’re doubling down and tripling down on the investment…(and we’re) only going to increase that lead.”
In a recent blog from EMC’s Rohit Ghai, SVP & GM, Products and Solutions, Information Intelligence Group, the biannual Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting and Enterprise Content Management Solution report asserted that Syncplicity “is becoming the next must-have feature in ECM systems”. Frost & Sullivan, which recently awarded EMC with the 2013 Global Enterprise Content Management Product Quality Leadership Award, said the http://bit.ly/HtB2DV Syncplicity acquisition was an example of how the company has worked closely with customers to analyze how they are using their products and what potential gaps may exist.
‘Enterprises are constantly asking for the ability to share, sync and back-up files though the cloud, as this is now increasingly commonplace in the consumer market. EMC now provides exactly this capability to the enterprise through Syncplicity, enabling users to interact and share content on their device of choice with the security and governance IT requires.’
While Syncplicity is working to a monthly upgrade cycle, some upgrades, like the latest, are more equal than others. Back at the end of June the unit rolled out an upgrade with improved usability, stronger security and enhanced IT control. EMC’s Jeff Schultz, Head of Marketing, Syncplicity Business Unit, said the need for frequent updates comes down to a pretty simple issue.
“IT is in a race to provide managed solutions for file, sync and share in the enterprise. Users are going around IT, using Shadow IT, basically finding solutions for themselves if IT won’t.”
According to the Enterprise Strategy Group, which has been following this market for more than a year, it is moving at a lightning fast pace with seemingly new entrants and new features added every week. ‘Over the last 18 months, the OFS market has boomed — ESG has gone from covering 8 vendors to 50+ and counting’, with release cycles averaging between 4-6 weeks.
EFSS has been the poster child for the IT/consumerization trend known as Shadow IT (AKA cockroach technology), the unsanctioned use of IT products and services, is a huge and growing challenge to organizations, and it’s not going away. According to an Ipswitch File Transfer study, 84% of employees send sensitive information through non-secure email attachments while 50% use personal email to send work files.
In July ESG reported that 70% of organizations know or suspect this type of rogue employee activity takes place within their companies, and they’re sprinting to catch up and regain control over company data. ‘There seems to be an offering to suit nearly every business need — the challenge for IT is that there is no one-size-fits-all file-sharing solution because organizations have varying security and business requirements.’
The future looks pretty positive, said Patel. “The velocity at which we have innovated, and the growth we’ve seen in our bookings… have been so staggering”.
We feel that the market is in transition and we have to make sure that we are leading the transition rather than following, he said. “This is one of the times when we were right on time”.