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The Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market offers a comprehensive variety of maturing choices to small and large organizations. Leaders in the information technology (IT) sector and collaboration planners can take advantage of impressive new capabilities to improve operational efficiency. The EFSS options available on the market enable enhanced content collaboration and easy corporate system integration.
Technological advancements are contributing to simpler and faster integration. Vendors are moving towards EFSS deployment that involves back-end integration with several repositories. Additional capabilities like data governance, federation and management are continuously undergoing optimization. Research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. says that up to 10 percent of current stand-alone EFSS products will no longer exist by 2018.
As the EFSS market undergoes major changes and competition among vendors intensifies, organizations are faced with the challenge of choosing the ideal product. For this reason, Gartner conducted an in-depth assessment of EFSS products offered by the leading vendors, such as Google Drive, Varonis DatAnywhere and Microsoft OneDrive. The research firm compiled a report covering various aspects, including:
Vendor cautions and strengths
The report is aimed at providing a wide-angle view of the relative market positions. This allows your company to make an informed decision when choosing a vendor. By applying uniform evaluation criteria, the Magic Quadrant makes it easy to determine how vendors are executing their stated visions.
Key EFSS Vendor Capabilities
Gartner's Magic Quadrant assessed the capabilities of technology providers based on two evaluation criteria: ability to execute and completeness of vision. The criteria covered almost every aspect of EFSS offerings, including viability of business, marketing strategy as well as quality of products and services. Google Drive was recognized for providing a viable EFSS product. It satisfied the applicable evaluation criteria. Analysts at Gartner included and excluded service providers in the Magic Quadrant based on the following considerations:
- File access – vendors offering native support for file access were rated higher than service providers using third-party connectors. Access can be either through replication to a cloud repository or direct access to on-premise repositories.
- Mobile OS diversity – refers to use of native applications to support mobile operating systems, mainly Android and iOS. Support for additional platforms like Windows Mobile is optional.
- Delivery model – covers the availability of EFSS products either as a hybrid deployment (combinations of cloud and on-premise) or cloud-based services (private or public). A stand-alone on-premise repository model is optional.
- Cloud Security – entails strict adherence to high security standards. The Magic Quadrant assessed the use of strong password authentication, selective remote wiping of EFSS mobile app files, data encryption (both on transfer and at rest) and routine lockouts due to inactivity.
- File synchronization – refers to capacity to support automatic round-trip and transparent data synchronization. This applies to cloud-based servers and devices.
- App Management – involves the integration of Active and LDAP Directories. This is aimed at group policies, authentication, single sign-on and centralized management tools. The integration allows administrators to control user activity, content and access rights. Also, they can manage synchronization processes. In the Gartner's Magic Quadrant, integration of mobile device management (MDM) platforms is regarded as optional.
- Content manipulation – the Magic Quadrant considers document viewing capability mandatory for all mobile EFSS applications. However, annotation and editing are optional. Use of third-party technology to provide the functionality is acceptable but native support is preferred.
- File sharing – refers to support for various levels of mobile sharing, including external users, multiple devices used by one person and multiple applications used on a single device. Some of the sharing activities covered include tracking file accesses, selection of sharing destination, inviting colleagues, emailing links to shared files and selective access restrictions.
- PCs – entails synchronization on Mac OS and Windows desktop computers using a native stand-alone application. The optional support levels include email client or web browser plugins in addition to Linux platforms.
- Integration – focuses on the integration with a cloud-based public storage service or the availability of SharePoint connectors. Additional connectors to other repositories, server-side APIs or corporate platforms is considered optional.
EFSS market outlook
It is widely accepted that destination vendors will need to continuously adapt to changing trends as the EFSS market matures. Some of the major players are expected to expand services by acquiring smaller destination vendors with innovative products. This allows technology providers like Google to transform their EFSS offerings into broader suites.
The majority of IT buyers are increasingly looking for flexibility of integration and deployment. Vendors perceived as rigid and captive may be overtaken by more dynamic competitors. Google Drive is one of the well-placed offerings that adapts to meet the users' expectations by addressing enterprise priorities.