Need a new enterprise file sync and sharing solution to replace your old FTP? We look at the pros and cons of vendors, top features and how to choose the best one for you.
What is enterprise file sharing? Enterprise file sharing is a platform, software or vendor that allows your business to seamlessly send data across the network to coworkers or customers all while maintaining security. It allows for collaboration, easy integration and control of the data sent.
What is the Difference Between Traditional and Enterprise File Sharing?
File sharing seems like a relatively simple task and in some ways it is. Some of the most basic features of early internet technology involved the ability to transfer files between users. With the advent of cloud platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive, file syncing and sharing became that much easier.
These tools typically do not address the needs of enterprise clients, however. That’s when developers started building enterprise solutions for file sync and sharing and management, called Enterprise File Sharing (EFS), or sometimes Enterprise File Sync and Sharing (EFSS).
There are risks that your business will take when opting for traditional file sync and sharing over EFSS solutions, including data breaches, inefficiencies and non-compliance with any relevant regulations required by your industry.
What Are Some of the Key Features of Enterprise File Sharing Software?
What puts the “enterprise” in EFSS? Critical features for storage, efficiency and reporting. Some of the basic features included in many EFSS solutions include:
- Additional support for large files or unique file extensions. Many enterprise file sync and share solutions will directly support large transfers and file types that aren’t common outside of specific applications or industries.
- Built-in SaaS tools to handle file creation and editing. Most platforms are offering tools or integrations for document management and creation, spreadsheet creation and video or audio streaming.
- Advanced security controls for encryption and data loss prevention. Security is critical for the success of any data-driven business. A file sync, storage and sharing platform must have key security features like encryption, file scanning and data protection.
- Automation tools to schedule transfers and backups. Scheduling backups, audits and transfers will help your business scale. When you don’t have to manually monitor your data, you’re in a better position to focus on your business and not your data management.
- Robust reporting tools to track usage and compliance. Many industries will require you to keep detailed records of file access and security and many EFSS platforms will support granular reporting to this effect. Additionally, you can use reporting to get a view of how your business uses data and how to improve things like productivity.
- Complete visibility of data and access. A solid enterprise solution should give you a complete view of your big-picture transfers and storage. This includes not only the placement of data but how it is transmitted and who is accessing it.
Note that not all enterprise file sync and share platforms offer all of these features in a single package.
Does EFSS Support Cloud Storage and Mobile Access?
Absolutely. One of the key advantages of an EFS solution is the ability to use the cloud to connect employees with critical files while still maintaining security controls. While you can use on-prem technology to manage an EFSS, the real strength of modern EFSS software is cloud availability.
Your organization can deploy an EFSS solution on private or hybrid cloud storage. Your employees would create, access and manipulate files in that cloud environment from authorized devices.
That’s all well and good for traditional computers like desktop or laptop workstations. Where cloud EFSS solutions also shine is the ability to integrate mobile devices through specific apps. Much like consumer-grade apps for more general cloud storage platforms, these apps allow your team to access and manage files on tablets and phones wherever they are.
However, unlike these consumer apps, enterprise file sync and share apps will help your organization maintain internal security and, if necessary, security compliance. Many EFSS services will come with built-in file controls to ensure that files on remote devices stay secure and that employees don’t share them outside your organization.
Who Are the Most Popular Enterprise File Sync and Sharing Vendors?
There are a number of EFSS software in the market right now, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:
Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business EFSS offering is targeted for enterprise and SMB customers with a major selling point: integration with the Microsoft suite of tools like Teams, Word and Excel. That being said, it doesn’t have as many key integrations as other platforms (although that is changing) and its offline capabilities are primarily tied to Microsoft products.
Dropbox is one of the oldest and most established cloud storage providers in the world. Dropbox Business supports things like workflow management, encryption and document management, but apparently suffers from a lack of intuitive backups. Some users have also remarked that the price of the platform isn’t competitive with other platforms.
Citrix ShareFile boasts simple and intuitive interfaces, including easy ways to share files with security controls using hyperlinks. This, with a highly regarded web interface, allows users to easily manage your organization’s files. It does not include productivity tools but does offer integrations with popular software.
Box Business is a widely used platform that provides offerings for small teams and large enterprise users but doesn’t come with integrated productivity tools. However, Box has been reported as a pricier alternative to other EFSS providers and certain features, like private key management, are paid extras rather than included features.
Google Workspaces (formerly G Suite) is an established business cloud service that leverages online productivity tools (through the Google Office suite of tools) and flexible pricing to support small and large businesses. Unlike other services, you won’t find a ton of integrations with typical desktop apps, and the productivity apps included (Docs, Sheets) do not have native apps on any platform.
Axway’s Syncplicity has undergone several changes of ownership over the past decade, but it has managed to maintain a solid business platform. It offers several levels of security that can support compliance requirements for several industries and markets like healthcare and governmental work. Some users have complained of sluggish upload and download speeds and a lack of useful integrations, which has limited its effectiveness on robust enterprise contexts.
IBM Connections is an EFSS solution that also includes several social options like chat, email and online meeting hosting wrapped up into a single platform. While collaboration and productivity are definitely a focus from this perspective, a lack of integration with productivity tools like Microsoft Office or Google Docs hinder true teamwork. That and a limit on upload file sizes might limit IBM’s effectiveness for larger businesses.
Why Would I Choose Accellion for Secure File Sharing?
Accellion offers secure file sharing as part of its complete enterprise content firewall and cloud platform to place security and usability at the forefront of file sync and sharing. While many of the above solutions support some of these features for a broad category of businesses, Accellion supports secure management for businesses that are in regulated industries like healthcare, government contracting, financial services, and others that want to remain compliant without sacrificing functionality or collaborative tools.
This means that Accellion’s secure file sharing products bring the following advantages to the table:
Security. Accellion’s product empowers your employees to work together without sacrificing security. Our products include managed file transfer (MFT), SFTP secure connections and compliant security controls all under a single set of controls. This also includes several levels of security like AES-256 encryption, email encryption and user authentication.
Visibility. Use our centralized compliance and governance tools and CISO dashboard with complete visibility over your data and users. Keep detailed logs for compliance reporting and cut costs on unneeded storage.
Compliance. Alongside security, we offer features that make compliance easier, scalable and sustainable. With high-level encryption, Accellion solutions provide data transparency and reporting to provide a single source of evidence for reporting demands.
As a secure cloud platform, our secure file sharing is FIPS 140-2 validated and FedRAMP authorized for government contractors and agencies. Transparency and data controls, along with security, also make Accellion products HIPAA and GDPR compliant.
Collaboration. Accellion secure file sharing supports effortless collaboration with internal and external stakeholders using secure VDRs that allow you to control who sees what data and where. Alongside secure VDRs, your team can use cutting-edge productivity tools with Microsoft Office integration to support concurrent file management and email collaboration.
There are many EFSS solutions on the market, but few that handle the level of security that highly regulated industries demand. With Accellion’s secure file sharing, your organization can get that level of security and governance without giving up some of the best parts of EFSS: collaborative work, easy access and data control.
Watch the secure file sharing video to learn how Accellion allows for collaboration, easy integration, and control of data.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Cyber Security on Security Boulevard – Accellion authored by Bob Ertl. Read the original post at: https://www.accellion.com/secure-file-transfer/enterprise-file-sharing/