Enterprise file synchronization and sharing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Enterprise file synchronization and sharing (also known as EFSS and enterprise file sync and share) refers to software services that enable organizations to securely synchronize and share documents, photos, videos and files from multiple devices with employees, and external customers and partners. Organizations often adopt these technologies to prevent employees from using consumer-based file sharing apps to store, access and manage corporate data that is outside of the IT department’s control and visibility.[1][2]

Key characteristics[edit]

EFSS applications are often characterized by having most or all of the following features and capabilities:[3][4][5][6]

  • Sync files stored in corporate storage to user desktops and devices
  • Send links to large files with support for multiple file extensions and protocols
  • Integration to existing business applications via APIs, plugins and mobile apps
  • Built-in file creation, editing and previewing
  • User access permissions to files and folders
  • Protection of files stored and transferred by encryption, antivirus scanning, and DLP (data loss prevention)
  • Publish links to files with the ability to set a login requirement to access data
  • Authentication options for Active Directory, SAML, Azure Active Directory, etc.
  • Schedule and automate file transfers from automated systems and repositories[7]
  • Audit and report file activities and system actions

Depending on what an EFSS provider offers, services can be deployed using cloud computing, on-premises, or hybrid. According to Forrester Research, some EFSS providers can provide the ability to lockdown data in certain geographies for companies that have requirements to store content/metadata in specific jurisdictions.[8]


Box, one of the first EFSS products, was originally developed as a college project of Aaron Levie while he was a student of the University of Southern California in 2004. Levie left school to run the company full-time in 2005.[9]

In 2007 Dropbox was founded, and officially launched at 2008's TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The same year, Microsoft began beta testing of Windows Live Folders, a predecessor of OneDrive. [10]

Around 2010, the EFSS market emerged with over 100 vendors from a variety technology backgrounds including backup and cloud storage (Citrix ShareFile, Syncplicity), managed file transfer (Accellion, Biscom, Box, Hightail, Thru), enterprise content management and more. Many were developed as alternatives to consumer file sync and sharing services that did not have security features in place to protect company information nor the flexibility to integrate with existing content repositories and business applications.[11][12][13][14]

In October 2011, software company, Citrix Systems, announced that it had acquired private enterprise file sync and share service, ShareFile, to add to the Citrix product line. ShareFile was a competitor of Box and Dropbox but focused on selling its product to IT departments of large organizations.[15][16]

In 2012, CTERA Networks entered the EFSS market.[17]

In July 2013, Forrester Research released the first “Forrester Wave” report on the EFSS market where they identified and scored products from the most significant providers.[18][19][20]

On June 25, 2014, Google announced at its I/O Conference that it was entering the enterprise file sharing market with the release of “Google Drive for Work.”[21][22]

In July 2014, Gartner Research released its first “Magic Quadrant” report on the EFSS market. The study evaluates the strengths and cautions of the most notable vendors in the industry.[23][24]

In October, 2014, encrypted vendor Tresorit entered the EFSS market with Tresorit for Business.[25][26] Tresorit is a competitor of Dropbox and Box, promising businesses more security and privacy compliance with End-to-end encryption.[27][28]

In April 2015, BlackBerry Limited paid between $100 million and $150 million to buy WatchDox Ltd. for its enterprise file sync and sharing capabilities.[29]

In July 2015, one EFSS vendor, Syncplicity, was sold to private equity firm, Skyview Capital, by previous owner, EMC Corporation.[30][31]


  1. ^ Robb, Drew (21 May 2013). "Ten Things You Need to Know about Enterprise File Sync and Share". www.enterprisestorageforum.com/. IT Business Edge. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  2. ^ Rouse, Margaret. "Definition of EFSS (Enterprise file sync-and-share)". searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/. TechTarget. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  3. ^ Rodriguez, Andres (3 December 2015). "File Sync & Share: When Worlds Collide". www.informationweek.com/. UBM Tech. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  4. ^ Backaitis, Virginia. "Enterprise File Sync & Share Solutions: What's the Difference?". www.cmswire.com/. Simpler Media Group. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  5. ^ Ladi, Ananda Rao. "Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) in the cloud". www.itproportal.com/. IT Pro Portal. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  6. ^ Zurier, Steve. "Businesses Embrace Enterprise File-Sharing Tools for Security, Flexibility". www.biztechmagazine.com/. CDW. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  7. ^ Schedule transfer, move or backup data from one cloud storage to another.
  8. ^ McKinnon, Cheryl (19 May 2016). "Navigate The Crowded Enterprise File Sync And Share Market By Asking These 3 Questions". www.forrester.com. Forrester Research, Inc. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  9. ^ "'I was having nightmares for a few weeks': Box CEO Aaron Levie reveals how hard it was to build a $2.5 billion business and take it public by age 29". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  10. ^ Windows Live Folders
  11. ^ Dubash, Manek. "Cloud file-sharing for enterprise users". www.computerweekly.com/. TechTarget. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  12. ^ Darrow, Barb. "Who will be the 'Dropbox of the enterprise?' The race is on". www.gigaom.com. Gigaom. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  13. ^ Wexler, Steve. "Significant Churn Forecast For EFSS Market". it-tna.com. IT-TNA. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  14. ^ Sliwa, Carol. "Enterprise file sync and share expands in 2014". searchcloudstorage.techtarget.com/. TechTarget. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  15. ^ Wauters, Robin (13 October 2011). "Citrix Acquires ShareFile, The "Dropbox For Enterprises"". www.techcrunch.com. TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  16. ^ Savitz, Eric. "Citrix Buys ShareFile". Forbes. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  17. ^ James Bourne (July 27, 2015). "Gartner's enterprise file sync and share Magic Quadrant offers surprises and opportunities". CloudTech.
  18. ^ Schadler, Ted. "Who are the leaders in the file sync and share market?". zdnet.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  19. ^ Backaitis, Virginia. "Forrester Names 6 Top Cloud File Sharing Vendors". www.cmswire.com. Simpler Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ Schadler, Ted; Koplowitz, Rob; Keitt, TJ; Kark, Khalid; Smith, Andrew. "The Forrester Wave™: File Sync And Share Platforms, Q3 2013". www.forrester.com. Forrester Research. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  21. ^ King, Rachel. "Google intros Drive for Work as new premium option for Apps users". www.zdnet.com/. ZDNet. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  22. ^ KOKALITCHEVA, KIA (25 June 2014). "Google Drive now has 190M users & a brand new tablet app for presentations". venturebeat.com/. VentureBeat. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  23. ^ Backaitis, Virginia. "Gartner Rates Enterprise File Sync and Share Vendors". www.cmswire.com/. Simpler Media Group. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  24. ^ Arlotta, CJ. "Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing". talkincloud.com. Penton. Archived from the original on 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  25. ^ "Tresorit Brings DRM To Cloud Data". Forbes.
  26. ^ "Tresorit Launches Its Secure Sync And Share Product For Business". Forbes.
  27. ^ "Cloud Storage Startup Tresorit Raises $3M To Put Security Spotlight On Dropbox, Box And Others". TechCrunch. May 2014.
  28. ^ "Updated UI and expanded data control features come to Tresorit's Business plan". Neowin.
  29. ^ Lopez, Maribel. "BlackBerry Snaps Up WatchDox For Content Security". Forbes. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  30. ^ Konrad, Alex. "EMC Sells Box Competitor Syncplicity To Private Equity Shop Skyview". Forbes. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  31. ^ Clark, Don. "EMC to Sell Dropbox Rival Syncplicity". www.wsj.com/. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 July 2016.