Key Trends in File Sync & Share Market for 2017

Key Trends in File Sync & Share Market for 2017

Adoption of Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security solution and Office 365 will re-order the File Sync & Share market

Microsoft has stated that its Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) is the fastest growing product in the history of the company.  The growing adoption of EMS and Office 365 in corporate and government customers are creating waves in the Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) space:

  • Intune is the Enterprise Mobility Management component of EMS, and Microsoft has been enhancing its capabilities at a rapid pace.  As Intune improves, more & more customers will be switching from traditional mobility management suites such as MobileIron, Blackberry and AirWatch.  Companies using the EFSS offerings bundled with these suites will look to migrate to new tools that support the Intune platform for mobility management.  We will also start to see traditional mobility management companies pushing their EFSS solutions as stand-alone rather than bundled offerings.
  • In addition to Intune compatibility, companies adopting Office 365 will demand that their EFSS solution integrate with the native Office mobile applications for data access on the road.  Companies are beginning to leverage Microsoft Intune to apply data leakage policies to the Office mobile applications and will look to adopt EFSS tools that support this scenario.

While cloud-based storage will continue to grow rapidly, most companies will still require an EFSS solution supporting hybrid access to on-premise data

While companies evaluate moving to cloud-based data repository such as SharePoint Online, Box or Google Docs, there will be requirements for access to on-premise data for years to come.  EFSS suites will continue to be enhanced to provide a federated view of both cloud-based and on-premise data.  On-premise data will continue to exist because of:

  • Data proximity – sometimes data needs to be close to the users (e.g., moving large datasets between Engineering and Production where data security is critical and using the cloud is not feasible because of time and bandwidth costs).
  • Regulatory / Data Governance – especially in regulated industries where physical location and security of data is non-negotiable.
  • Legacy infrastructure – large scale workflows and systems cannot be easily forklifted to the cloud without re-engineering.

Security, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Data Governance will be key areas for innovation in the EFSS space

Consumer file sync & share services demonstrated the value brought by allowing workers and partners to collaborate easily on projects.  Corporations have adopted EFSS to provide this value their employees while maintaining compliance and control.  But the EFSS tool suites need to evolve further to meet the requirements of the Enterprise. 

In 2017 we’ll see a large investment around:

  • Security policies that provide fine-grained control over access to information based on existing Active Directory security structures (including via federated directory services between partners).
  • Tighter control of the content that is synced to user’s desktops or shared via the web (DRM), ideally with automatic classification of information.  Most companies will be evaluating adopting Microsoft Azure Information Protection since it is most tightly integrated with the Office platform, and will demand EFSS suites support this emerging standard.
  • Data governance features such as eDiscovery, content analytics and hooks for interfaces into traditional data leak prevention (DLP) systems.  Also vendors will start to explore applying machine learning capabilities to analyze sharing activities between users and partners.
  • Leveraging blockchain technology to provide an immutable system of record of sharing activities between partners.

Consumer-oriented file synchronization tools demonstrated the value of allowing access to files on any device and sharing with co-workers and partners.  Corporations have begun to embrace Enterprise File Sync & Share products to deliver this experience while meeting their security and data governance requirements. 2017 will bring many rapid innovations and changes to the EFSS market as companies begin large scale migrations to Microsoft Office 365 and EMS, demand a unified view of their hybrid cloud and on premise data infrastructures, and push to further enhance the security of their EFSS solutions to meet market regulations.

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