File Sync and Share Buying Guide

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File sync and share has become a hot category of late. With so many business users sharing data over consumer-grade file-sharing services, it was only a matter of time before enterprise tools arrived on the market.

“As companies move to a more mobile workforce, there is a need for secure access to corporate information on mobile devices,” said Whitney Bouck, general manager of enterprise at Box. “This demand is driving the adoption of sync and share technologies. However, to gain the business benefits of these technologies, CIOs need to consider a solution that satisfies both the security and scale requirements of IT, and the ease-of use needs of the user.”


IDriveSync is described as an easy, fast, and secure cloud storage and syncing service which can sync an unlimited amount of devices.

The basic version, which offers 10 GB of sync space, is free, and extra space can be obtained by inviting friends. This comes with unlimited devices on a single account, file retention and free versioning. IDriveSync Pro is $4.95 per month with 150 GB of space, or $14.95 for 500 GB.

It recently added private key encryption, and to ensure security, the key isn’t created or stored by IDriveSync. The company says private key encryption feature isn’t offered by the likes of Dropbox,, Google Drive and SkyDrive. The one that does (SpiderOak) has only read-only access through the Web.

“Our out-of-the-box feature allows users to sync any of their folders strictly to the cloud only rather than to all of their devices, giving them another flexible way to sync,” said Raghu Kulkarni, CEO of iDrive.

EMC Syncplicity

While most file sync and share players are starters, EMC has recently entered the fray via its acquisition of Syncplicity. According to Jeetu Patel, general manager of EMC Syncplicity, this product lets users access, update and share work files from all of their local and mobile devices without having to get involved with VPNs, FTP solutions and email file size limits.

“EMC’s Syncplicity enables enterprises to deploy file sync/share solutions in private cloud environments (via EMC Isilon and Atmos),” said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT.

You don’t have to drag-and-drop items into a special folder, check them in-and-out of workspaces or organize them the way that a project team dictates. At the same time, it has security built in. Files can be stored either in the public cloud or on premise using NAS (EMC Isilon), Object (EMC Atmos), or Block (EMC VNX/VNXe) storage systems.

“Syncplicity allows users to sync any folder on a local machine so they can organize files the way they want and have access to the latest version, on all their devices by clicking save,” said Patel. “It provides mobile push sync so files are always available offline without forcing the user to download them first.”


Dropbox made its name as a consumer service. But it has rapidly scaled up to the enterprise via Dropbox for Business. This service can operate as the centralized place for the company’s files, while assuring employees are working from the most updated file at all times, and syncing files and documents to all devices, including iPads and mobile phones. The company says it has over 100 million users to date (presumably most are users of the consumer version). But the company also claims to be used by over 2 million businesses and 95 percent of the Fortune 500.

The enterprise version provides additional management, security and support capabilities, such as member management, Active Directory integration, team activity reporting and centralized billing. On the security side, features include two-step verification, mobile passcodes, sharing controls for links and folders, single sign-on and remote device unlinking.

Dropbox for Business offers unlimited storage space, live phone and email support, and file recovery services. It is offered as an annual subscription starting at $795 per year for up to five users and $125 per year for each additional user.

“Dropbox for Business can be molded to fit the needs, workflow and type of work for any end user,” said Anand Subramani, a product manager at Dropbox.


SugarSync is a service that lets you mirror documents, files, photos and music across all devices so that you can access, utilize and share them anytime from any device. You send things to the cloud from any computer or device, so it’s backed up, synced and accessible to you when you’re on the go.

SugarSync 2.0 is said to be a major redesign, which focused on making the cloud easier to use. It offers a simpler, consistent design across desktop, web and mobile apps, easier set-up and navigation, SugarSync Drive (a virtual drive that makes is really easy to access all data in the cloud—even files and folders stored on your other computers), easy sharing, cloud search and modernized mobile applications for Android and iOS.

SugarSync has a free 5 GB version and paid plans starting at $7.49 per month for 60 GB. SugarSync also offers business plans starting at $55 per month with 1 TB of storage for 3-24 users.

“SugarSync works the way you do: it works within your devices’ existing file/folder structure,” said Samir Mehta, vice president of product management at SugarSync. “There’s no moving or boxing content into a specific syncing folder.”Box In its recent report,”MarketScope for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharingi,” Gartner gave Box a “strong positive” rating based on viability, product/service, sales execution, customer experience, marketing strategy, offering strategy and innovation. Gartner also commented on the company’s growth rate, presence in the enterprise market and its partner ecosystem


In its recent report,”MarketScope for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharingi,” Gartner gave Box a “strong positive” rating based on viability, product/service, sales execution, customer experience, marketing strategy, offering strategy and innovation. Gartner also commented on the company’s growth rate, presence in the enterprise market and its partner ecosystem.

“Box enables collaboration, making users more productive from anywhere on any device,” said Bouck.

According to Bouck, more than 150,000 businesses, including 92 percent of the Fortune 500, use Box. That represents a 150 percent increase in enterprise sales with customers including Electronic Arts, NBC Sports and Sunbelt Rentals.


CTERA provides sync and share services via the company’s cloud delivery platform, the CTERA Portal. Features include global de-duplication that reduces WAN load, integration with Active Directory and LDAP for user authentication, AES-256 encryption, group workspaces for multi-user collaboration, and mobile apps for Apple iOS and Android (with support for Windows Phone planned later this year). It can come with private branding for service providers, and through CTERA Portal, offers management of all deployed software agents, including remote ‘push’ upgrades.

“CTERA’s file sync and share solution can be deployed on both public and private cloud (object) storage infrastructure, supporting a variety of service providers and vendors including AWS, Nirvanix, Rackspace, EMC, IBM, Dell, HDS, Caringo, Scality and Openstack,” said Rani Osnat, vice president of marketing at Ctera. “It’s capable of supporting 100,000s of users in a single deployment. “

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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