When someone says file sync and share, there are numerous players that spring to mind: Dropbox, Accelion, Egnyte, Box, Alfresco, to name but a few. It’s safe to say that over the last five years the world of file sync and share has changed dramatically and we’re now seeing what I believe is a real evolution in the way this technology is being used in our work and personal lives. This evolution, I’m going to break down into the four stages of file sync and share:

  • Pure consumer: Consumer file sync and share tools appear in our personal lives
  • Consumer collides with the workplace: As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, using multiple devices daily, personal sync and share tools infiltrate offices
  • The rise of enterprise file sync and share (EFSS): Recognising that consumer-grade tools don’t meet enterprise security requirements, CIOs seek to replace these tools with secure, business grade services
  • Beyond EFSS to intelligence and collaboration: Organizations recognize that simply having tools that mirror consumer file sync and share services, with additional security measures, don’t solve the issues at the core of EFSS. It’s time for EFSS to get smart. For organizations, the need to store, sync and share a file, morphs into collaboration. People need to not just share content with people but work on it with people

So let’s start with stage one. File sync and share services started their life in the consumer space – fast and simple tools that enabled you to access your personal files from any device or computer. It didn’t matter whether you were on your smartphone, tablet or PC, you had access to all of your images, videos and documents from any location, at any time of day. No hassle, no fuss — everything was at your fingertips.

No doubt when the first file sync and share service that comes to mind is IPO candidate Dropbox. The company filed paperwork last month on a huge $350 million funding round, with a valuation of $10 billion. This is an incredible feat for the company, which was founded in 2007 by two MIT students, and now such tools are becoming prevalent in organizations across the globe. Thus, we enter stage two.


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