While it may seem like the cloud storage and file syncing
market has become a fairly settled one – Dropbox is the king with a few other
vendors filling out the royal court – it seems like every day there is news
about new players entering the game or minor players releasing new features.
The truth is, at least in the enterprise space, that the majority
of IT departments and organizations out there are still trying to figure out a
secure and effective way to extend its existing storage arrays out into the
cloud and onto mobile devices.
Dropbox may be the king with consumers, but there are plenty
of viable enterprise alternatives out there for IT to choose from. Here are
some of the latest vendors or products that have recently caught my attention over the last month or so.
Nasuni has made a name
for itself by focusing on enterprise-class cloud storage for SMBs and large businesses
with remote office locations by combining on-premises hardware with cloud
storage. The idea is to create a flexible, hybrid approach.
About a week ago, the Natick, Mass.-based company finally added support for Android and iOS devices, which will
extend a company’s storage infrastructure to mobile devices.
For IT, the same security policies that apply on desktops
behind the firewall also apply on mobile devices. The company says this
approach is not merely integrating with Active Directory, like other vendors in
the market, but extending AD to new endpoint devices. It’s treating mobile no
differently than it would treat a desktop or laptop.
Natsuni charges customers based on the amount of storage
they have under management.
OneHub is an FTP server
replacement to make file syncing and content collaboration/management a bit
easier. This week, the Seattle-based company launched a new iPad application to
complement its existing iPhone application. To be honest, I’m not entirely
familiar with OneHub, but the company started in 2007 and the products seem
tastefully designed and highly user-friendly.
Some nice features that caught my eye were the ability for
business to customize and re-brand the OneHub product so it looks like a
home-grown application. That could be a huge benefit to companies that work
with external customers and need to share documents in a collaborative space.
OneHub can be installed locally, behind the firewall, or it
can also work as a cloub-based SaaS version. For $500 per month, enterprises
get an unlimited number of users and workspaces, one TB of storage,
customization, and a bevy of IT security and policy control measures.
SkyDox is a UK-based
file sharing and collaboration platform that aims to bring the cloud to the
enterprise. It began in 2009 and now it’s merging with Workshare, a document
comparison and control company that has been around for 13 years.
The merger isn’t terribly surprising given that each company
was founded by the same person. SkyDox provides a cloud platform and Workshare
brings a heritage of 18,000 global companies, incredible penetration into the
legal services market (approximately 500,000 users in that market alone), and robust desktop software. Over the next six months
and three planned feature releases, the two companies will merge products into
a single offering that will offer both cloud storage, file syncing, and now
better document collaboration and versioning control.
Existing customers will get a free upgrade as the features
rollout and new customers will have three subscription service tiers to choose
from. The Personal Tier is free and includes limited features and storage, Team
costs $180 per user per year, and Enterprise costs $300 per user per year.
The Team level allows features such as synchronization,
audit trails, mobile app access, admin interface to set policy, etc. The Enterprise
version allows for all of that, plus things like full index search, metadata
management, backend integration with other document management systems.
the Team subscription you can have between three and 99 seats, and with Enterprise,
you can have from 100 to an unlimited number of users.
Rather than taking a one ring to rule them all approach,
Seattle-based Topia Technology is
charting a slightly unique path with Skoot. The product acts as a connecting
platform, allowing organizations to share and track data across devices and
applications like Dropbox and Google Docs. Integration with Box, SkyDrive,
Google Drive and more are in the works, the company told me in an interview.
The idea is to not become a storage provider (although they
do offer that with Skoot Vault), but to tie together all the various systems
that users are adopting to get around IT. With Skoot, IT can register devices
and content, and then catalog the data with metadata. That metadata is then
encrypted and passed through the Skoot Vault for syncing across registered
devices. When that metadata is accessed on a device it is de-encrypted
cient-side for viewing or editing within say, QuickOffice.
As of right now, there is support for iOS, Android, and
Windows, with a Mac OSX client and a web client at the end of September. Skoot
is licensed on an annual basis based on the number of users. It starts at
$18.95 per user per year for 2,000 users.
Axway is a software company best known for a host of
enterprise security and integration products, including MailGate which protects
email servers from spam, inbound attacks, and outbound data loss prevention.
DropZone, then, isn’t a wild departure for the company. It’s
explicitly designed to be functionally similar to Dropbox, but with better
security and policy measures that are controlled by IT departments. It’s
integrated with Active Directory and there’s an Outlook plugin so users can
access files and manage sharing through the one piece of software they probably
spend 90% of their time in.
At the same time, there’s also support for a browser-based
client. Mobile applications are working their way through the approval process.
To get set up, IT departments simply need to install the linux appliance, which
is locked down through SSL encryption and go through the installation menu. Set
up integration links between LDAP servers, set various privileges and user
roles, they should be good to go. Taking it a step further, they can then
customize the product and deploy the Outlook plugin.
It’s a different approach because it’s so heavily
enterprised focused. It feels like an enterprise product mimicking the
functionality of consumer products. Is that a good approach? I don’t know, it
probably depends on how easy it is to use.
After all, if none of these products are as close to being
as easy as Dropbox to use, then it doesn’t really matter, does it? People are
still going to revert back to the king.
(Note: You must be logged in to post a comment.)
If you log in and nothing happens, delete your cookies from BrianMadden.com and try again. Sorry about that, but we had to make a one-time change to the cookie path when we migrated web servers.