Recent Enterprise File Sync and Sharing News

Here is a brief round-up of some recent news from the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing market segment.

EFSS Application Security

MobileIron published a whitepaper, titled “State of App Security”, that includes results of a survey conducted with its customers. The survey and white paper are briefly summarized in this post.
Survey respondents were asked to list the cloud applications that had been blacklisted by their IT departments. Of the top ten apps listed, five were EFSS solutions: Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and SugarSync.
It’s important to note that all of these blacklisted apps are consumer-oriented and their vendors do offer business versions that are not commonly blacklisted because they include better security features. However, the unauthorized or “shadow” use of consumer EFSS solutions within businesses continues to pose significant information security risks.

Dropbox Doubles Down on Business

Dropbox made several product and business strategy announcements at its inaugural customer event, Dropbox Open, which was held on November 4th, in San Francisco. Most were directly relevant to the company’s increasing focus on businesses, rather than consumers. They are  briefly summarized in this Dropbox post, but here’s the skinny on a few.
First, it’s clear why Dropbox is doubling down on its efforts to win over organizations. The company announced that it has signed up around 50,000 new organizations as paying Dropbox Business customers in the last year. Dropbox now claims to have 150,000 business customers; that’s organizations, not seats. The company stated that business is it’s fastest growing target market.
To underscore the point, Dropbox announced a new product, Dropbox Enterprise, which “provides the same core security features, admin capabilities, and modern collaboration tools as Dropbox Business — plus new deployment tools, advanced controls, and services and support designed specifically for large organizations.”
Dropbox also announced three new administrative features that will be included in Dropbox Business as well as in Dropbox Enterprise. The new capabilities ‒ suspended user state, sign in as user, and custom branding ‒ are available now through the company’s Early Access program, with no general release date given.
Dropbox is going down the same road that Box has already traveled. It started with a consumer grade product, added functionality to make it more attractive and useful for small and medium businesses, and now is incorporating the robust security and control features that IT departments in large enterprises demand. The big question now is can Dropbox overtake Box in the EFSS market?

Google Drive Adds New Features

Google announced three new capabilities that are intended to improve the usability of Google Drive. These new features apply to all Google Drive users, not just business employees.
It’s now possible to receive a notification from the application on your Android or iOS device when someone has shared a file or folder with you. Previously, those notifications were made via email. The new notifications are actionable; clicking the link will take you to the document or folder that has bee shared.
Google Drive users can now request and grant access to a file or folder to which a link has been sent, but the owner forgot to extend access rights. The feature is mobile friendly. Android users can request access with a single tap. File and folder owners can instantly be notified of the request and provide access from their Android or iOS device.
Finally, it’s now possible to preview files stored on Google Drive on Android devices even if you don’t have a Google account. That feature has been available in Web browsers for a while and makes sense in that context. It’s hard to imagine why an Android device owner wouldn’t have a Google account, but, apparently, its is a problem and Google chose to address it.

Syncplicity Plays Catch-Up on Mobile Security

Syncplicity announced partnerships with AirWatch and MobileIron to help customers secure files on mobile devices. It should be safe to assume that the integration with AirWatch had been ready (or nearly so) for quite a while, since both were owned by EMC until it spun off Syncplicity a couple of months ago. At any rate, these partnerships merely bring Syncplicity even with its competitors, who have had similar partnerships or their own mobile device containerization capabilities for some time now.

Box Expands Its European Presence

Box has opened two new offices in Europe in the last 3 weeks, one in Amsterdam and another in Stockholm. This continental presence is crucial to Box as it seeks to grow by expanding overseas sales efforts. However, the new offices also raise questions about how Box (and competitors) will deal with the recent nullification of the Safe Harbor agreement that had been in place between the European Union and the United States.

ownCloud Brings Control of Open Source EFSS On-Premises

ownCloud announced the newest version (8.2) of its open source EFFS offering, which moves it to a hybrid model. With ownCloud 8.2, it’s now possible for customers to deliver security and control of their files residing in the cloud through an on-premises adminstrative console.

Linoma GoDrive Customers Gain Mobile Access

In another transformation to a vendor’s existing EFSS model, Linoma Software unveiled its GoAnywhere mobile apps for its GoDrive on-premises EFSS solution. Linoma customers can now access files residing in GoDrive from iOS and Android mobile devices. While files and folder are encrypted during transit, Linoma does not secure files while they are on a mobile device. However, they do provide an administrative capability to deactivate and wipe files and folders from devices that have been lost or stolen.

Lion 101: Working with PDFs in Preview

Preview is definitely one of the under-appreciated gems of OS X. Preview actually has two main uses. One for graphics and photos, and another specific to PDFs. There are certain very handy capabilities in Preview that are only available when working with PDF files.

Apple Posts iOS 4.2 iPad Details, No Release Date Yet

Apple has posted a new “Coming Soon” tag on its page about the iOS 4.2 update for iPad. The update has already reached GM status in pre-release, so it should be ready for release soon. Steve Jobs originally announced that it would be available in November.

TechUniversity: Preview

On the surface, Apple’s Preview application doesn’t appear to do much other than display PDFs and images. But it actually is quite powerful and has some really great features.

iTunes Web Previews Now Live for Apps, Too

Apple’s (s aapl) .itms links are either the scourge of the universe, or a very handy little shortcut to getting at iTunes content, depending on who you ask and what mood they happen to be in. My personal policy is always to give people fair warning (warning: this Pastebot link opens iTunes) when I’m linking to the iTunes store, to prevent unexpected program launches when they might not be most convenient.

Recently, Apple introduced preview launch pages for its iTunes musical content. The new pages, which replace the boring “iTunes is launching, please wait” dialog that used to appear, provide basically a snapshot of what you’ll find when that iTunes icon eventually stops bouncing and you’re taken to the relevant page on the iTunes store. And now iPhone apps have received the same treatment. Read More about iTunes Web Previews Now Live for Apps, Too

Tweetie 2: The Complete iPhone Preview


The sequel to Tweetie, the Twitter client that earned itself the much-coveted Apple Design Award earlier this year, is on its way to the App Store as you read this.

For the past few weeks I’ve been part of Loren Brichter‘s Tweetie 2 beta program, testing out new features as the former Apple (s aapl) engineer constructed his new Twitter client.

Brichter has rebuilt Tweetie from the ground-up. The sequel incorporates features such as app persistence, offline mode, drafts, threaded conversations, landscape support and much more.

Read on for an in-depth look at what to expect from Tweetie 2.
Read More about Tweetie 2: The Complete iPhone Preview

Sprouter: Good Things Growing for Entrepreneurs

logo_sprouterI’m not biased towards Toronto, despite calling it home, but it seems like a lot of good web things are brewing in this city. There’s FreshBooks, one of the leading online invoicing services for freelancers and businesses, and now there’s Sprouter, a new web app that’s still in private beta.
Sprouter, like many web apps these days, takes some significant cues from Twitter. In fact, at first glance, it appears to be pretty much Twitter designed for a specific target audience: entrepreneurs. Read More about Sprouter: Good Things Growing for Entrepreneurs

Google Chrome Mac Developer Preview Works Like a Charm

Picture 22I still take it as a personal affront that Mac (s aapl) users have had to wait so long for a usable build of Google Chrome (s goog). Since I haven’t done any Windows-related work in a good while now, running Chrome was really my only reason for using any kind of OS virtualization. I barely even have cause to open MS Word anymore.

Finally, as Simon mentioned last week, we Apple fans have got a Chrome build near enough completion to get worked up about. It isn’t anywhere near a proper final build, but it does work well enough that I felt comfortable using it to compose this piece. It’s good enough for most web work that doesn’t involve using Flash (which is almost all of it, in my case, I’m realizing). Read More about Google Chrome Mac Developer Preview Works Like a Charm

LaunchSplash: Don’t Let “Under Construction” Lose You Business

launchsplashThis isn’t so much a full web app review as it is an announcement to heighten people’s awareness of a big no-no in web work. It’s not as much of a problem as it used to be, since I think people are getting better at avoiding this particular pitfall, but nothing annoys me (and clients) more than visiting a site and finding nothing but an “Under Construction” or “The site is currently being redesigned” page. In all likelihood, unless the page being visited is for a hotly anticipated new product from a major company, your visitor will never come back.

There’s one sure way to stay out of trouble, and that’s to wait to launch your web site until you actually have some content in a presentable form to show people. If, for whatever reason, you can’t wait that long (maybe your client wants to build the sort of anticipation normally reserved for companies like Capcom and Apple (s aapl), for instance), then your placeholder should be functional rather than static. That’s where LaunchSplash comes in. Read More about LaunchSplash: Don’t Let “Under Construction” Lose You Business