While the pending IPOs of Dropbox and Box have generated much interest among investors looking for the next big investment opportunity, it is the file sync and share technology that, along with many startup and old-school storage vendors, is causing much excitement in the channel.
That excitement stems from a combination of a fast-growing market and the opportunity for solution providers to help clients deploy a technology that enables them to make corporate information available to internal and external customers while giving businesses a way to centrally manage and control access to that information.
For businesses, deploying file sync and share technology is no longer an option, said Rafi Kronzon, CEO of Cartwheel, a New York-based outsourced business solution provider.
"This is a situation where the technology is being forced on CIOs worldwide," Kronzon said. "A business' first experience with file sync and share is typically when an employee uses a private Dropbox account at work. That's not ideal for CIOs. They lose control over the data. This is the biggest loss of control by CIOs ever."
The traditional response of businesses to employees' need to make files available for sharing or collaborating has been defensive, including putting up firewalls or trying to prevent the technology's use altogether, Kronzon said. "But it's a losing battle," he said.
While file sync and share technology started to gain traction when companies like Dropbox and Box offered it to individual users as a simple alternative to traditional ways to manage files, for business users, it has become important to work with channel partners to deploy, said Larry Velez, CTO and founder of Sinu, a New York-based MSP.
File sync and share services started out at a basic level with a single folder for syncing files, but customers are now adding shared folders, shared permissions, controlled permissions and other features that have been a part of file solutions for 30 years, Velez said.
"As you add permissioning, you need more baby-sitting," he said. "Business customers can't manage permissions for 400 users. And there will be a lot more complex features coming. Solution providers that have been working with file solutions for years will be in demand. They know how to do this."
That's a big opportunity for the channel, Velez said. "We're experts in architecture design and long-term maintenance," he said.
NEXT: The Channel's Role In File Sync And Share Market