EMC Syncplicity Gets Enhanced Security, Policy Control For File Sync And Share Application

EMC is enhancing its Syncplicity enterprise file sync and share application with additional enterprise features including new group-level policy assignment, the assigning of rights management control when sharing files, and better control over where the files are stored.

"This is categorically the largest release in the history of Syncplicity," said Jeetu Patel, general manager of the EMC Syncplicity business.

Unlike many file sync and share applications from companies like Dropbox and Box, Syncplicity was designed with a focus on the enterprise, not on the consumer, Patel said.

[Related: eFolder Acquires Anchor, Brings Channel-Focused File Sync And Share To Cloud Storage ]

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It provides enterprise security, compliance, privacy and data protection capabilities, but has an easy-to-use interface, he said.

"We want security and IT organizations to trust it, and users to love it," he said.

Syncplicity provides the kind of capabilities enterprises require, said Jamie Shepard, regional vice president of Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime EMC channel partner.

A lot of people use Dropbox and Box, Shepard said.

"But Syncplicity gives administration rights to IT," he said. "I can set a user up as a collaborator with authorization to change content but not able to download a file, or as someone with only read-only authorization. Or, I can allow someone to download a file. But then the whole idea is, we don't want you to take files."

New with Syncplicity this week is what Patel called a "friction-less user experience" which provides mobile device access to a user's home directory.

"This lets iOS and Android devices access data on home directories," he said. "Our philosophy is 'mobile-first.' We've completely redesigned our mobile apps to be more immersive and offer more social media capabilities."

Those capabilities include mobile editing, Patel said. "Mobile devices are primarily consumption devices, not creation," he said. "So most customers haven't been able to leave their laptops home and go completely mobile. Now we let them create and modify documents on their mobile devices without leaving their application."

NEXT: Behavior-Based Sharing Capabilities, Improved Storage

Previously, to edit a file, it was necessary to open the file, which would then cause another application to open in order to do the editing, EMC's Patel said. "Security guys hate that," he said. "It takes the document out of the secured environment. [With Syncplicity], you can edit the doc in a secure environment."

Also new is Syncplicity Insights, a feature that looks at behavioral data to make recommendation to users, Patel said.

For instance, a typical meeting with whiteboard sessions may end with everybody taking a photo of the whiteboard, he said.

"Now Syncplicity can look at your calendar, see that Joe and Sarah were in a meeting with you, and ask if you want to send the photo to them," he said. "Or you can send a proposal to a customer and the sales rep, and if 24 hours later the customer has not opened the proposal, Syncplicity can ask if you want to send a reminder email."

On the security side, Syncplicity has added secured shared files, which provides rights management capabilities right in the file, Patel said.

For example, a price sheet could be set to expire automatically at the end of the month, he said. "Even if it was saved on a memory stick or elsewhere, it couldn't be opened once it expired," he said. "It's encrypted to prevent printing or even printing the screen with the price sheet."

This also adds group-level policies that apply to everyone in certain groups rather than all users, Patel said. "So now if a customer has 100,000 users, they can apply policies specific to the legal or marketing departments," he said.

On the storage side, EMC has added Syncplicity StorageVaults, which Patel said allows certain content to be reserved on-premise instead of in the cloud for certain groups of users.

For instance, he said, marketing material might be open in the cloud for anyone to access, but financial information might stay on-premise in a StorageVault.

"This gives you complete choice about what back-end storage you want to use," he said. "Security is provided by an authorization token maintained by the customer, which cannot be accessed by others including EMC."

Lumenate's Shepard said his company has been using the new version of EMC Syncplicity in production for some time, and has found it to be very useful.

"Now, if I need a file, I can go on my smart phone, log in, and view, merge or sync it to the cloud," he said. "Syncplicity is a complete business and enterprise tool. I can block files so someone can't drag the data to an iPad or to an SD card on an Android device, and I can use it to do data protection on virtual desktops."

NEXT: Future Capabilities, Increased Competition For Syncplicity

Lumenate's Shepard said he has also seen other as-yet unannounced features to Syncplicity that will make it even better.

For instance, customers currently need to keep the metadata related to their files in a cloud even if the files are stored on-premise in order to make it possible to sync the files across multiple users or devices. However, he said, some customers are afraid of having their metadata in a cloud, because if it ever gets lost, they will lose access to the data.

"So future versions could put the data and metadata on-premise," he said. "This would compete strongly with VMware Horizon."

EMC's file sync and share competitors have not been idle in terms of targeting the enterprise.

Cloud backup and disaster recovery provider eFolder in September acquired Anchor Box, a startup developer of file sync and share technology with a focus on indirect channel partners

Dropbox in July unveiled a new platform for software developers that it said will help them add Dropbox capabilities to their applications.

Box in April introduced a version of its cloud-based content-sharing platform that is HIPAA and HITECH compliant.

Egnyte in July started providing Google Drive users with enterprise document collaboration and sharing via a solution that provides a single view of applications residing on-premises, in the cloud or on Google Drive.