The use of corporate file sharing services is growing, but what’s behind this growth? The BYOD trend has been a key driver for the online file sharing market. The preponderance of smartphones and tablets in the workplace has driven many companies to sign up for and deploy a corporate account with an online file sharing (OFS) service.
To investigate the relationship between BYOD and OFS, ESG surveyed nearly 500 IT professionals at organizations of all sizes. The survey found that 41% of organizations that are experiencing significant growth in smartpohne and tablet usage already have a corporate OFS account in place, and another 27% expect to set up a corporate OFS account in the next year. On the other end of the spectrum, more than half (52%) of organizations that are experiencing little or no growth in alternative endpoint devices have no interest in a corporate OFS account.
The market for online file storage and collaboration solutions continues to heat up. When Kristine Kao and I published our market landscape report in December, we narrowed the field of players down to eight vendors - certainly there were a lot in the mix, but when we put the "business use" and "collaboration" filters on the project, we ultimately had to exclude those that focused primarily on backup and archive or lacked any business licensing models.
If I have to take one overarching theme away from CITE this week, I think the title sums it up: IT needs to empower mobile workers and others that are using consumer technology because otherwise they will just empower themselves. Mobile devices are here, in the enterprise-embrace or die. And that really is what is so important about the online file sharing and collaboration space. I presented on the storage implications of consumerization yesterday, where we discussed the online file sharing and collaboration market. I asked the audience a couple of questions:
That's the thing. Mobile device users are empowering themselves with solutions that allow them to access their one copy of data from any endpoint device and anywhere - they are not waiting for IT to solve the multiple device data access issue. These solutions are already in the enterprise. But the big challenge there, the big danger there, is that when users sign up for these accounts, any data that they store in Box, YouSendIt, or whatever solution they pick goes with them when they leave. Data stays with the account owner, and in a BYOD environment you can't do anything about it! One user I spoke to this week made the point that they wipe everything off of every device when a user leaves, it is part of the contract, but really, how many companies have that type of policy in place? How much will employees stand for it when they use the device for both personal and business use?
If a company sanctions and deploys an online file sharing solution for its employees, the tables are turned, they are in control. If they use something like Syncplicity, YouSendIt, TeamDrive, or many of the other 20 or so vendors now in this space, when someone leaves, they can just wipe the folders. In some solutions they can fully track data flows into and out of the folders (very big brotherish - but there are a variety of solutions on the market to meet the variety of corporate requirements). It is not perfect and there will likely still be security holes, just like there are today. But the thing is, if the company deploys the solution, the data stays with the company. This is really why IT needs to get in front of this issue - if the data stays with the owner of the account, the owner of the account needs to be the business!
You can read Terri's other blog entries at IT Depends.
It is truly amazing how quickly the online file sharing and collaboration market has been inundated with vendors either expanding into the space or new start-ups cropping up with new offerings. It's a really hot market right now, because it is a really big problem for enterprise IT.
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