Who are the leaders in the file sync and share market?

Who are the leaders in the file sync and share market?

Summary: If you're looking for an indication of how hot the file sync and share market is, look no further than Dropbox's announcement yesterday that it has over 175 million registered users. But who leads this market? Results from a new Forrester Wave might surprise you.


File sync and share is the hottest technology category since social networking. Dropbox alone now has 175 million registered users, up from 110 million just nine months ago. Dozens of vendors are going after the business version of Dropbox. There are enough disruptive forces in play -- cloud delivery, mobile devices, and partner collaboration to name just three -- that it's possible for a new entrant like Box or EMC Syncplicity or Dropbox itself to become a major new document collaboration platform.

To help CIOs and the entire industry focus on the right things and create the best short list, Forrester evaluated 16 file sync and share platforms on 26 different criteria. We interviewed the vendors and their customers to build a comprehensive view of their solutions and published it in a new Forrester Wave.

Some highlights:

  • We evaluated Accellion, Acronis, AirWatch, Alfresco, Box, Citrix, Dropbox, Egnyte, EMC, Google, Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt), IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Salesforce.com, and WatchDox on factors like mobile support, security, links to systems of record, organizational commitment, market experience, and deployment architecture to give you the decision tools to create the right shortlist for your particular environment and scenarios.
  • In addition to these criteria, we recommend that you think carefully about whether you can use the cloud (better for mobile support and partner collaboration), whether you want to deploy now with a startup or wait until your next upgrade with a major platform player, and whether you can afford to give every employee a license or subscription to the service.
  • There are more vendors competing for this market than we've seen in years. Narrowing the field to 16 vendors meant focusing in on the ones that Forrester's CIO clients are asking about most frequently and the ones that we felt had strong momentum and a broad business scenario focus in January when we started the process. Even so, we had to leave out some important vendors: BoardVantage, Good Technology, Intralinks, and Workshare.

There's a lot to say about what business scenarios these platforms support; about what the right pricing model is for various scenarios; the role of APIs in turning the cloud-based solutions from Dropbox and Box in particular into full-blown ecosystems; and the overall size, scope, and future of this market. But we'll have to tackle that when back from vacation at the end of the month. Meanwhile, here are the results:

  • Box has a half-length lead on the others. Box comes out a little ahead because it covers more ground than the other solutions in both its current offering and strategic choices.
  • EMC and IBM inch into Leader positions. These two vendors have strong offerings and a solid strategy for success, but each misses on a key capability, either in the current offering or strategy.
  • Accellion, Citrix, Egnyte, and WatchDox head a crowded field of Strong Performers. These vendors are missing on some key aspect of a leadership product but have solid offerings.
  • AirWatch, Alfresco, Dropbox, and Salesforce.com are in the middle of Strong Performers. These vendors, too, have solid offerings though missing a bit more on either current offering or strategy.
  • Acronis, Google, Hightail (formerly YouSendIt), and Microsoft round out the Strong Performer category. These vendors earn the Strong Performer label but are missing key elements, either in their strategy or current offering.
  • Novell, even at this early stage, has established itself as a Contender.This product was in beta when we evaluated it and is only just now coming into general availability.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, EMC, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com

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  • Market lead and feature lead are two different things

    I certainly don't think anyone can (or should bother trying) to dispute DropBox's market share lead. It is just not in doubt.

    Box has great features. And they're really putting effort into it, with strong business and developer features. But they do not have the market lead. All the best to them though - they're working for it.
    • Dropbox is the market lead, but Box is not the feature lead

      With over 200 million users, Dropbox is clearly the market lead. But feature-wise, Dropbox is weak, Box is only slightly better. There are detailed feature comparisons on DriveHQ website.
  • SpiderOak

    This is one of my favorites. It runs on PC, MAC, and Linux. It has encryption built in and is reasonably priced. $100 for 100 gigs, or $50 if you have a .edu email.
  • Security and control can be an issue

    There are a lot of concerns, especially in large enterprises and in regulated industries, about retaining control over documents and important files that are shared outside the firewall. In fact, we found that 49% of companies we surveyed block access to consumer sync and share applications, largely due to fears about security and governance.

    For companies with these concerns it’s worth looking at solutions that have the ability to revoke access to individual files at will, even after they’ve been shared and copied widely. Being able to ‘unshare’ files gives organizations the confidence and trust they need, while freeing users to collaborate efficiently and safely.

    Ian Bruce / Intralinks
    • You cannot expect a consumer service to have advanced security features

      The problem with Dropbox is, once you share a folder to another user, the folder becomes their folder, thus you cannot unshare it. Another problem is if the other user does not have enough free storage space, he will have to upgrade his service to access the shared files. DriveHQ's cloud IT service is designed for businesses. It has fine granular access control, you can share different folders to different users with different permissions, You can group users into sub-groups and contact groups. You can share different folders to different sub-groups and contact groups with different permissions. Please check out our features on DriveHQ.com website.
  • TeamDrive - European Sync & Share Software Developer - Patriot Act

    Nearly 99 % of all Sync & Share developer are American companies. The US law enables the US government to snoop on Europeans’ data held with US cloud providers without needing to obtain a warrant. As written by the Guardian, “The NSA document indicates that it is planning to add Dropbox as a PRISM provider”.

    TeamDrive is an alternative to US cloud computing giants Dropbox, Box and Google etc. European companies that want to avoid being snooped on by the US government can trust TeamDrive. TeamDrive gives you a free choice of server, plus full end-to-end encryption, plus TeamDrive is based in Germany and is not subject to FISAA. I was missing this subject in the Forrester report.
  • Many solutions are available, but is it all secure? what about integration?

    When we looked at the MFT (Manage File Transfer) we looked for a solution with the following capabilities:

    1. Intuitive secure file transfer from Outlook or a user-friendly web interface, with no file
    size limit and secure access from any device.

    2. Multiple security measures to meet the most stringent security standards, including:
    secured links, one-time-password, encryption, and Secure Front End (no data duplication)

    3. Securely send or receive files from external users, with no need to for external users
    to install any software

    4. Multiple security and audit trail capabilities to meet industry and governments
    regulations (SOX, GLBA, PCI, HIPAA, and more) Security

    5. Integration - it was key for our company to easily build business process securely keep our data protected while building such process in a collaboration platform - integration with CRM,ERP our AS400, DLP, AV, LDAP, AD - making sure sensitive large files and transaction are being secured.

    We finally after reviewing some of the listed companies selected Safe-T for its ability to integrate our Business, IT and security systems, fully integrated with our outlook but yet bypass it in terms of large files, NO KEYS (PKI) OTP generation and last their ability to secure the data center using their RSAccess technology. To sum it is much more than file sync and file share