Egnyte pledges cloud storage flexibility

By bridging local and remote storage, the hybrid service offers another twist on collaboration and file archiving.

Many times, the debate about cloud storage versus local file-sharing approaches comes down to an either/or argument. But why should a small or midsize business (SMB) be forced to use just one of these options?

That's the question posed by Egnyte. What makes this company more than just another cloud storage service provider is its focus on giving SMBs more than one place to keep their files, if they want. Those places might include Egnyte's own resources, infrastructure from Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, or even local storage devices. 

"Any discussion that doesn't include information about local storage is incomplete," said Rajesh Ram, vice president of product management for Egnyte. "We have a product that lets you align the local and cloud storage and keep them in sync to get the job done."

What's the point of this? Consider an organization that might need to deal with very large files, such as CAD drawings for a construction project. Those sorts of files can eat up a lot of space and bandwidth, which can cause network bottlenecks if the only place they are stored or backed up is in the cloud, Ram said. 

That was exactly the consideration for EIMC, a small marine survey and insurance company based in Jersey City, NJ. The company supports about 40 people in the headquarters location and across remote home offices. When EIMC opted for Egnyte about three years ago, it wanted to bridge a NAS solution and various cloud solutions — and move away from managing its own file server. Its assessment was sparked by the needs of an EIMC consultant, who was forced to move because of her husband's relocation and needed a better remote working option. 

"Egnyte was a lucky find," said Paul Hammes, senior vice president for the company.

EIMC views Egnyte as a file-sharing and collaboration solution, with disaster recovery benefits. The employees at the company's headquarters office use the Egnyte Office Local Cloud, which serves as a central access point for the remote employees (much like a traditional file server). The remote workers use the Egnyte Personal Local Cloud service, which keeps selected files synchronized between their computers and the central service.

The service also enables EIMC to share reports — full of claims documentation and photos — with clients securely, Hammes said. Along the way, its process has become completely paperless. "In the past, we would have to send several emails to share this. Now we can create one special folder and place the items there," Hammes said.

Egnyte prices its small-business plans at $8 to $10 per user per month, including central management and centrally controlled access permissions, Ram said. The Premium edition, which includes features such as single sign-on, two-factor authentication and Active Directory support, starts at $15 per user per month.

Egnyte estimates that more than 1 billion files are shared daily using its service. The Mountain View, Calif., company was founded in 2007. Its backers include Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Floodgate Fund, and Polaris Venture Partners.

Update (June 26, 2013): Since this article was reported, Egnyte has changed its pricing policies. It no longer discloses enterprise pricing and includes two-factor authentication wthin its Egnyte's Advanced Authentication package. The small business pricing is $8 per user per month for companies with five to 24 employees.