Is Enterprise File Sync and Share the Same as Data Protection?

Enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services enable files that are stored either in an on-premises storage array or a cloud service, to be shared among multiple users and accessed by remote endpoint devices or desktops. Enterprise-grade EFSS services designed for corporate use are designed to facilitate secure collaboration and content management as well as sharing among employees, with capabilities such as live commenting and synchronization of file changes across a distributed user base.

EFSS is an important collaboration tool for enterprises, but it is important for IT professionals to be aware that, for several reasons, EFSS cannot replace endpoint data protection. The first reason is that the EFSS solution does not have access to the full spectrum of the enterprise’s data. Storage Switzerland’s audits of IT environments and engagements with IT professionals reflect that only about 30% of a typical enterprise’s data is stored on the company’s internal infrastructure. Endpoint devices are literally the front lines in terms of enabling employees to do their jobs every day. It is very common that an employee will download, store, access and edit files directly on a device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Compounding this problem is that the device itself might be a personal device, as opposed to a corporate device that is sanctioned and more controlled by IT. At the same time, backup software provider Carbonite has found that nearly two-thirds of employees are using an unauthorized EFSS solution (one that they independently procured with a personal account). Additionally, it may have limited features and functionalities, and IT most likely does not have visibility into or control over it. In both cases, the enterprise cannot control how that data is being utilized and who else the employee might allow to access to the data. This creates significant risk for a leak of corporate data. Meanwhile, if the device is lost or stolen or if the employee leaves the company, the data is gone. It cannot be retrieved.

In addition to loss prevention and avoiding data getting in to the wrong hands, data protection is needed to protect against malware. For example, malware almost always enters the enterprise through a laptop first. If that data is not properly protected, there is no way to restore to a point in time before the corruption occurred or before ransomware entered the environment. What’s more, the problem can quickly ripple across the environment and become replicated to other devices, without the ability to trace it back. In addition to inhibiting day-to-day operations and potentially tarnishing the company’s brand reputation, data loss inhibits the company’s ability to comply with data privacy regulations (which can tack on strict fines).

A comprehensive endpoint strategy that includes endpoint protection is needed. To learn more, access Storage Switzerland’s on demand webinar with Carbonite, “Is It Time to Upgrade Your Endpoint Data Strategy?”.

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Senior Analyst, Krista Macomber produces analyst commentary and contributes to a range of client deliverables including white papers, webinars and videos for Storage Switzerland. She has a decade of experience covering all things storage, data center and cloud infrastructure, including: technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her previous experience includes leading the IT infrastructure practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research, and leading market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

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