Gartner Research

Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing: Business Drivers, Use Cases and Architecture

Published: 09 January 2015

ID: G00261734

Analyst(s): Guy Creese


Many companies are buying EFSS solutions to enable basic collaboration. This assessment describes the EFSS business drivers, use cases and architectural options as a way to help enterprises choose the solution most appropriate to their specific needs.

Table Of Contents


  • EFSS: Why Is It So Popular?
    • User Demand for Anytime, Anywhere Access to Files
    • Storage and Broadband Ubiquity
    • Vendor Self-Interest
  • IT's Additional Demands
    • Security
    • Administration
  • Four Business Drivers for EFSS
    • Synchronizing a Working Set of Documents Across Devices
    • Enabling Simple, File-Centric Collaboration Inside and Outside the Enterprise
    • Replacing Fileshares
    • Replacing Backup
  • Four Common Use Cases
    • Collaborative Document Management
    • Extranet
    • High Security
    • Mobile Workforce
  • Five Things to Be Wary Of
    • Minimizing User Involvement
    • Ignoring Scaling Issues
    • Giving Short Shrift to Compliance
    • Piling on the Security Mechanisms
    • Not Thinking Through How to Migrate Away From the EFSS Solution
  • EFSS Market
    • Market Segmentation
    • Market Dynamics
    • Market Futures
  • Five Enterprise Buying Patterns
    • Buying From an Incumbent Vendor
    • Using a Vendor Who Has a Similar Worldview
    • Choosing the Path of Least User Resistance
    • Buying Multiple Solutions
    • Agonizing Over Features
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Gather User Requirements: Segment Users and Ask What They're Using and Why
  • Gather Business and IT Requirements: Review Security, Compliance and Other Issues
  • Publish the Requirements: Present Them in Partnership With Users and the Business
  • Go Tactical: Select a Good-Enough EFSS Solution
  • Implement the Strategy: Concentrate on Adoption
  • Do It Again: Continue to Monitor the Market and Use Cases

The Details

  • Delivery Models
    • Cloud
    • On-Premises
    • Hybrid
  • Repository Storage Locations
    • On an EFSS Repository Behind the Firewall
    • On an EFSS Repository in the Cloud
    • On Current Storage Behind the Firewall
    • On EFSS Repositories in the Cloud and On-Premises
  • Data Locations on the Mobile Device
    • Within the EFSS Application
    • Within an EMM Container
  • Synchronization Topology
    • Hub and Spoke
    • Peer-to-Peer
  • Desktop Synchronization Configuration
    • Common Folder
    • Folder Tagging
  • File Synchronization
    • File Transfer Mechanics
    • File Size Limitations
    • Storage Limits
  • Versioning
  • Protecting the Data
    • Encryption
    • Digital Rights Management
    • Data Loss Prevention
  • Integration With Other Systems
    • APIs
    • Other EFSS Systems
    • Content Management Systems
    • Enterprise Mobility Management

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