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Google Ventures-backed sync-'n'-share firm changes direction. Got your attention?

Tires of that syncing feeling, hatches new plan

File sync 'n' share startup Egnyte is starting a move to expand from file management into content intelligence, entering the domain of Commvault and Veritas.

Egnyte was founded in 2007 by CEO Vineet Jain, VP Product Management RAjesh Ram, and VP Operations and Chief Security Officer Kris Lahiri. It has amassed $62.5m in funding:

  • 2007 - founding and $1m seed cash
  • 2009 - $6m A-round
  • 2011 - $10m B-round
  • 2012 - $16m C-round
  • 2013 - $29.5m D-round

It is still a private company and its file sync and sharing premise is that enterprises can share and sync files which are stored on their own IT infrastructure as well as in the cloud. Egnyte offers a hybrid service. The product is Adaptive Enterprise File Services, which also has Content Intelligence and Smart Reporting and Auditing services. This is now called Egnyte Connect.

Gartner said Egnyte was a "visionary" in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise file sync and share in July last year, moving across from the niche players' box. The leaders were Accellion, Box, Citrix and Syncplicity, with Dropbox, Google and Microsoft in the challengers' quadrant. CTERA was called a "niche" player.

One investor is Google Ventures and Egnyte stores some data in Google's cloud.

So why the move, or pivot, away from sync and share?

In January 2015, Egnyte hoped for $100m revenue that year and also hoped to reach profitability in 2016's first quarter. It says it is now cash-flow positive but hasn't said it's profitable, yet. The company has 14,000 customers, including Nasdaq and Red Bull, who are all paying for its technology – there is no freemium model.

Isabelle Guis, ex-product marketing VP and head of cloud strategy at EMC, joined Egnyte in September 2015 to become its chief strategy officer. That might have had an effect.

We read this as Egnyte trying to keep growth high by entering an adjacent market, because enterprise file sync 'n' share is maturing. It says content governance is a market that is eight times larger than enterprise file sync and share.

The new product is Egnyte Protect, which offers data protection and management as a service.

Jain says: "The reality is 85 per cent of content currently lives on-premises, but 85 per cent of apps are running in the cloud, so organizations need solutions that orchestrate all content, without compromising time, investment or existing workflows. While our roots have been in the Enterprise File Sync and Share space, we saw a real opportunity to capitalise on all the analytics we acquired and learned from our platform file usage to help customers get smarter about how they manage their content.”

The Protect product unifies a customer's content under a centralized set of policies so it has the right mix of content in the cloud and on-premises, and can migrate to the cloud at its own pace.

There are four services:

  • Access Control – Identify issues with your access and permissions functions so that you can ensure only the people who need to access files can access them;
    • Eliminate non-secure links to comply with regulatory requirements,
    • Unify permissions across content repositories for better control and security,
    • Find unusual user access patterns to limit data leakage,
  • Selective Encryption– keep a select file subset encrypted at all times, even after they leave your system, to prevent unauthorised viewing of sensitive, confidential or regulated content. 
  • Data Residency – control content location, between cloud or on-premises storage, across geographical boundaries and different vendors to comply with data sovereignty laws and other regulations,
  • Data Retention – control when and how long files should be retained, and who can access and modify them. 

The product offers near real-time alerts across multiple content repositories, and integrates with cloud and on-premises file repositories, working with works with Egnyte Connect, Box, Documentum, Dropbox, Google Drive, NAS filers, OneDrive, SharePoint, and others.

Egnyte says it is capitalising on its ability to follow a file from its creation to when it is collaboratively edited or shared, to when and where it’s consumed and by whom.

Sean Pike, program director, eDiscovery and Information Governance, IDC, provided a canned quote: "Data governance is an area IT departments historically tend to shy away from because of the perceived effort and time to value when it comes to creating and enforcing policies." By using Egnyte Protect, he says, they can avoid the costs of hiring outside experts and buying new equipment.

In a dose of consultant smooth-speak, he said: "The Egnyte Protect Smart Content Governance Solution offers IT departments SaaS delivery of a solution that comes with built-in analytical insight, scalability, security and [ability] to control content in the cloud and on-premises.”

This is a software service to bring content governance order to a mess, a mix of multiple different content stores, both on-premises and in the public cloud. If you have such a mix then it could be a cool way to overlay order on top of it.

Egnyte Protect Access Control will be delivered first, followed by other services. There is no pricing information. ®

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