What's really new with the latest Egnyte update
We were already quite familiar with enterprise file-sharing provider Egnyte, having written a few news articles and Tales From The Cloud case studies about the company. The company has always boasted that it's different from competitors like Box because it supports a hybrid model -- companies need not store all their data in the cloud, but can store some of it on-premises. Users access the data from the same unified interface.
So it was confusing today when the company announced a new product called Storage Connect, which Egnyte says gives users access to files stored behind a company's firewall. The confusion was compounded by a simultaneous rebrand -- complete with new logo -- which looked like an effort to help Egnyte gain mindshare against the growing hype around Box, and a press release announcing a "PRISM Protection Program," which looked like a marketing ploy based around the National Security Agency's recently revealed activities.
At first glance, Storage Connect seemed simply like a rebrand of the Egnyte Local Cloud product the company already had.
Apparently not. The key difference, says Chief Marketing Officer Barry Phillips, is that Local Cloud (now renamed Storage Sync) still required companies to upload a duplicate of locally stored files to Egnyte's cloud in order to make them accessible via a mobile device like an iPad. Users would actually be accessing the file on a local server or storage device over a LAN -- vital to save bandwidth if a company is working with huge CAD files or drawings, for instance. (Many of Egnyte's customers are in the construction industry.) But data still had to be uploaded to the cloud so that Egnyte could accomplish tasks like inheriting folder-level permissions -- something that Phillips points out Box does not do. Essentially, the control mechanism required the cloud, even as the actual file access took place locally.
With the new product, Storage Connect, nothing ever has to be uploaded to Egnyte's cloud. Selected files and all metadata about them live entirely and exclusively behind the company's firewall, and users access them without ever making a call to Egnyte's cloud service.
This prevents an unlikely but possible situation, where a government agency might subpoena a cloud service provider for data without ever telling the customer (and forbidding the cloud provider to do so). In this case, Egnyte would simply respond, "We'd love to comply with your subpoena, but we have no access to that data," as Phillips puts it.
This is probably an edge case for most companies, but could be useful for extremely sensitive files like documents related to an upcoming merger.
At any rate, it continue's Egnyte's value proposition of offering maximum flexibility -- customers can use a single interface to access files no matter where they're stored, whether in Egnyte's cloud, a third-party cloud like Google Drive, or locally. That could help the company continue to gain customers against its noisier competitors.
Customers have taken control of the buying process, and gone are the days of the carefully crafted marketing message. That means you have to deliver relevant, quality content in the proper context of the customer's situation and device they are using -- and that's a huge challenge for most companies.
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