Egnyte is a privately held company based out of Mountain View in California that was started in 2007 by a small team of individuals backed by venture capitalists.
The platform it developed is squarely aimed at Business customers looking for something more sophisticated than just a cloud backup and sharing facility.
Egnyte Connect is the core service that provides the sharing component, and Egnyte Protect is the matching governance part that enforces data protection and regulatory compliance.
Today we’ll be looking specifically at Egnyte Connect and what this solution offers that is beyond the typical cloud storage solution.
- Want to try Egnyte Connect? Check out the website here
It’s tempting to look at Egnyte and see a dozen other cloud storage solutions, all that offers a web interface and desktop application that enables employees to centrally access documents and share them inside and outside the company.
However, Egnyte is so much more than that, even if the parallels between this any other solutions are obvious.
As the simplest level, this is a website that gives you access to a file system that you can administer and desktop sync applications that makes locally stored files travel automatically to the cloud.
But the devil in this detail is how those files are controlled and distributed, and how Egnyte splices very elegantly into the other software tools that many companies already use.
Both Office 365 and Google Docs are integrated, allowing you to create those files within the web interface directly into the cloud space.
And, when you do that and then open them for editing (desktop and cloud), they are now locked from modification to other users, until you’ve finished with them.
But it isn’t just these two platforms this product can exploit, Egnyte also connects to Salesforce, Slack, SAP, Gmail, Zoho, SharePoint Online, Active Directory, OneNote, AutoCAD, Freshdesk and a 100 other often used tools.
You can have e-signatures through RightSignature, collaboration with Confluence, Form creation with 123Form Builder, project management with Trello, the possibilities are extensive.
And, if the tool that you use most isn’t included then you can ask for it to be considered, as Egnyte is adding new ones all the time.
Most integrations are free, assuming you already have the licenses for the tools you intend to use in conjunction with Egnyte.
A development API is available, for those that have bespoke solutions that they’d like to use with Egnyte.
The only aspect of this product that might need some work is the desktop sync tool.
It works well enough and moves files to and from cloud storage as you might expect, although it doesn’t allow you to pluck files or folders from any location on the computer and sync those.
Some applications like to put important files in obscure folder structures outside the Documents tree and moving them under one common construct can prove difficult.
For those with that problem, another software tool will be needed to sync these folders to a copy in the Egnyte connected drive enabling them to be secured and distributed along with everything else.
For those wondering what happens when the internet connection breaks, Egnyte does have a few options for those that can have that happen to them.
These create a hybrid cloud solution using Netgear ReadyNAS hardware so that should the internet become unavailable it’s business-as-usual until it comes back.
To help those where broadband performance is the issue, Egnyte Turbo provides on-premises caching so that local users aren’t held back by internet connection speeds.
Through extra apps and inherent design, Egnyte has considered most of the scenarios that a business will encounter if they move to cloud storage from a conventional file server model.
The security in Egnyte is as good as you might reasonably want it to be, depending on your specific needs.
Files stored on Egnyte, are living in a Tier II SSAE-16 complaint facility, encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption with the option to be further protected with extra authentication layers.
Extra authentication requires either the Business or Enterprise plans, as the entry Office level doesn’t offer advanced authentication.
Business Plan customers get multi-factor authentication and centralised device management, where Enterprise customers also get Egnyte Key Management on top of that.
That last feature allows the encryption keys to live elsewhere than Egnyte, using Amazon Cloud HSM, Microsoft Azure Key or a selection of on-premises HSM options.
Those that want to take responsibility for their own keys need to realise that should the key be lost that those files will be encrypted for eternity, effectively.
Those are the headline security features, but it’s the smaller stuff that Egnyte implemented that truly helps to keep data safe on this system.
For example, while global security controls over the file space are implemented, it is possible to put very specific security on folders and files and who has access to them at a granular level.
For those businesses that like to share files with clients and vendors, this allows them to create a share that is access controlled, time-limited, fully audited and easily revocable.
Data from the system that is resident on computers or mobile devices can be remotely wiped in the event of theft or employee issues, and a complete record of all file and folder changes is retained.
In short, the security implementation of Egnyte is top-drawer.
Egnyte offers three Business and a Team plan, although we’d recommend you stick to the Business side of this solution because of all the extra functionality it offers.
The lowest tier is Office, designed for 5-25 employees and that costs $8 per month for each person and provides 5TB of space and 10GB maximum file size.
For those that want two-factor-authentication and have more employees the next tier is Business, covering 25-100 people for $15 per month with 10TB of space and 10GB files sizes, and Advanced security.
And, at the top rung is Enterprise, meant for 100+ employees, where the amount of space is scalable to meet your needs, 25GB files can be stored, there is a sophisticated admin suite and premium level support. Pricing on Enterprise is quoted and is dependent on the numbers of staff and how much space you need.
Premium support can also be had on a Business plan for extra, and a Platinum service plan, and achieving service are also available for Enterprise customers.
None of these numbers makes Egnyte the cheapest cloud storage solution around, but given the maturity of this solution, it isn’t excessively priced.
What works about Egnyte is that it hasn’t been tempted down the path of showboating with features are alternatives to Google or Microsoft apps. Instead, it focused on what businesses need most from a cloud storage system and delivered that.
Specifically, a way to avoid having staff and hardware to manage a technology that isn’t core to the majority of businesses.
All files and folders are managed in the cloud, and the responsibility for keeping them safe and secure is with Egnyte, not spread around a combination of hardware and software companies and the internal IT staff.
Using this service is all about having the confidence to hand over responsibilities for this mission-critical solution to an external company, and Egnyte does more than most to earn that trust.
Egnyte is certainly one of the best business orientated solutions available and should be on any shortlist for those wanting to transition away from internal file server technologies.
- These are the best cloud storage services for businesses