Follow me data – aka “Enterprise Dropbox”

Updated 2/1/2013

If you’ve been paying attention to IT trends you’ve undoubtedly noticed increased focus on follow-me-data solutions, or as it’s been coined, “Enterprise Dropbox”.  I do find it funny that Dropbox has managed to create a Kleenex-like brand association to their product…good for them, it’s easier than saying Follow-me Data.

As someone who has used: SkyDrive, ShareFile, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Google Drive in my personal and professional life I thought I’d outline a few bullet points of what I’m looking for in an “Enterprise Dropbox” solution and what I think my customers are also looking for.  The big gap I struggle with today in these solutions is they really only focus on files and folders today, their functionality doesn’t replace my need for Evernote, OneNote, Google Docs, etc. Should these solutions go from merely syncing folders and files to other types of content that are application specific? Consider vendor specific solutions like Apple iCloud that allows you to sync settings, contacts, bookmarks etc. What if Follow-me Data solutions also sync’d things like passwords, calendars, bookmarks, contacts? I think this is an area where Follow-me Data could significantly change how we use personal and corporate devices.

I’ve made a list of features that I think are important for Follow-me Data solutions to address:

  • Clients for OSX,Windows, Windows phone, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Linux
  • Local Sync/on-demand sync/caching solution with clients above
  • Support for Windows SMB shares, home folders with dynamic mapping rules
  • Explore and retrieve data from remote FMD client (SkyDrive)
  • Selective synchronization of files and folders on a per device level
  • Download file/folder without requiring signup
  • Versioning of files
  • Simultaneous editing and collaboration on files with markup
  • Expiration of links and shared files
  • Kill pill/remote wipe for shared folders and files
  • Integrated DRM capability for files
  • Watermarking of protected files
  • Secure viewer via web browser for protected data
  • Active Directory integration/federation
  • 2-factor authentication options
  • Encryption options depending on device, folder, user choice
  • Authentication and authorization options depending on device, folder, user choice
  • Online workspaces for projects or groups to collaborate on documents
  • Onsite deployment of solution – no synchronization to cloud storage solutions
  • Hosted deployment of solution – cloud storage solution providing all storage
  • Integrated protection across multiple sites
  • Backup solution integration
  • User initiated file/folder restore
  • Content awareness of photos, music, video, contacts, bookmarks, browser passwords and integration to client platform
  • Email client integration on each client platform
  • MAM integration for provisioning, configuration, wipe
  • Reporting and auditing
  • Rendering of content in web browser for shared/published data via a link (SkyDrive/Google Drive)
  • Sharepoint/3rd party CMS content

6 thoughts on “Follow me data – aka “Enterprise Dropbox”

  1. Hey Dan,

    Did you ever have a chance to check out our product Oxygen Cloud? Oxygen provides a flexible enterprise cloud storage platform that has a lot of the features you have listed on your wishlist above. For example, we support encryption for data on device, as well as in transit and at rest, AD/LDAP integration, private and hybrid deployment options, IT remote wipe, versioning, mobile clients and workspaces for teams and projects.

    We’d be happy to discuss more if you have any questions, and would love to get your feedback if you have time to try it out. You can sign up for a free Pro Cloud account on http://www.oxygencloud.com.

    Thanks Dan!

    – Julia Mak
    Oxygen Cloud Team

  2. Hi Dan –

    That is a really insightful list of features. I’m sharing it with my team!

    You might be interested in what we’re creating at UpSync in Boulder. We’re really focused on enabling sales and marketing process to be simplified so our features are aimed squarely at that area of the enterprise so we don’t do many of the things in your list but end up with what we think is an easier tool to use and deploy.

    Anyway, would love to give you a demo some time if you’re interested. And, if you’re up for the drive to Boulder we’ll even buy lunch!

  3. If EMC or NetApp did this right, and avoided cannibalising their own current revenue streams, it could be compelling.

  4. Great article Dan. You should definitely have a look at our upcoming ShareFile on-prem StorageZones 1.1 release, which has some cool file restore features in it. We are also doing some integration work with NetApp for this which should come shortly after the 1.1 release.

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