EMC Syncplicity Adds Outlook Plug-in—and Market Share

Syncplicity is an intuitive file-sharing and synchronization cloud service that combines email, calendar and contacts into a smooth workflow and file-sharing app.

LAS VEGAS—Not a lot of people realize that storage and data protection giant EMC makes a business productivity app, but they probably should.

Syncplicity is a kind of catch-all business app that users say is very "sticky." This is an intuitive file-sharing and synchronization cloud service that combines email, calendar and contacts into a smooth workflow app for laptops, tablets and smartphones, enabling users to store and sync files online on Windows and Mac OS X.

General Manager/CEO Jeetu Patel told eWEEK May 5 at EMC World 2015 here that Syncplicity now has a new add-in for Outlook, which will become generally available for download on May 31. The add-in enables users to securely send files and folders of any size directly from Outlook without having to think about them, thus saving small but significant windows of time.

Outlook—like most other email services—can be finicky with large attachments, and enterprise rules often include size limitations. In addition, significant storage costs for enterprises can play into this, given the fact that the average worker receives an average of 70 emails per day, and a varying percentage of those include attachments that are on average 800KB in size.

Doesn't Matter What Size an Attachment May Be

Syncplicity Add-in for Outlook enables users to upload files from their desktops as well as cloud content from their Syncplicity account. But here's the secret sauce: Once the content is attached, the email is delivered with a Syncplicity shared link to the file or folder. Content can either be downloaded directly or downloaded after authentication, depending on the parameters set by the user or by the IT staff. These include setting file expiration, attachment file size and rights management controls.

"If an attachment is too large for the company's Outlook rules, Syncplicity automatically stores the file in the cloud and sends the receiver a link to it," Patel said. "The attachment is secured in the cloud and can be accessed at any time, according to policies on it."

Syncplicity uses a secure hybrid cloud with file storage components that include EMC Isilon and EMC VNX and software-defined solutions such as EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS).

  • Key security features include the following:
  • single sign-on (SSO) with Active Directory or any SAML-based authentication system;
  • admin password and log-in restrictions;
  • Active Directory synchronization for user provisioning and deprovisioning;
  • two-factor authentication;
  • AES 256-bit encryption in transit and at rest;
  • enables remote wipe of devices, user accounts, and folders; and
  • highly secure three-tier network architecture for mobile access to network shares and SharePoint with Syncplicity Panorama.

Users Can Edit Office Docs Without Leaving App

Syncplicity's mobile editing capabilities allow users to create and edit MS Office documents and annotate PDFs without leaving Syncplicity's mobile application, Patel said. Users can securely share files with both internal and external users by adding individuals to shared folders, sending password-protected links, and even retracting and time-bombing content once access to material is no longer required, he said.

Syncplicity also comes with a long list of administrative options, including customer-managed keys for rights-managed files. Users can keep whatever documents and their keys on premises as needed for regulatory purposes, or they can keep them in public or private clouds as needed.

"Our philosophy is this: Give users as much choice as possible in the security model and in the usability model," Patel said. "Some customers might start with one modality, then move to the other over time. We've had some customers start by putting all their documents in the cloud, then eventually found that their legal and M&A docs need to move to on-premises. Not all content is created equal."

Syncplicity also offers mobile access to business files in network shares and SharePoint with Syncplicity PanoramaConnector for Documentum; support for Active Directory sync with OneLogin, Ping Identity and Okta; native Windows and Mac clients with file browser integration; and native clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows 8. It has a mobile-optimized site for BlackBerry and other mobile devices.

Syncplicity has been gaining new customers for several years, and as word of mouth gets around, it has been landing some large accounts—including Texas A&M University (200,000 seats, including all students, faculty and staff) and a major Silicon Valley semiconductor company (150,000 seats).

Gaining Market Share With Large Deployments

"We have a 300,000-seat installation that will coming up soon as well," Patel said. Safe to say those represent large chunks of market share.

Competing for market share with better-known services such as Box, Dropbox, Google, Amazon and many others, Syncplicity nonetheless allows synchronization with all those services and others. A user can opt to sync documents from Windows or Mac with an associated Google Docs account; however, documents uploaded to free Google Docs accounts will be converted to Google Docs file formats while non-supported documents will be omitted.

Similarly, photos in the Syncplicity cloud can also be synced with Facebook albums. Other online services, such as Scribd and Piknik, are also supported.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...