Citrix ShareFile EFSS Extends Market Leadership With New Features

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

At Citrix Synergy this week, there were multiple announcements made about ShareFile, Citrix's enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) solution. The changes further enhance the offering, which Tom's IT Pro named a leader in enterprise-first EFFS giving the solution our Editor Recommended stamp of approval.

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Citrix noted that the ShareFile platform has over 20 million users on a regular basis. The company is continuing its commitment to building out a foundation from which customers can securely share information and build internal and external collaborative applications that are integrated, connected and secure through a back-end unstructured repository; however, this now includes direct connections to enterprise content management (ECM) repositories as well.

Core ShareFile Updates

New functionality includes ShareFile Drive Mapper, key management for Cloud StorageZones, and connections to legacy ECM tools.

The Drive Mapper is optimized for XenApp and XenDesktop, provides a consistent user interface across physical and virtual desktops and is directly integrated with Windows File Explorer, making ShareFile folders look like local shares. Since it works with ShareFile connectors, it can be extended to include all content managed by ShareFile, even if it's not physically inside of the ShareFile system.

This is made all the more exciting by the recent announcement to support Point.io connectors to ECM tools from Alfresco, EMC (Documentum), IBM (FileNet), the recently independent iManage and OpenText (Content Server).

Finally, to match functionality from competitors like Box, Citrix now offers key management for Cloud StorageZones. Since the company doesn't manage, own or have access to customer keys, content is protected from all third parties, including government entities.

Information Rights Management (IRM)

As noted in our feature from earlier this year, which explores IRM as the missing piece in EFSS, a huge gap in file sharing tools is information rights management. Cloud services make this gap, along with the insider threat they pose, even more pressing. With the announcement at Synergy 2016, Citrix has taken a huge step towards integrating IRM directly into ShareFile, eliminating a shortcoming in its feature set against competitors like Microsoft (Azure RM), EMC (AirWatch Content) and BlackBerry (WatchDox).

Developed in conjunction with enterprise digital right management (EDRM) firm Seclore, ShareFile IRM allows users to "follow files" after the content leaves the ShareFile system, similar in nature to pure-play IRM solutions like Vera.

This functionality is critical in protecting against content on unprotected devices such as USB drives, emails or third-party file sharing systems. Now, when files are embedded with rights management protections, access to the file requires ShareFile authentication--even after the file has been downloaded.

With IRM enabled, only authorized users can open previously downloaded files, and the original owner controls whether others can open files or work with them. Protected files are encrypted such that only the authenticated, authorized ShareFile user is allowed to open the file and its prescribed permissions are enforced.

The one requirement that will cause some heartburn is an end user executable/browser plug-in/module.

Information rights management for ShareFile is immediately available, and can be enabled by request for ShareFile Enterprise customers running StorageZones Controller 4.0 or later.

Deeper Microsoft And Office 365 Support

A big theme at Synergy was the renewed commitment between Microsoft and Citrix. As highlighted in the keynote by Brad Anderson, Microsoft Corporate VP and GM of Enterprise Client, Mobility and Cloud, many Citrix solutions already deeply support Microsoft, and ShareFile stands to benefit from greater collaboration. It doesn't hurt that new CEO Kirill Tatarinov is a former Microsoft exec.

ShareFile has maintained strong Office 365 support for some time, but there is now direct (live) online editing of documents in the ShareFile container using browser-based Office tools. Additionally, live co-editing by multiple users is now available, similar to Google Docs and Atlassian Confluence.

Finally, there is improved access to SharePoint, competing personal Cloud document services (Box, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive) and local network drives through Citrix StorageZones (enabled by NetScaler). This makes ShareFile a single pane of glass into corporate and personal content.

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