obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 11 Feb'18 2018-02-09T06:10:34+00:00

Egnyte Connect Guide

Egnyte Connect ranks as maybe the best cloud storage for business tool available today, beating out competent rivals like Dropbox Business, Box and G Suite. That’s why it features prominently in Cloudwards.net’s best EFSS guide.  

However, while generally easy to use once you get up to speed, a tool with its many capabilities can take some getting used to.

To assist, we’ve put together this how-to guide to using some of Egnyte’s most prominent features, from syncing and sharing files to managing your user base. If you want to know our genera opinion of the service, check out our Egnyte Connect review.

What is Egnyte Connect?

Egnyte Connect is a file-hosting service that stores files on a network of remote services called a cloud. In purpose, it’s cloud storage service, and like any cloud storage service, it can be used to free up space on your computer hard drive.

Most cloud storage services today can also be used to synchronize (sync) files across multiple computers, and Egnyte is no different. In fact, thanks to a special sync technique called block-level file copying that speeds up the sync process, it does that better than most.

The goal behind sync is to make it so that you don’t have to transfer files you’re working on from one device to another. Instead, files edits you perform on one are reflected on other devices connected to your cloud storage space in near real-time.  

Egnyte is also designed to share content with others, either by generating links pointing to shared files or folders, or by creating shared folders.

All of that is pretty standard fare for most cloud storage services, however. What really sets Egnyte Connect apart is that it’s optimized for business use.  

What makes Egnyte ideal for business use is its combination of collaborative features like task management and admin controls, along with a host of third-party apps that it integrates with, including Google Docs, Office Online and many more in its apps library.

On a final note before we start looking at how to actually use Egnyte Connect, you should understand one thing that it most definitely isn’t designed to do: back up your computer. Dedicated online backup tools, like those found in our best online backup for business guide, are specially designed for faithfully replicating your file system; Egnyte is not.  

We have an article on the difference between cloud storage and online backup if you’re interested to learn more.

Types of Files Egnyte Connect Can Host

Egnyte can host pretty much any type of file: documents, images, videos and audio can all be stored in the Egnyte cloud and synced between devices. Program files can be synced as well.

Egnyte Connect cannot upload and sync temporary Windows files. It also doesn’t handle active database files well. While you can upload such files, future syncs will be throttled due to the amount of bandwidth it’d take to maintain near real-time copies. This includes the following file extensions:

  • .PST
  • .EMI
  • .OST
  • .MDB
  • .QBB

Allowable file-naming conventions are also restricted to reflect those used by Windows, which means certain special characters can’t be used, which you can review in this Microsoft FAQ.

Devices Supported By Egnyte Connect

Egnyte has desktop clients for both Windows and Mac, but not for Linux. The same is true of Box Business, so if you’re looking for a capable EFSS tool that’s penguin friendly, you may be stuck with Dropbox (read our Dropbox Business review).

Egnyte mobile apps are available for Android, iOS and Windows phone, which will allow you to access, upload, edit and share files while on the move.

Regardless of operating system, you can also access any files you’ve stored or been granted access to in the cloud by logging into the Egnyte web GUI using any supported browser. Browsers that currently work with Egnyte include Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox.

Up next, we’ll take a look at steps to get Egnyte running on your computer.

How to Sign Up For & Install Egnyte

Before installing the Egnyte Connect client on your computer, you’ll need to create an account. Egnyte offers a free 15-day trial to test the service and make sure it meets your needs. After that you’ll need to move onto a subscription to continue using it; take note that Egnyte requires a minimum of five user licenses be purchased.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll have immediate access to the web GUI. However, you’ll need to download the appropriate app for your computer to sync files. You can do this by clicking the “apps & add-ons” link on the top-right side of the screen.

This will send you to a screen with two options: “Egnyte apps” and “add-ons & integrations.”

Select the first option (we’ll get to second when we discuss third-party integrations) and you’ll be redirected to a page with five different download choices:

  • Egnyte Connect Desktop App: installs a network drive application
  • Egnyte Desktop Sync: installs a sync client
  • Egnyte WebEdit: lets you edit files from your browser
  • Egnyte for Microsoft Office: A Microsoft Office plugin

If you don’t want to sync files and only want to store them in the cloud, pick the first option to create an Egnyte network drive in your file system. Most users will want to download the sync client, however, which stores files both on your computer and the cloud by default.

With the sync option, you can always turn sync off for certain folders if you want to free up space on your hard drive, so you’re really getting the best of both options that way.

Installation of both the network drive and sync clients only take a few minutes, and you can add both if you’d like. We’ll cover the basics of sync a bit later in this overview. First, lets spend a little more time exploring the web GUI.

Egnyte Connect Web GUI Overview

The Egnyte Connect web GUI acts as the homebase for your cloud storage account. While you may find that you prefer to access files through the desktop client, you can do so online as well. In addition to that, you can upload files, share files, manage tasks, manage account users and configure various settings.

The GUI itself is well-designed and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes for most users to get familiar with. The home page, which you can always get back to by clicking the house icon on the top-left side of the GUI, has several navigation links lined horizontally across the the top of the page:

  • Files: Access files you’ve stored in the cloud
  • My Links: View file links shared by you/shared with you
  • My Tasks: View tasks assigned by you/assigned to you
  • Apps/Add-Ons: Install native or third-party apps

To the right of those links, you’ll also find:

  • A drop-down menu to access reports, settings and support
  • A drop-down menu for notifications
  • A link with your initials used to manage your account

The main view of the GUI is below these links and menus, and will change based on which links and menu options you’ve clicked on.

Egnyte Connect Files View

The Egnyte Connect files view is probably the view you’ll spend the most time interfacing with, so let’s get to know it a little better.

The files view lets you browse files you’ve stored in the cloud, upload new files, share files and perform a few other tasks.

Lined vertically down the left side are navigation options that you can use to access:

  • Bookmarks: Folders tagged as important for fast access
  • Shared: Collaborative cloud space shared between users
  • Personal Folder (yourname):  Private cloud space for you
  • All Private Folders: Private folders of other users (viewable if you’re the admin)
  • Trash: Deleted folders and files

You can click on folders and subfolders in the central view to access files, or you can use the search bar to find them if you know what you’re looking for. When you click on an object, on the right-side of the view there’s also a readout of recent activity pertaining to that object so you can get a quick view of what’s been going on.  

Two of the most important things you can do in the files view are uploading and sharing files.

How to Upload Files

To upload files directly to your Egnyte storage from the files view, you can drag-and-drop files into the main space or you can click “upload files” to browse your computer’s file system.

While you can upload more than one file at a time, generally speaking it’ll be easier simply to drop files into the Egnyte Connect sync folder that gets installed in your files system when you install the desktop client.

Still, using the browser is a handy way to add files on occasion, and Egnyte makes the process pretty simple, as any good cloud storage service does.

How to Share Files

Once you’ve got your files in the cloud, you can start sharing them with colleagues. Both folders and files can be shared by clicking on the share button associated with them.

Choose to share a file, and you’ll have two choices: “get link” and “email link.”

Opt for get link, and you’ll be able to copy a URL link pointing to your file. You can share that with others manually, for example by pasting it into a tweet or Facebook post, or into a Slack channel. (Egnyte also integrates directly with Slack, making it much easier to share files).

If you’re worried about links falling into the wrong hands, Egnyte includes a few precautionary settings you can access by clicking the text the reads, “change link options.” Doing so will let you set a password and expiry date for your links.

You can also set an option that restricts others to view-only access of your file rather than letting them download a copy, and another option that notifies you every time your link is accessed.

Link-sharing options for folders work just like they do for files. However, rather than generate a link, you can also create shared folders, granting access to others via their email address.

Doing so lets you grant individual’s specific access permissions for that folder, which include:

  • Owner: full access with permissions management
  • Full: download, edit, upload and delete
  • Editor: download, edit and upload
  • Viewer: preview, download

So that you don’t lose track of what links you’ve created, you can review them by clicking “my links” near the top of the web GUI.

From there, you can see both links you’ve shared and those shared with you by other Egnyte users.

How to Request Files

In addition to creating links that let you share files, with Egnyte you can create links that let others upload files to your storage space. Do so by right-clicking on any folder and choosing the option that reads, “request files from others.”  

You can give each upload link an expiry date and create separate folders for each uploader. The link itself can be shared manually or emailed.

Egnyte Connect Sync Client Overview

We told you how to install the sync client on your computer already; now let’s take a closer look at what you’ve installed.

By installing the sync client, a special folder called a “sync folder” will be added to your computer’s file system.

By default, any file placed in this folder is stored both on your hard drive and in the cloud. It also gets distributed to any other computers connected to your Egnyte account, whether owned by you or your work associates, provided you’ve given them access to whatever subfolder the file is kept in.

How to Throttle Sync

Egnyte syncs should be close to near real-time, which lets you work side-by-side with others virtually, even if you thousands of miles apart. However, if you find that near real-time sync is impacting your bandwidth, you can alter its frequency by right-clicking on the Egnyte taskbar icon and selecting “settings.”

Doing so will open the web browser, from which you can configure a set sync interval.

The ability to restrict sync intervals like this is a handy feature and not one that you’ll see with most other cloud storage services. More common is the ability to throttle how much upload and download bandwidth gets used by sync, which you can do with Egnyte, too, under the “network settings” header.

While reducing sync intervals and throttling uploads will be useful for those with poor internet connections, Egnyte syncs files so efficiently thanks to the fact that is uses block-level file copying that most people probably won’t ever need to bother with those settings.

How to Use Selective Sync

As useful as sync is, it doesn’t do anything to save space on your hard drive, since it requires files to be saved on both your computer and in the cloud in order to work.

If you want to clear space on your hard drive, you could set up an Egnyte network drive, but then you’d have to move files back and forth manually between that location and your sync folder should your needs change. A better option is taking advantage of Egnyte’s selective sync feature.

Selective sync lets you disable sync for subfolders contained within your Egnyte sync folder. To manage selective sync, you’ll need to right-click on the Egnyte taskbar icon and select “configure folder.”

As with throttling your sync speeds, you’ll be sent to the online GUI to complete the process.

Uncheck the box beside any folder and it will be deleted from your computer hard drive, but still accessible through the web GUI. That’s all there is to it.

Egnyte Connect User Management

As a cloud storage service designed for businesses, it’s important that you can add coworkers to your Egnyte account. In fact, an Egnyte subscription requires a minimum of five license purchases. If you’re looking for a cloud storage just for your own use, you’ll want to look elsewhere, such as our cloud storage review library.

You’ll need to be the account owner or designated as an admin to add and manage users. If you are, you can access the user management controls by clicking on your initials on the top-right side of the web GUI.

On the ensuing page, click on the “users & groups” tab to add users, create groups and add users to groups.

How to Add Users

The users & groups tab has two subtabs, one for “users” and the other for “groups.” To add users, you’ll need to click the “add users” button found in the users subtab.

There are three different types of users you can add: standard user, power user and administrator.

The type of user role you assign to individuals dictates what reports and capabilities they’ll have access to. Those granted an administrator role will be able to do anything you can do. Power user permissions, meanwhile, are designed for your coworkers.

Power users features include the ability to install desktop sync clients, as well as access files over the web GUI, FTP, a mapped drive and mobile apps. Each power user also gets a personal folder that’s accessible to just them and your account administrators.

The standard user designation is meant for outside partners, vendors and customers. These users don’t get their own subfolders and can’t install sync clients or network drives to connect to your Egnyte account. They also can’t share files.  

To more quickly add users, you can import them from a .csv file by clicking the “import users” button.

You can also tweak your settings for both power users and standard users. For example, with you can disable the ability of power users to to connect using the Egnyte sync client.

Manage these settings by once again going to your Egnyte settings portal, but this this time choose the “configuration” tab. Then, click on the “user types & roles” option, and make sure you’re on the “user types” view.

You can also alter roles for individuals by clicking on “roles.”

How to Create Groups

Managing multiple users can grow to become a headache pretty quickly. To avoid this problem, you can create groups and assign users to them.

To create a group in Egnyte Connect, click on the groups subtab of the users & groups tab and then click “add group.”

You’ll need to give the group a name. After that, you can click on the group and start adding users to it by clicking the “add users to this group” button.

Note than any users added must first be created following the steps mentioned in the “add users” instructions above. You can also assign group owners by clicking “manage group owners.”

Once your group is created, rather than share folders with individuals, you can share folders with groups, reducing the amount of time required to set shared folders up.

Egnyte Connect Task Management

Another useful thing you can do to manage users is assign tasks to them using Egnyte Connect’s task management feature. Not many competing EFSS services have built-in task management capabilities.

While not quite as sophisticated as Trello (which, by the way, is available as an Egnyte integration), Egnyte task management works well enough to streamline workflows.

Tasks are tied to specific files. To create and assign them, all you need to do is right-click on a file and select “tasks” from the file menu.

A preview of the file will open with a pane on the right-hand side and a button that reads “new task.” Click this button, and you can create a task, assign it to someone and attach a due date.

To monitor tasks, use the “my tasks” link near the top of the Egnyte web GUI. You’ll find subviews for both tasks that you’ve assigned and tasks assigned to you.

Egnyte Connect Third-Party Apps

Egnyte has partnered with a number of technology partners to enhance its cloud storage experience for business users. Many of these integrations won’t cost you a thing, either.

To add a software integration, click on the “apps & add-ons” link near the top of the page. Then, click the tile for “add-ons & integrations.”

You’ll be redirected to Egnyte’s third-party app library. To find apps to help you enhance your collaborations, you can use a search function, apply filters or browse by category.

There are too many apps to go through them all, but some of our favorites include Google Drive, Office Online, Trello, SignNow, Smartvid.io, Boxcryptor and OneLogin.

Final Thoughts

Egnyte Connect is without question one of the most well-rounded and best-performing cloud storage options for business today. We’d take it over Dropbox Business and Box, which is why we featured it prominently in our best EFSS guide.

This has been a quick guide to getting started with Egnyte Connect. Our goal was give you a concise overview of some of the essential things this cloud storage service is capable of and how to use it.

While we tried to hit on the areas we felt would best help our readers get up to speed fast on using Egnyte, we no doubt left quite a few gaps that you might have questions about. If there are any burning questions you have, feel free to let us know in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to address them there and perhaps update the guide in the future.

Thanks for reading!  

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