Enterprise file sync and share services are services aimed at businesses that need strong collaboration features.
Like regular cloud storage services they can store your content in the cloud and sync it across your devices but they are optimized for multiple users. They let you use productivity apps in real-time with your teammates, manage users, preview and share files and more.
Uploading your files make it easier to collaborate with the team running your business, but it will also free space on your hard drive. Plus, in the event that your hard drive malfunctions or gets stolen, your important business files will still be in the cloud. Documents, designs, reports, videos and 3D models are the most common among them.
Because collaboration is paramount for EFSS services you should read our best cloud storage for collaboration article. If you’re looking for backup, though, check out our list of the best online backup services. To be clear on the difference between storage and backup, read this article.
If you’re not sure how much space your business needs and it might be a lot read our best cloud storage for large files article. If you’d like to skip this explanation and find out which service is best for you need read our best EFSS list.
How We Rate
EFSS services can be used in many different ways, but for the purposes of this comparison, we took into account the criteria they all share and rated them accordingly. We’re going to outline them in this section.
Folder & File Sharing
Folder and file sharing features are the foundation of a cloud storage service. You’ll more than likely going to use them first because syncing will get your files to the cloud while sharing will help you, well, share them with others.
Many services let you share your content using the desktop client, but all let you share it using the web client. You can share content to social media networks, via email, by copying and pasting a link or inviting users to your folders.
Folder invites can have different permissions attached to them while links have their own content control options such as passwords, expiry dates, download limits and more. Egnyte Connect is our best EFSS service for sharing. Read more about it in our Egnyte Connect review.
Most of the services, including EFSS, use the common model of sync developed by Dropbox in 2007. Read more about it in our Dropbox review.
The common model of sync consists of a system tray icon and a sync folder. The system tray icon is your go-to way of accessing your cloud storage. In most cases it opens up your sync folder, has a link which opens the cloud storage web client and the settings menu. The sync folder shows all the content that you’ve synced to your computer.
One of the most useful features in this category is the ability to make your files and folders be “online-only” which means they will not take sync and take up space on your hard drive. Some services, like Egnyte Connect, use a network drive to accomplish this. Others, like Dropbox Business, have it integrated within the sync folder. Dropbox calls this “smart sync.”
Read more about the approach in our Dropbox Business review.
In this category, we check what kind of productivity tools EFSS services integrate with. Productivity tools might include collaboration staples such as Office Online, Google Office Suite, Trello, Asana, Zapier and more. Many of the popular services have their own apps such as tasks managers, workflow and note-taking apps. Music and video players are also common.
A service that stands out in this category is Box because it integrates with both Office Online and Google’s Office Suite. Their use overlaps, so it’s questionable how useful this is, but it illustrates Box’s broad integration capability and it’s nice to have a choice.
Note-taking apps have become more common among cloud storage services. Box has Box Notes, Dropbox Business has Paper and OneDrive for Business has OneNote. You can see our comparison of them in our best note-taking apps article.
If your business revolves around multimedia read our best cloud storage for photos and videos article to see which service will help you stream your files from the cloud. The guide talks about personal cloud storage services, but they have business plans, too. Our best cloud storage for teams article lists services that are great for teamwork.
Placing your business files in the cloud without proper security is a bad move. Cybercriminals might steal your credentials, someone might read your secret information and the government might browse your reports. That said, having good security is a must so we consider how strong the security of each service is.
Cloud services use many methods to secure your data against potential threats. When it comes to business security, the biggest risk to your content might be weak passwords used by your employees. That’s because passwords are much more susceptible to brute force cracks than encryption keys and why using a good password generator is important.
If someone does manage to steal your password two-factor authentication will help stop them from accessing your account. It does so by requiring your users to enter confirmation code in addition to their credentials. Still, you should make sure you have a strong password, to begin with.
The TLS protocol prevents man-in-the-middle attacks from succeeding, while encryption secures your data in transit and at rest. Private encryption prevents anyone other than you from reading your files. The drawback is that services which provide it won’t be able to reset your password if you forget it. To avoid losing access to your content use a password manager.
We considered all these features and how services implement them in our most secure cloud storage article.
If you have strong security it doesn’t mean your privacy is guaranteed. It’s no secret that governments spy on their citizens, thanks to laws such as the USA PATRIOT Act and CLOUD Act. The PRISM surveillance program in the U.S and the Investigatory Powers Act in the UK are examples of that.
For a small-business owner, storing financial data or sensitive intellectual property in the cloud can be understandably unnerving. Most EFSS services have strong privacy policies but don’t have private, end-to-end encryption. That’s because they need to read your metadata for indexing and speeding up the user experience.
You can avoid that using Boxcryptor, a private encryption add-on. You can read more about it in our Boxcryptor review.
We always like to see a service which adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation, EU’s iron-clad approach to cloud privacy. Many do, but those that stand out are Egnyte Connect and Box.
One of the most important factors when choosing a cloud storage service is the price, there’s no point if you have a great service that costs an arm and a leg. EFSS services can be that way, all the more if you have a lot of users so it’s best if they have premium plans with good value.
Good value is determined by how much you get for the price. The more plans a service has, the better your options will be. It’s great if the service offers a free plan or trial, too, so you can test it before committing. OneDrive for Business is cheapest at $5 per user per month. Read more about it in our OneDrive for Business review.
If you’re only concerned with good value and think business plans of regular cloud storage services will satisfy you read our best deals in cloud storage article.
Unlike standard cloud storage services which offer a free plan, EFSS services offer only trials. If you’d like to familiarize with cloud storage before diving in you can get more information about free deals in our best free cloud storage piece.
User experience is at least as important as the pricing category because no matter how many great features a service has, it won’t do it much good if users find it difficult to use.
Because of that, straightforward user experience is better than one that’s complex, clunky and requires you to get help from a software expert. EFSS services should work on most operating systems, as well as have attractive and intuitive interfaces.
Most desktop clients work on Windows and macOS, but we give bonus points to those that work on Linux. EFSS services that support the Penguin are scarce, though. If you need it you should read our Dropbox for Business review. For some alternatives in the regular cloud storage market read our best cloud storage for Linux piece.
User management controls let you configure your team so the right people have access to the right content and collaborations don’t get out of control. To do that, EFSS solutions let you use an admin console in the web client. From it, you can add users to your account and assign different permissions to them.
If you run a larger business with multiple collaborators, you’ll want to make sure your EFSS tool lets you create groups which make it easier to work with multiple users.
The admin console can also include a dashboard to monitor account usage and the capability to create custom reports based on a variety of factors, including logins, file shares, file edits and device syncs.
There’s no way problems aren’t going to pop up and when they do you need technical support. Great technical support is invaluable. Cloud storage services usually have only email support, but EFSS services tend to have chat and phone support, too.
Before contacting the support team, though, users can consult the FAQ, knowledgebase and in many cases, user forums. Often, these will have tutorial videos, too. We take into account what types of support the services offer and how long they take to respond to our questions.
The Best EFSS Providers
Some EFSS services are better suited for one thing than another, but for the purposes of this ranking, we considered their overall performance across the criteria we outlined in the previous section. This section will give you a quick recap of the top five services on our list starting with the best one, Egnyte Connect.Egnyte Connect
Egnyte Connect is aimed at businesses and you can choose between plans that start at $8 per user per month and require at least five users up to more than 100 users. If you have more than 100 users, Egnyte gives you “up to unlimited” storage space.
With Egnyte Connect, you can generate links for folders and files, which others can then use to download and view. You can share folders with individuals or groups and give each one of several permissions: “owner,” “full,” “editor” and “viewer.”
Egnyte Connect uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files on your local device, in transit with the TLS protocol and at rest on its servers. Thanks to its strong security, powerful sharing options, user experience, sync and great value Egnytte is our overall top pick.
Dropbox Business offers a free 30-day trial for its Standard and Advanced plans, but omits it for Enterprise. Plans charge per user and require a minimum of three. Standard costs $15 per month, The Advanced plan is $25 per user per month, or $20 with the annual discount, and gives you unlimited storage space.
With Dropbox Business, you get a central team folder that your employees can access. You can create subfolders and limit access to them to individuals or groups. You can share links, as well, and set them to expire and protect them with a password.
Dropbox Business uses the TLS protocol, secured with AES 128-bit or higher encryption, to protect your data in transit. On servers, the service protects your files with AES 256-bit encryption.
Box has four business plans: Starter, Business, Business Plus and Enterprise. Starter costs $5 per user per month and requires a minimum of three users. Business and Enterprise plans provide unlimited storage.
If you enable the appropriate permission your users can share with people outside of your organization. Anyone you share a link with can view and download your content. You can protect links by enabling content control options. Box lets you protect links with passwords and assign expiry dates to them.
Box uses AES 256-bit to scramble your data at rest and the TLS protocol to protect it during transfer from your device to the data center. Box also uses key wrapping, which means that it encrypts your key with the same level of encryption. There’s no end-to-end encryption, though.
You can read more about Box’s features in our Box review.
ShareFile has four different subscription plans for SMBs, Standard, Advanced, Premium and Virtual Data Room. All require the purchase of at least five licenses. Standard is $10 per user per month, Advanced starts at $77 for five users per month and Premium is $122 per month while the most advanced plan, Virtual Room, is $338 per month. Prices are per year.
ShareFile lets you set up shared folders for your users from within the shared folders page.
Email lets you grant access to specific people, while links can be accessed by anybody. You can limit how many times people can access your file and set access to expire after a certain amount of time.
On the ShareFile servers, your data is encrypted using 256-bit AES. ShareFile also lets you customize your login policy and requiring two-factor authentication. You can read more about its security in our ShareFile review.
OneDrive for Business has cheap plans and doesn’t require users to share space. OneDrive for Business 1 costs $60 per user per year and gives each user 1TB of storage space. OneDrive for Business 2 offers unlimited storage, but costs twice as much. Office 365 Business Premium is $12.50 if you pay for the whole year and provides 1TB of space to each user.
OneDrive for Business lets you share content via email or by generating a link to a file or folder. You can restrict the link to specific individuals, set expiry dates and restrict external sharing.
Microsoft isn’t forthcoming about its security measures, but we know it uses AES 256-bit encryption at rest. The TLS protocol protects your data during transfer and the RSA 2048-bit algorithm guards your encryption key.
EFSS Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some of the questions we’re asked the most about EFSS.
What Does EFSS Stand For?
EFSS stands for “enterprise file sync and share.”
Who Should Use an EFSS Solution?
People who run a small business and need to enhance collaboration between their employees. The EFSS platform will enable your employees to work from anywhere while at the same time enhance working online with a group of people scattered over the globe.
How Much Does EFSS Cost?
EFSS services charge per number of users you have. They can require payment at the end of the month or year. Often if you pay per year you get a discount. Prices start as low as $5 and go all the way to $20 per user per month.
EFSS or Business Cloud Storage?
You should use EFSS services you need your users to share files and collaborate. If collaboration is secondary for you and you need to store files you should use Business cloud storage.
Our ranking will help you choose the best EFSS service for youone. We made it considering a number of factors including sync, share, pricing, security and more. Egnyte Connect is our top choice because of its approach to security, sharing and its great value deals.
Dropbox Business isn’t far behind, though. It has great ease of use and an expansive third-party library. Box integrates with Office Online and Google’s Office suite on top of decent file sharing. ShareFile has broad users customization options and strong security.
OneDrive for Business has cheap plans which don’t require you to share space but its security documentation is sparse and doesn’t have many user reporting options. If these services don’t work for you read our EFSS reviews for some alternate picks.
This is article is an overview of the best cloud storage service so when you think you’ve found a service that works for you, we recommend that you consult its review to find out more it. Thank you for reading.