Syncplicity boasts some of the cheapest prices in cloud storage at just $60 per user per year
Finding the best EFSS provider for your business can improve both work culture and productivity. Competition in this space has led to a number of excellent solutions to sort through. Helping to lead the way when it comes to driving down EFSS prices is the star of this review, Syncplicity.
Syncplicity boasts some of the cheapest prices in cloud storage at just $60 per user per year. However, that low sticker price comes with a major drawback, too: you only get 300GB of storage space to work with.
There’s no unlimited storage plan or even a 1TB plan. That means it’s not going to be the right pick for a business that works with large files or large quantities of files.
That said, if you own a business with more limited needs, Syncplicity offers some excellent user management features to protect your collaborations. If that includes you, stick with us as we break down the service to see if its worth its bargain price.
- Fast block-level sync
- Secure file sharing
- Office Online/Google Docs integration
- No Linux support
- Unlimited storage plan
- Great application integrations
- Office Online & Google Docs
- Strong security
- No block-level sync
- No annual discount
- 5GB file upload max
- Good user management
- Custom password requirements
- Not much storage
- No third-party integrations
- No block-level sync
Over the course of this review, we’ll talk in some detail about Syncplicity’s key features. However, to set the table, here’s a quick overview of what you get by choosing this EFSS tool.
Syncplicity includes many of the most important EFSS features but also misses on some big ones. Noticeably absent are work productivity integrations (i.e., Office 365, Slack, Trello) and live support. Such misses narrows the appeal of Syncplicity almost as much as its limited storage capacity.
Again, this is not a tool for everyone.
Syncplicity doesn’t have multiple business plan options like most of the competition. True to its name (sort of), it keeps things simple with just one option: Syncplicity Business Edition.
$ 60 00yearly
Minimum Users: 3
That works out to just $5 per user per month, which is significantly less than many other EFFS solutions, most of which charge between $10 and $20. 300GB (plus 5GB per user), though, is much less than what you get with other services.
There is an enterprise edition that allows for hybrid (cloud plus on-premise) storage. However, that requires at least 25 users. For this review, we’re sticking to the SMB option since that’s what most businesses owners will likely need.
Before you can start sending files to Syncplicity, you’ll need to download the client onto your device. Syncplicity desktop clients are available for both Windows and MacOS, while mobile clients are made for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Desktop client download creates a Syncplicity file folder. By default, files stored in this folder are kept both on your hard drive and in the cloud. Called a sync folder, this setup is how most cloud storage services work today.
We’ll talk more about the mechanics of sync with Syncplicity when in the next section. Syncplicity also takes the unusual step of offering a desktop application to let you browse online content.
Really, though, the desktop app isn’t of much more use than just going to your sync folder. For advanced control over your account, you’ll want to use the Syncplicity web portal.
The web experience isn’t nearly as intuitive as what you’ll get with Dropbox and most other cloud services. However, get used to it and you’ll find pretty powerful features to help manage collaborations. We’ll talk much more about these features in the next section.
If you’re on the move, you can access all of your cloud content from your mobile device by downloading the Syncplicity app, which features built-in Microsoft Office file editing.
The mobile app also lets you share files and track activity like checking to see which shared files have been accessed.
Precise control over your collaborators lets you segment and streamline work activity. Syncplicity gives you access to an admin console to exercise that control.
Inside this console are multiple tabs to help you manage your account. The “reports” tab let you create customized activity audits targeting specific users, folders or files.
“User accounts” lets you invite collaborators to access your account so long as you have enough open seats (licenses). There you can send out invites by email to your collaborators and assign individuals one of four roles:
- User: can’t perform any admin actions
- Support Administrator: user, folder and device management
- eDiscovery Administrator: impersonate a user (view only access)
- Global Administrator: full access to all admin actions
From the “groups” tab, you can set up user groups, which is a quick way of adding folder access to multiple collaborators at once.
The “policies” tab lets you create group policies, which control various aspects of collaboration, security and client installation.
The device tab is one of Syncplicity’s more unique features. From there, you can see every single device connected to your cloud storage space. You can audit last logins, remove device access and remote-wipe synced content.
Overall, Syncplicity is very good at user management, with setting and options not offered by many more expensive EFSS options.
Collaborators can access folders by default if folder access has been assigned to their group.
Alternatively, you can invite collaborators by email to access folders on an individual basis. Both “read” and “editor” permissions are available and those invited do not need to be assigned seats on your Syncplicity account.
In addition to granting folder access, you can also invite others to view specific files by generating a URL link attached to that file. This link can be shared manually or emailed through the web portal.
Syncplicity falls a bit short here, though, by not letting you set expiry dates or password protect links. Not doing so may let unauthorized users access your files if your link is obtained by them.
We do appreciate, though, that the developers included a “shared links” tab in the web portal. This lets you quickly audit what links to content you’ve created and disable those links if needed.
We mentioned earlier that Syncplicity uses a sync folder to connect your computer to the cloud. When installed, this sync folder looks just like an ordinary network folder.
When you place or create a file in this folder, it’s stored on your device hard drive but also saved to your Syncplicity cloud-storage space. Once it appears in the cloud, it also gets pushed to any other syed devices synced, whether yours or your collaborators’. This lets everyone work on the same file in near real-time.
Some EFSS tools perform sync better than others.
Syncplicity does fine with initial uploads, averaging around four minutes for a 250GB file on a 100 Mbps upload speed. Subsequent syncs, though, don’t run as fast as they could because the service doesn’t incorporate block-level file transfers, which means only the parts of files that change get re-synced, rather than the entire file.
That said, very few EFSS tools actually offer this type of file transfer, with Dropbox and Egnyte being the most notable exceptions. It’s much more common with cloud backup services like IDrive or Backblaze.
Syncplicity does another great sync feature, though, called selective sync. Selective sync lets you switch sync off for certain folders so that they are only stored in the cloud, not your hard drive, to preserve space.
This capability, however, is pretty common among EFSS tools. A sync feature that Syncplicity offers most other EFSS tools don’t is the ability to sync any folder on your hard drive, not just your sync folder.
According to the Syncplicity website, doing so should overlay a logo on the folder to remind you that it’s synced. However, in our tests, this didn’t happen, which makes using this feature somewhat problematic since it’s too easy to lose sight of what’s been synced.
Many popular EFSS solutions offer integrated native and third-party apps to enhance collaborations and productivity. These tools include suites like Office 365 and Google Docs, encryption tools, project management tools and workflow apps.
Syncplicity, however, doesn’t have any such integrations.
The lack of integrated productivity limits your ability to work in real-time on the same content with collaborators. Alongside its meager 300GB of storage space, this is probably the biggest reason to look elsewhere for your cloud storage.
Dropbox, Box and Egnyte are all better options.
Don’t overlook security just because you like an EFSS service’s price and basic features. A hallmark of a really good tool is security designed to meet the typically stringent requirements of business. Overlooking a security evaluation can put your financial data and intellectual property in danger.
Syncplicity covers most of the bullet points that we typically look for here at Cloudwards.net, beginning with both in-transit and at-rest encryption.
Syncplicity protects data in transit with TLS and 256-bit AES. TLS creates a security tunnel for data moving over the Internet, while AES is an encryption protocol that scrambles data, rendering it unreadable without a secret encryption key.
Each file and file revision gets its own encryption key. Your file encryption keys are kept on separate servers from your content. That way, if a server does get compromised, the attackers will only get one or the other.
Once your data arrives at the data center, it remains encrypted with the same level of encryption. This is known as at-rest encryption and decreases the likelihood that data breaches will compromise your data.
The storage facilities themselves are secured against natural disasters, trespassing and similar dangers. This makes them hardened data centers.
We mentioned earlier that Syncplicity lets you cut off access to your cloud storage and remote wipe any synced device. This lessens the chance that stolen devices will give unauthorized individuals a way to access your data.
Syncplicity also lets you set up two-factor authentication and require it for your users. Two-factor authentication means that anyone logging into your cloud storage from an unknown device will be required to enter a special code sent to their mobile device.
That way, if someone guesses a weak password, they still won’t be able to log into your account very easily. If you are concerned about weak passwords being created by your collaborators, though, you can also customize password requirements.
Synplicity also supports what’s called single-sign on (SSO). SSO lets you integrate your cloud storage with a federated identity provider, or IDP. IDPs allow users to login into multiple IT systems with the same user credentials so they don’t have to manage multiple passwords.
A single authentication system also gives business owners and IT admins more control over password management.
Syncplicity maintains a central support portal with a searchable knowledge base. Its split into sections for users and admin personnel, which is handy. There’s also a “Syncplicity University” section with tutorials on getting started.
If you can’t find the answers to your questions in the knowledge base, Syncplicity offers technical support, but the quality of support you get is determined by your subscriber status. The best support, including live channels, is reserved for Enterprise plan customers. SMB owners will need to make do with email support.
While that’s a shame, we did get a response back from Syncplicity on our test question within 15 minutes during a weekday, which is pretty impressive. That almost makes up for the fact that chat support and weekend support aren’t offered to Business Edition customers.
We can’t deny that Syncplicity isn’t an intriguing entry in the EFSS space. An annual cost of just $60 per user is excellent. The user management features are better than most of the competition and we like that Syncplicity lets you sync any folder in your file system.
The biggest downside, though, will be a deal breaker for many business owners: limited storage space. 300GB these days isn’t enough for one person, let alone three or more. On top of that, Syncplicity doesn’t have any application integrations to enhance collaborations.
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You can still store Microsoft Office documents in the cloud, but you can’t collaborate in real-time because they need to be downloaded. This is the cloud equivalent of having one foot encased in cement. You can still get where you’re going but it’s going to take a while.
SMBs with limited storage needs and a limited budget, however, still might find that Syncplicity is the right tool for them. That seems to be the niche Syncplicity is aiming for with its Business Edition plan. For the most part, it hits its mark.
That’s our Syncplicity review: if you’ve got your own take on the service, we’d love to hear it in the comments below. Thanks for reading.