Generally speaking: Customer choice is good for businesses and MSPs. But the number of Dropbox and Box alernatives for business seems to be skyrocketing. File syncing and sharing is certainly a hot market. But is there enough business to keep all of these solutions afloat? That's a critically important question as managed services providers (MSPs) seek recurring revenue in this market while making recommendations to end customers.
First, the big picture: Box and Dropbox are pushing beyond their consumer heritage and certainly have business momentum. As of October 2012 Box had more than 14 million users and was in 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies, the vendor claimed. Dropbox, meanwhile, as of December 2012 claimed to have more than 100 million users -- including 95 percent of the Fortune 500.
Those numbers are impressive but also a bit misleading. If Joe Smith is a 22-year-old receptionist in a Fortune 500 company running Box or Dropbox, he counts toward that high Fortune 500 penetration figure. Read between the lines: There are millions of users -- in the Fortune 500, Global 2000, midmarket and small business sectors -- still up for grabs.
That's where VARs, MSPs and market alternatives enter the picture. Dropbox has been particularly aggressive engaging MSPs to increase its market penetration. One recent move involves a partnership with CharTec -- the MSP educator and hardware as a service (HaaS) specialist, which will promote Dropbox to its partner base.
File Sync, Sharing Company & Product List
Still, market alternatives are emerging by the truckload. A few quick examples:
- Amazon Cloud Drive: Some MSPs consider Amazon the enemy. I disagree. But I'm not sure if/how MSPs can monetize and control Cloud Drive for their customers.
- Anchor: Launched by MSP veterans. The company tends to have a heavy presence at MSP conferences.
- BitTorrent Sync: I'm not a user but people keep mentioning it to me.
- Egnyte: Focused on enterprise file sharing -- with a growing focus on MSPs as partners.
- eFolder: Better known for its BDR solution in the MSP industry, you may notice eFolder Cloud File Sync now heavily promoted by the company.
- Google Drive: I'm not sure this fits specifically into this market segment. But I'm a big user. As is Brett Martin, who told me this has to be on the shortlist.
- LogMeIn Cubby: A pretty new solution. Plus MSP industry veterans like Ted Roller and Shannon Kohn have joined the LogMeIn channel team.
- Microsoft Sky Drive: Popular but is a name change forthcoming?
- SecuriSync: From Intermedia, the hosted Exchange and cloud office company that works closely with MSPs and VARs.
- SugerSync: During a Google Plus conversation, Todd Wahl told me he was an avid SugarSync User.
- TeamDrive: They promote end-to-end encryption...
- Wuala: Never seen it, never used it. But people are talking...
- Whom did I miss? What's hot? What's not? I'm all ears...
As you navigate the solutions above keep in mind:
- Some of the solutions lack true partner programs or don't have a clear way for MSPs to generate recurring revenue. Plus, who controls the end-customer pricing, billing and branding?
- Many of the solutions don't yet integrate with traditional MSP software platforms.
- If the file sharing service disappears or go dark, how do customers recover their files?
- Who holds the keys to the file sharing accounts? You? Your customers?
I'm eager to learn more. Beyond Box and Dropbox I don't have a good feel for installed base -- particularly in the channel. Readers, I'm all ears: Educate me...