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McClure: File sync and share is a lot of things, but it is not backup

As mobile backup software companies begin to offer file sync capabilities with their products, there's a growing impression in the market that file sync and share is the same as backup.

"We're certainly seeing a trend toward endpoint device backup companies offering file sync and share products," says Terri McClure of Enterprise Strategy Group. "It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. They've got a full copy of your data they are storing off in the cloud somewhere. That's a place you can access it from any of your mobile devices, so why not make an extra copy of it if you're going to grab it anywhere and offer access to it via mobile devices over the cloud?

"It makes a lot of sense if they can leverage existing investments and leverage existing technology that takes data off endpoint devices and make a copy of it, and monetize it. We're seeing people come into this market from all different areas. It doesn't surprise me at all. It's a great business opportunity for these guys to grow revenue with some investment, but leverage what they are already doing for great business value to end users."

McClure says that while it's easy to assume file sync and share would work for backup, that's not the case. "When we do our research and ask IT pros what they're using file sync and share products for, we see a ton of collaboration and we see a ton of demand for access via multiple endpoint devices, but one of the biggest use cases we see is for backup.

"It's really important that people realize that sync and share is not backup. It's a very, very different thing. Backup is multiple copies of your data stored in multiple formats in multiple places to make sure you don't lose it and can access it. Sync and share is 'I'll put a copy of your data somewhere, either in the private cloud on-prem or in a public cloud, and I'll let you access that data via your mobile devices.' Many sync and share products even allow you to choose what you sync down to your local device and your primary copy may be at that data center.

"Is that backup? No, it's your primary copy of data living at your data center. How are they backing things up? Do you know? It's really, really important that companies realize that sync and share is a solution for sharing and collaborating on content across multiple endpoint devices.

"Some sync and share products do give you two copies of data, one local and one remote, because they are commodity sync and share and their value point is, 'I will put your files on your desktop and a copy of your file in the cloud.' I've had that save me many times, but we're maturing beyond that with the market and when you're using smaller endpoint devices, when you're using tablets, you're not going to be able to sync everything down to your device, you're not going to be able to have one local copy on your desktop and one copy in the cloud."

McClure offers this straightforward reminder: "Remember that sync and share is not backup."

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