Despite flying somewhat under the radar, Egnyte Business (which begins at $8 per employee per month) is one of the strongest offerings on the market. The platform captures the favorite features of business users, enforced with the security and control that businesses demand. Egnyte Business is also designed with a scalable but centralized storage model, rather than the typical distributed model that many storage and sharing products adopt. This translates to a huge degree of control over permissions and an advantage when enforcing company policies. This is why Egnyte Business garners our Editors’ Choice designation in this review roundup, along with Dropbox Business.
Getting Started With Egnyte Business
Signing up with Egnyte Business is straightforward and simple. A free 15-day trial is available for Egnyte Business on the company’s website. All you need is some basic user credentials and an email address to get started with the trial. Once signed in, you can operate from the Egnyte Connect page that is modeled after Windows Explorer. For end users who prefer to work from the web and avoid downloading the client, there is a lot of functionality here.
The user interface (UI) fully supports drag-and-drop file upload. Downloading, sharing, and bookmarking are available either as a button bar operation or as a right-click operation. A full version history is also available under an icon on the file record. Everything you’d expect to find in a file management UI is right where you’d expect it to be. It’s highly intuitive and easy for a new user to pick up.
Document Sharing and Collaboration
Egnyte Business offers a number of options for using the service outside of the web interface. Egnyte Drive is the suggested path and provides a mapped drive. It is worth noting that Egnyte uses its own application programming interface (API) for this and does not rely on Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV), which has traditionally been fraught with security holes and functional issues. Files copied to and from the mapped drive work exactly as if they were being transferred to a mapped network drive. What is impressive about the solution is that, unlike other offerings, Egnyte Drive replicates directory permissions. For businesses that are heavily entrenched in Active Directory (AD), this is a lifesaver since permissions management no longer has to be managed from more than one location.
Beyond this, there is Egnyte Desktop Sync. It works similarly to other familiar applications such as Dropbox or Box where a designated folder is specified to sync files to and from the service. In essence, it is another flavor of Egnyte Drive and is really a matter of preference. Either one will get the job done. My one complaint is that the mapped drive feature has performance issues on some kinds of configurations. While Egnyte Business provides instructions for overcoming this on many occasions, keeping this fast was a challenge. I would expect that this will be addressed in a future release and should not be a reason to avoid the product. But any large initial uploads should be done using FTP or the Sync option.
Egnyte Business also integrates well with Microsoft Office products. Egnyte WebEdit plugs into offline Microsoft Office products and lets you edit files for saving directly back to the service. It’s a handy feature and is, perhaps, even more seamless than Microsoft’s own offering. It also plugs into Microsoft Office 365 in case you are on the run or prefer to use Microsoft’s online tools instead.
Mobile is not left out in the cold, either. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone are all fully supported. They are just as powerful as the web client. Files can be edited and managed from the mobile solution as easily as they can be from the web or desktop apps. There is a lot of polish here.
Integration and API
Egnyte Business can be deployed in several ways. In addition to a complete cloud solution, it also offers hybrid and local-only deployments by way of Egnyte Storage Connect and Egnyte Storage Sync. In this way, Egnyte Business can behave not only as a cloud offering but as a true extension of on-premises storage while maintaining the same great look and feel of the standard product. In addition, Egnyte Business integrates with Active Directory (AD) via Egnyte Active Directory Connector and seamlessly syncs permissions and policies to your data.
There is also a significant number of add-ons and integrations with third-party products such as Salesforce, Slack, and SmartSheet. In addition, the public API used to develop these integrations is available for businesses to use, with a few minor hoops through which to jump. In-house developers should feel right at home connecting Egnyte Business to any custom enterprise solutions.
Egnyte Business does not skimp on security. The solution is fully SOC- and ISO 27001-compliant and support for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is available. Encryption is enforced in transit and at rest with 256-bit AES encryption. Furthermore, the company has implemented an Egnyte Key Management service that lets businesses manage their own encryption keys. While the software still technically has access to the data (so the application can still operate as normal), Egnyte employees no longer have access to the keys without permission.
As part of the Enterprise service offering, Active Directory SSO is supported. While it would have been nice to see this in the Business and Office levels of service, it is understandable why this decision was made. Two-factor authentication is also available for an extra level of security. This helps to greatly limit the potential for an attacker to gain access to your data. Several options are available for secondary authentication including SMS, Phone Call, and Duo Push.
A Solid Service for Small Business
Egnyte Business is a great service and deserves a spot next to Box and Dropbox in terms of feature set. While some of the more advanced options such as AD integration are reserved for enterprise users only, business users still get access to a wide array of capabilities at a reasonable cost. It’s well worth setting up a demo to see if it is a fit for your business.