For corporate BYOD, does Sync/Share equal Backup?

Last December while attending the 2012 Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, I listened to an insightful presentation by analysts Sheila Childs and Pushan Rinnen on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. They were particularly focused on issues related to protecting an organizations data in a BYOD world (more on why in a moment). One scenario that captured my attention went something like this.

BYOD Mobile Sync and Share 3It’s my device. I had it before I brought it to work and I was using Dropbox or iCloud to sync and share all my files. Now, my device has work data on it too. My security-conscious CIO doesn’t want work data shared on those public services. But I’m accustomed to, and almost dependent on my sync and share capability and my organization hasn’t yet given us a private alternative.

Now, in my roles as a technology strategist I spend a good bit of time helping to plan our investments. With the speed at which mobile and social technologies are sweeping through organizations, I have to admit the case that Sheila, Pushan and other Gartner analysts made that week for the rapidly emerging data protection crisis in BYOD sync and share was compelling. It occurred to me that credible vendors who were able to solve the problem in short order would be in high demand. That was eight months ago.

Fast forward seven months

Infinity time spiral 15267876In July, Forrester analysts Ted Schadler and Rob Koplowitz published The Forrester Wave™: File Sync And Share Platforms, Q3 2013 in a quest to uncover those credible vendors. I liked the way they characterized the problem. “Employees’ need to synchronize files grew from a whisper to a scream over the past few years. . . .The scream will grow louder as the number of tablets will triple to 905 million by 2017 to join the billions of computers and smartphones used for work.” The report evaluated and scored 16 of the most significant solution providers against 26 criteria. Among the leaders was IBM SmartCloud Connections. You can see the complete list of leaders here.

Change is here

change aheadThe interesting thing that most folks miss in the sync and share conversation is – it’s about more than just syncing and sharing. As BYOD smartphones and tablets begin to proliferate the workplace, document management will shift from email attachments and file servers into social collaboration. Forrester points to a further social shift from casual partner collaboration to compliant workflow in regulated industries.
That kind of data is important – and the reason that the Gartner analysts were focused on the data protection issues of this BYOD world. Organizations today have well matured processes for protecting data on file servers and email systems, usually with an enterprise backup product. I commented on this set of tools in my post on Forrester’s Take on Enterprise Backup and Recovery.  But as corporate information is relocated from file servers and email systems to sync and share systems, Gartner had an unmistakable reminder for its customers, Consumer File Sync/Share Is Not Backup.

Check mark 18728815I agree! The good news is that IBM has taken the time to ensure its enterprise backup product, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery, protects synched and shared files in IBM Connections with all the same efficiency it does file servers, email systems and most any other data important to an organization.

What is your organization doing with file sync and share? How are you protecting that information?

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About Ron Riffe

IBM Program Director for Software Defined Environments. Adoring husband, proud daddy, imperfect but redeemed. I have a twenty-seven year background in the storage industry having held positions as both a consumer and a peddler and in roles spanning from administrator, to thought leader, to strategic planner, to senior manager. I’m also a passionate leader, speaker and author. My perspectives are my own.
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