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8/26/2011
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Syncplicity Extends Cloud File Manager To Salesforce.com, iPhone

United Capital investment firm tests Salesforce integration with virtual private cloud for file management service.

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Syncplicity is adding its "virtual private cloud for file management" to the Salesforce.com AppExchange and the iPhone app store.

Like other cloud file management products, Syncplicity connects PCs to a remote file system on the Internet for backup and file sharing. Synchronization is important as people work from their home computers, their office computers, their laptops, and their phones, CEO Karen White said. "We don't think users are going to put all things all in one place, ever again."

Syncplicity's integration with Salesforce mirrors a similar one with the Google Apps Marketplace, which has proven very important because about 20,000 of the 25,000 users of Syncplicity are also Google Apps users, she said.

Syncplicity for Salesforce.com and Syncplicity for iPhone are free add-ons to the base service.

The Salesforce integration provides access to the Syncplicity file system from within the Salesforce user interface. Initially, the integration will be fairly basic, although Syncplicity is promising the next release will do a better job of associating files with specific customer records. Until then, the work-around is to tag files with the customer's name so they are easier to search for.

The iPhone app lets users browse the file repository either as a list of folders or as a "news feed" of most recently updated files.

United Capital is one customer that has been testing Syncplicity for Salesforce. Brandon Gage, senior vice president of technology for the financial services firm, said United Capital has been a Salesforce user for five years, so he is looking forward to using the two products together. United Capital has about 225 employees, with an average office including about eight people, so using Syncplicity and Salesforce, plus Google email, eliminates a lot of small office IT support hassles, he said.

"We have 30 offices scattered around the entire United States, and we wanted a file system that is holistic and weather resistant," Gage said. The weather reference came into the conversation because, on the day we spoke, the Ft. Lauderdale office was "staring down a hurricane" (which subsequently turned north), making him think about the resiliency he gets by not having file servers tied to individual offices.

Looking to get away from owning for servers and paying for their upkeep, Gage went shopping for a cloud service that would him private file storage on the Internet. Now, every file stored on a computer in Ft. Lauderdale is automatically replicated to the cloud and stored in quadruplicate in data centers across the U.S., he said, with encryption to protect documents both in transit and at rest.

"What drove us to use Syncplicity was their company's positioning security," Gage said. He looked at other cloud file sharing products, such as Dropbox, but thought Syncplicity was more serious about meeting corporate data management standards. "A lot of the others are very consumer-based, and focused on getting freemium customers," he said.

Syncplicity actually does offer a free edition for personal use. Syncplicity Business Edition starts at $15 per user per month, with a minimum of three users. A 30-day free trial is available for up to 25 users.

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