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EMC Syncplicity adds document editing, security features

EMC's Syncplicity online file-sharing software upgrade adds flexibility to select storage types and allows users to edit documents in Syncplicity.

EMC Corp. today launched upgrades to its Syncplicity online file-sharing product that include a redesign of its mobile client function to make it easier for users to edit and share documents in Syncplicity, while giving IT more granular security and authentication features.

"If we want to win in the market, we have to serve two masters," said Jeetu Patel, vice president and general manager of EMC's Syncplicity business unit. "One is the user who wants a good, if not better, consumer-grade tool, and the other is IT, which wants to feel the software is secure."

The new EMC Syncplicity 2 has a policy-based Storage Vault function that lets IT administrators select where data is stored according to user, group, folder file or content type. The storage can be on-premises or in a private or public cloud.

As an example, Patel said data created by the legal department can be stored on-premises on EMC VNX storage, data created by marketing can go into the cloud, video files can go on EMC Isilon, and data generated by engineering can be stored on EMC Atmos.

"This gives organizations the flexibility to choose where content can be stored," Patel said. "Policies can be applied to optimize storage for cost, performance, security or compliance."

Syncplicity also has the ability to set group-level authentication policies so different departments can share certain files and folders. For users, EMC has built a Syncplicity Insights function that's integrated with the calendar and automates certain mundane tasks.

For instance, if users are in a meeting and take pictures of notes on whiteboards, the photos can be shared with all attendees via the online file-sharing software. Syncplicity Insights also issues alerts to users when individuals haven't downloaded a sent file.

In June, EMC Syncplicity added a Secure Shared Links feature so the software can share links to files or attachments. Today's release adds a Secure Shared Files feature that lets users include rights management controls when sending files through Secure Shared Links. Administrators can set an expiration date on passwords and links, as well as add watermarks to documents and prevent printing or copying for security purposes.

"Before, administrators had no control over a file or folder when it was sent and downloaded," Patel said.

Users can make changes directly in Syncplicity rather than in third-party applications such Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They can also monitor edits and changes made to files and folders when they have been downloaded via third-party applications such as Google's Quickoffice.

Previously, they had to make changes using third-party apps and then save the document again in Syncplicity.

"The users didn't like the old model because they had to jump over applications," Patel said. "And IT didn't like it because as soon as the document was opened in a third-party application, the files left the security container of Syncplicity."

The group policies and secure management functions are available now. Patel said Storage Vault will be available in December, while Secure Shared Files will go into controlled release in December, with general availability set for early 2014.

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