File-Sharing Services Are Next Battleground for Backup Vendors, Resellers

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CharTec is teaming up with Dropbox to augment its backup solution and offer the popular file-sharing service through its MSP network. It’s the latest example of how file-sharing is the next big expansion wave for backup vendors.

Say what you will about the quality, security and reliability of Dropbox -- people love the file-sharing service, and it's rapidly expanding into channel sales and business environments with help from resellers and vendors. The latest: hardware-as-a-service provider CharTec.net.

CharTec will offer its managed services provider partners Dropbox for Business, a version of the file-sharing service with greater administrative and security controls than the consumer version.

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"We are consistently looking for the best products in the market to offer to our clients and our partners. Dropbox for Business offers an awesome solution for desktop backup, allowing people access to their files anytime, anywhere, on any device. We are really looking forward to bringing Dropbox to our Partners through this relationship," said CharTec CEO Alex Rogers.

Calling Dropbox a “backup” solution is a bit of an overstatement. While file-sharing services such as Dropbox, Box, SugarSync and others have backup characteristics, they are really about synchronizing folders and files of common desktop applications across multiple devices and operating platforms via the cloud.

CharTec isn’t a stranger to the backup space, either. It has a hardware backup solution it builds, sells and supports through its MSP network. As a hardware leasing company, it provides guarantees of performance and replacement of its backup solution, making it an attractive offer to MSPs.

Adding Dropbox as an alliance partner gives CharTec a new dimension few other backup vendors have: the ability to provide users with ease of access to data through file-sharing.

Other that CharTec, only backup vendor eFolder has expanded into file-sharing. Last week, eFolder bought file-sharing software company Anchor for an undisclosed sum. The deal will result in the merging of the backup and file-sharing technologies to give solution providers a holistic data protection and portability service.

“MSPs want it all -- cloud file sync features that business users demand, vast amounts of cloud storage, multi-tenant management and branding, security and HIPAA compliance, PSA integration, wholesale pricing that leads to big margins… eFolder and Anchor are now uniquely positioned to deliver it all,” said eFolder CEO Kevin Hoffman.

CharTec and eFolder may be first to market with offerings that combined the best of backup and file-sharing, but they won’t be the last. Other backup vendors are looking for new features and functions to enhance their value and make them more appealing to partners and customers. Carbonite Inc., for instance, has file-sharing qualities, but not a true service; it will eventually add features that will make it look like a cross between Dropbox and backup vendors.

Arguably, the backup vendors are taking cues from their solution-provider partners. File-sharing services such as Dropbox, Box and others are getting aggressive in the channel as they look for new routes to market to enhance and accelerate sales. Many solution providers are already offering file-sharing services as a resale offering to augment their other managed and cloud services.

File-sharing is an attractive addition to backup vendors because of the similarities to their core function: data accessibility and protection. The challenge facing nearly all backup vendors is the market is over-saturated with suppliers and none has a market leading advantage. Worse, new features are being added to backup vendor portfolios in virtual synchronicity, negating competitive advantages.

Likely to come next is a file-sharing land grab among cloud backup vendors, which will lead to a short period of growth followed by a return to the status quo.

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