ECM vs EFSS Solutions: The Ultimate Guide

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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In this article, we will cover what EFSS is? the benefits of using Enterprise File Sync and Share tools, a comparison between an enterprise content management system and EFSS solution, and how they could get along.

ECM is a set of strategies, methods, and technologies that enable businesses to gather, manage, and deliver information to the right people at the right time. While EFSS allows using its secure cloud storage features to store, distribute, and synchronize documents, photos, videos, and documents.

What is Enterprise File Sync and Share?

Enterprise File Sync and Share is a software service that enables individuals to store, share, and synchronize documents, photos, videos, and files using its secure cloud storage capabilities.

Enterprise File Sync and Share tools gained popularity and became the favorite secure cloud storage tool for individuals to synchronize and share their documents, photos, and files across multiple devices. Due to its simplicity and ease of use, Enterprise File Sync and Share also became an essential part of the day-to-day activities in organizations.

When an increasing number of employees started using Enterprise File Sync and Share i.e. Dropbox, Box, and Google to organize, share, and collaborate on business documents, this raised a big concern for organizations having their information stored and managed on public cloud storage outside their IT’s control. This is where organizations started adopting enterprise file-sharing tools.

Enterprise File Sync and Share Deployment Model

There are 3 options for organizations choosing to adopt the EFSS solution

Cloud Deployment: When employees use the Enterprise File Sync and Share solution, files are being stored on the provider’s cloud storage. The maintenance, upgrades, hardware & infrastructure are handled by the solution provider.

Hybrid Deployment: The service is handled by the solution provider but the files are stored on the organization’s file storage infrastructure.

On-Premise Deployment: The solution & services are deployed on the organization’s hardware, maintenance and support are handled by the organization’s IT department, and files are stored on their servers.

Enterprise File Sync and Share Benefits

Easy to use and simple user experience quickly brought users’ attention and became the favorite tool to backup, store, organize, and share personal and business content.

Below are some characteristics:

  • Content synchronized across all devices (mobile, tablets, pcs). The solution provider often provides the ability to use their solution on different types of devices.
  • Smoother collaboration enabling not only a read-only access to the documents but also real-time editing
  • Easily share folders and content (business documents, photos, video, etc.) between different parties.
  • Set user permission to folders and files. It allows setting specific permissions based on specified users.
  • Built-in file creation, editing, and previewing.
  • Notification engine on each change on the document.
  • Integrate with different business applications using Rest APIs, plugins, and mobile apps.
  • Offline file viewing capabilities.

What is Enterprise Content Management?

Enterprise content management is the combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to allow organizations to capture, manage, preserve, store, and deliver information to the right people at the right time.

ECM is an umbrella term that covers records management, document management, collaboration, workflow management, web content management, digital asset management, imaging, and archiving.

Feel free to check this in-depth guide “What is (ECM)

System Benefits

An ECM system provides more sophisticated and advanced functionalities that almost all medium to big enterprises are in urgent need of. Some of which are

  • Version control: One of the most important features in enterprise content management is version control where users are always working on the latest version of the file, having the ability to see the list of versions and revert back to the previous version when needed
  • Indexing & Classification: document indexing is the process of associating the information with tags allowing for easier retrieval. Document classification is the act of labeling documents into categories according to their content such as drawings, financial reports, contracts, agreements, etc.
  • Search & retrieval: The system should allow users to easily locate documents based on metadata or FTS. Additionally, the system should provide an advanced search mechanism.
  • Records Management: Helps control the creation, declaration, classification, retention, and destruction of content and business records, resulting in improved compliance, minimized litigation risk, and lower storage costs
  • Advanced Collaboration: A good system will give the ability to employees to easily collaborate on business documents in real-time in addition to providing annotations, stamps, redlines, digital signatures, and content redaction.
  • Advanced Security: Provides role-based security to specify who can see what.
  • Document audit trail where each action on the document is logged.
  • Complete content lifecycle management. The system supports the full lifecycle of content from creation to disposition.
  • Business Process Management: The ability to start automating vital processes with the ultimate goal of improving accountability, productivity, and efficiency.
  • Business intelligence: Though not all systems provide integration with major BI tools, if available it will allow making use of the important data and faster decision making.

Check out this article for more information about ECM benefits

Integration with EFSS solution

When secure cloud storage services emerged in organizations, they started to challenge conventional ECM systems.

While Enterprise File Sync and Share solution (EFSS solution) provides a simple and intuitive user experience, smooth collaboration, and remote accessibility, an enterprise content management system (ECM system) is more focused on control, compliance, security, and automation

Because employees started to use EFSS solutions in the organization to manage business information, it has become essential for the providers to have full integration.

Most of the well-known systems already provide the two below integration model

  • One-way integration: Users have the ability to send documents to their preferred solution directly from the ECM system. In addition, users can select whether or not to automatically update the document in their solution repository if it has been changed in the repository.
  • Two ways integration: When adding a document to the solution, automatically the document will be imported into the system.


Enterprise file sharing and Sync gave us the ability to access content using any device wherever we are in need and share this content with anyone in a very simple way but that created other problems for organizations.

The most important factors to consider before choosing between an EFSS solution & an ECM system

  • Security: In an organization, controlling content access is extremely important in order to minimize the risk of data breaches and information falling in the wrong hands. ECM systems are well equipped with a robust and complete security model to control who can see what or who can do operations on the document level in addition to a complete audit trail.
  • Governance: Compliance requirements for certain types of documents are mandatory and failure to adhere to different regulatory regulations can cost your organization fines and in some cases legal actions. A good ECM system will help your organization reduce the risk of non-compliance to different regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, and GDPR by automating records retention.


What does Efss stand for?

EFSS stands for Enterprise File Sync and Share. It is a software solution that enables organizations to share files and folders with their team members and partners. This solution is designed to provide the required level of security, as it does not allow any file or folder to be shared without the appropriate level of access permissions.

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