ShareFile to add storage options, iPhone app, and more

Thousands of Citrix customers and partners took over the Anaheim Convention Center this week for Citrix Synergy 2014. The annual event is a platform for Citrix to make big announcements and reveal new products and features, such as those it unveiled for ShareFile, its data storage and file sharing platform.

For starters, Citrix announced the ShareFile StorageZone Connectors SDK. ShareFile already has connectors for Microsoft SharePoint and network fileshares, but the new SDK will enable an IT department or third-party provider to develop connectors to link ShareFile with various data storage solutions. Citrix showed off connectors for Alfresco, Documentum, and Filenet.

Citrix also shared new ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors. These connectors tie ShareFile to popular cloud storage platforms like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive. Citrix described a scenario where these connectors could be used to consolidate data to a central point where it can be more easily managed and secured. IT can enable the ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors for a defined period of time to provide users an opportunity to seamlessly move data from their personal cloud accounts into ShareFile.

In cases where the ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors are left enabled, users can access data stored in their personal cloud account, while still retaining the benefits of ShareFile. Files from those third-party storage platforms can be opened, edited, and annotated from within ShareFile. 

Citrix had good news for smaller customers, as well. It announced the ability to review and edit Microsoft Office documents or annotate PDF files from a within ShareFile on a mobile device is now available to all customers, not just enterprises.

There was also an announcement about allowing businesses to manage their own ShareFile StorageZones in Microsoft Azure and retain control of encryption keys, but the announcement that most caught my attention was about the upcoming redesign of the ShareFile app for iPhone. I had an opportunity to speak with some of the ShareFile team, and see the current build of the new app in action.

There is a new contextual menu button that reminds me of the radial menu feature in OneNote for Windows 8. By tapping and holding the button, a list of options based on the context of where you’re at and what you’re doing within ShareFile is presented. Simply drag and swipe the option you want. It's simple and intuitive and the sort of feature I’d like to see built in at the iOS level so that all apps could use a similar convention. Beyond the contextual menu, though, the app also contains a number of features that make it easier to manage, organize, access, and share data from an iPhone.

Some of the new features, like customer-mananed StorageZones in Microsoft Azure, or the ShareFile StorageZone Connectors SDK are available immediately. Expanding the document editing capabilities to all ShareFile customers, and the new ShareFile for iPhone app will be available later this month. The new ShareFile Personal Connectors is expected to be available in June.

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