Before I left for RSA two weeks ago I had a chance to catch up with my friends at Barracuda Networks who launched a new file sharing service called Copy. Kudos for the name, first of all. Copy is a great name for what this service does.
Of course, Barracuda has a long history of offering backup service to thousands of companies small and large, both on-premise and in the cloud. They are using this backend technology to power Copy. I should say that I don't think backup is the same thing as file sharing. I think file sharing is a lot more about the front end than backup is. However, they both require the storage of data and files.
Paralleling their dual on-site and cloud backup model, Copy has a local storage/sharing option thanks to Barracuda's partnership with Drobo. Drobo makes a line of small appliances that can store files locally and interact with cloud storage as well.
Barracuda is not the first company to offer a cloud-based file sharing service. Dropbox and Box are two hot stars in this space. Additionally, we have Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and even from another security company, Norton Zone by Symantec. So how will Barracuda take a bite of this market?
Speaking with executives at both Barracuda and Drobo, the key is their existing customer base. Barracuda has tens of thousands of existing customers using backup services, in addition to the other Barracuda products. Drobo also has thousands of customers using their various appliances. This existing customer base is the low-hanging fruit in the Copy business model. If you are already using Barracuda, they are going to make it very easy and affordable for you to use Copy.
Speaking of affordability, Copy gives you 5GB of free storage like many of the other offerings in this space. You can tweet about Copy and refer new customers to gain more free storage for a limited time. Beyond that, you can get 250GB for $99 a year or $9.99 a month. You can upgrade beyond that to 500 GB for $149 a year or $14.99 a month.
You can also bet that with Barracuda's history of aggressive marketing and sales, we will be seeing ads for Copy everywhere. Barracuda is a company that knows how to spend money on marketing that translates into customers.
I signed up for the service and downloaded the Windows application. It appears similar to some of the other file sharing services I have used. I now have a folder on my system (right next to the dropbox, Google Drive and MS SkyDrive) that I can drag and drop files into. Anything in that folder will be shared in Copy. Any files I put in Copy from another location or device is automatically downloaded to my Copy folder.
Copy uses encryption in both transit and at rest. Again, relying on Barracuda's history in backup and its security DNA, they promise a safer, more secure service than some of the other offerings in the market.
One thing for sure is that file sharing is going to be a big market. I don't think file sharing both for individuals and for the commercial market is the same as backup. I don't see them merging into one offering. If you are just using Copy or any of these services to store your files in the cloud, it is backup. True file sharing is when I am sharing these files with friends and colleagues to collaborate on.
This introduces things like version control and tracking changes into the mix. I think real file sharing will separate from backing up files in the cloud in the near future. That separation will determine who the real winners in the cloud file sharing space will be. With Barracuda's record of success, I would not bet against them being one of the winners.