Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

Technology: Cloud enabled file sharing, storage and backup

Why it's one to watch: Egnyte's hybrid cloud meets the banking industry's need for data storage flexibility while retaining local control.

The reluctance of banks to embrace the cloud in a substantial way to enable filing sharing and backup can often be summed up in one word: control. The lack of control over data that's no longer stored locally often runs up against security, user access and regulatory concerns.

But Egnyte has one of the best chances yet of breaking down that adoption wall via its version of a "hybrid cloud" that delivers file sharing for banks and other businesses by combining the safety and control of local storage with the efficiencies of the cloud. Through Egnyte's hybrid cloud, users store, share, access and back up their files, while IT retains centralized administration and control to enforce business policies.

"Two years ago, when we didn't offer a hybrid cloud solution and offered a pure public cloud, we saw a reluctance among financial institutions," says Vineet Jain, the cofounder and CEO of Egnyte, which faces competition from file sharing/collaboration firms such as Box.net and Dropbox.

Among Egnyte's recent client wins is Lincoln Financial Group. The Pittsburgh-based wealth management firm was looking to expand its use of cloud delivered file access, but required all data to be backed up and copied locally. "With the hybrid, we were able to sign up that account, where we couldn't have provided what [Lincoln wanted] in the past," says Jain. Other substantial client wins include firms outside of finance, such as Sears and Ikea.

The Egnyte hybrid cloud is comprised of the Egnyte cloud file server and the Egnyte local cloud. Larger organizations can also install Egnyte's "office local cloud" on Netgear ReadyNAS network attached storage devices, or install the "enterprise local cloud." The enterprise local cloud provides a bank's staff with one centralized local access point for all files. It's deployed as a WMware virtual appliance and synchronizes fields between the virtual appliance and the cloud file server. The virtual appliance can use existing sever and storage investments that a bank may have previously made, such as a Windows or Linux server.

Files on Egnyte can also appear through native apps on iPad, iPhone and Android. Egnyte has recently executed integrations with Netgear, Outlook, Salesforce.com, Quickoffice and Google Docs.

Egnyte plans a number of additional enhancements in 2012, including implementing security assertion markup language as a standard interface so customers use single sign on. And the user interface will be upgraded to HTML5 in early 2012 to improve users' ability to access and share files.