Manage and Sync with all your Cloud Services using Storage Made Easy’s iOS App

We’ve updated the Storage Made Easy iPad / iPhone App. As with all Storage Made Easy mobile clients, the App unifies public cloud services such as Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon S3 as well as private cloud services such as OpenStack, FTP(s), WebDav, Zimbra etc.

The App also features our innovative CloudDav feature. CloudDav enables WebDav across any Cloud that is mapped to the App. This then enables users to edit documents using any of their storage services with Doc editing Apps such as iWork, even if the native Cloud does not actually support WebDav.

This update includes a number of refinements and changing such as slight tweak to support the iPhone 5 screen resolution, and the release also extends the Business WorkSpaces feature. This feature lets users create Business WorkSpaces directly from the App and enables members of the group to share files securely with each other.

Cross Cloud Search is also a feature of the App. This means, for example, that if you need to search for files related to a a certain project keyword you can simply type the search terms and all the cloud data sources that you have mapped to the App will be searched and the aggregated results returned.

For the SME business SaaS and on-premise Appliance customers the integration of the SaaS and hybrid Appliance with on-premise Active Directory servers enables single sign-on as users can authenticate with their Active Directory username and passwords.

Some review comments taken from the App store reviews can be seen below:

“This app is a must have if you want to easily manage and have functionality between up to 3 cloud apps. SME is e a very advanced app. So far I’ve been able to download zip files from my email, un-zip (or in SME terminology unarchive) and send to any of my cloud accounts. I can transfer files between clouds from the app either by cloud copy or cloud cut, the later of which will move the file. There’s definitely a learning curve for the advanced features, but the ones I described are easy learn. SME has bar non the best tech support I’ve ever dealt with. On three occasions I needed help to learn the functions, and within 30 minutes tech support had my problem resolved. P.S. not being tech savvy the 3 problems were on my end. By far this is one of the best apps I’ve purchased. The functionality it provides the Pages App alone makes SME worth every penny.”

“Needed a WebDav solution for iWork apps in order to move files to and from the iPad. Dropbox does not support WebDav, iWork does not support Dropbox. iSMEStorage fills the void, providing WebDav services to Dropbox and many other cloud storage providers. Getting WebDav enabled via SME’s CloudDav was not as easy as it could have been, but SME Support was fantastic, getting me up and running on the weekend. All I can say is well done! Now I can move files on & off the iPad seamlessly. Very nice! Well worth the one time charge for the app.”

“First App I’ve used that lets me sync a few different folders on different clouds in one go, and editing files from clouds that iWork does not support is pretty cool however they manage to do it !”

“This is a great supplement for creating your own personal cloud service. Great!”

iSMEStorage from Storage Made Easy is available in the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone users.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Integrating iAnnotate with Google Docs, Amazon S3, RackSpace, and other Clouds

The latest version of iAnnotate PDF, the iPad App that enables editing of PDF Documents, adds support for WebDav which means that you can use the SMEStorage ClouDav Protocol Adaptor, free with the iOS iSMEStorage App, to connect iAnnotate to many Clouds that it does not natively support. SMEStorage supports integration with more Storage and SaaS Clouds than any other service.

The steps to enable access to the Clouds mapped to your SMEStorage Account are simple:

20120302-232948.jpg

20120302-233028.jpg

20120302-233055.jpg

20120302-233130.jpg

CloudDav is enabled with all Business Cloud File Server Accounts.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

You don’t need to Jailbreak to have the full files experience on your iPad / iPhone

I was talking to a friend recently and he was bemoaning the fact that he had upgraded his iPad 2 from iOS version 4.3.3 to get to iOS5 and therefore lost his jailbreak Apps, and in particular the iFile application which he felt made the iPad into more of a a laptop replacement. Without this he felt that as well as his iPad he also needed his laptop on trips “just in case”.

This got me thinking and I asked him what it was he needed to do. His answer was:

I need to be able to save files from my email locally, and then be able to send files I’ve saved on my device as an attachment, and I also need to be able to download any file type from the web browser and email if I need to. I also need  access to my internal office files over WebDav, my own personal DropBox files, and also files stored from our supplier which are hosted on a Amazon S3 Account they give us. With the Amazon S3 files I need to download then locally as I need to be able to share them with our customers as they are product information sheets, and I cannot just set them public in Amazon S3 as I don’t want to make these files available to everyone.

Additional to all of this I also want to be able to work with my Local files ie create directories, and even cut and paste files so that I can organise them, just like I would do on my laptop.”

I stepped through with him how he could do all of this with our iSMEStorage iOS client and he was amazed. He did not know he could do some of these things without jailbreaking his iPad. Given the value he got from our chat he cajoled me into putting together this blog post outlining what I went through with him to share any value other readers / users would get from it.

Lets take the things he mentioned one by one:

1. Requirement: I need to be able to save files from email and web browser locally - You can save any attachment from your email into iSMEStorage, even if the iPad does not recognise the file. iSMEStorage lets you save any file type from email or Safari. Once it is saved you can choose to view it within SMEStorage, or send it as an attachment using the iOS email client. You can also choose to open the file into another iOS App and work with/on the file from there. Once the file is saved locally you can

2. Requirement: I need to access my internal office files that I can share using WebDav and also my DropBox files - SMEStorage fully support access to local files over the WebDav protocol directly from the iPad and also works with DropBox. Both sets of files are presented in a unified file system so that they can easily be managed and you can even copy and paste files between the two.

3. Requirement: I need to be able to work with my Amazon S3 files and be able to download and share them over email with my supplier: As with DropBox and WebDav SMEStorage supports Amazon S3 and enables files to be managed or moved between clouds, as well as being download locally. However SMEStorage also enables you to share Amazon S3 files without making the files public on Amazon S3. You can even set a link expiry so that the file links that are shared eventually expire.

iSMEStorage does not just work with WebDav, Amazon S3, and DropBox it now works with over 30 Storage Clouds.

4. Requirement: I also want to be able to work with my Local files ie create directories, and even cut and paste files so that I can organise them, just like I would do on my laptop – You can do exactly this in iSMEStorage Local files view. You can move files about using cut and paste and you can also create directories to help organise your files.

This touches only part of what can be done with the iSMEStorage Cloud and Local File Manager. Please see the slideshow below to see more:

 

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Cloud Computing Use Case: Sharing PDF’s stored on SkyDrive with an “on the road” team using Galaxy Tab and iPad’s

Given the propensity for so many different use cases that using the Cloud with Files can come up with  we thought we’d start sharing some of the day-to-day use cases we deal with here on our blog.

This one is an inbound request in which a business has a series of PDF’s stored in a folder hierarchy on SkyDrive that they need to share with a distributed team that uses a combination of Galaxy Tab and iPad’s. The files need to be synchronised for offline use and the files can be updated each evening so the remote people need to be able to resync the files locally to get the latest versions for offline use.

Firstly lets address SlyDrive. In this event all the business needs to is to start using our Cloud File Server and add the SkyDrive Cloud to their account from the Cloud DashBoard.  This starts a wizard in which the user is stepped through adding the SkyDrive Cloud.

 

 

 

Once this is done the Business Admin of the Cloud File Server needs to convert the  folder containing the PDF’s into a shared Organization Folder. This means that any users that are added to the Cloud File Server will be able to see this folder.

The Business Cloud Admin can now choose to set the types of permissions that they wish to set on the folder (read only, etc).

 

 

 

 

Once this is done The Cloud Admin can add the users:

 

 

 

 

Now this is setup lets move to the tablet side. We’ll take the iPad first:

IPAD:

Each of the users that the Cloud File Server Admin added to the Cloud File Server can access their account using the iSMEStorage iPad App. once logged in they will be able to view files on the Cloud in a unique Cloud Files view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However as per the business requirements we need to be able to sync the folder that was shared containing PDF’s down to the device. To do this the user needs to visit that particular folder in the Cloud File Manager and nominate the folder for local sync.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once this is done the user can go to ‘My Syncs’ from the menu and action a sync which will download all the PDF’s locally. In future as the documents are updated overnight he just needs to visit My Syncs again and choose to resync which will download the newest files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Tab:

As with the iPad the user needs to visit the PDF directory from the Cloud Files view and nominate the PDF folder for Sync in the SMEStorage Android App.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once this is done the user can return to My syncs, click on the directory and choose to sync. This will download the relevant PDF’s to the iPad. Again a sync can be done each day to update the latest files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As there is less restriction on Android devices users can set the App to do a scheduled sync daily. Unfortunately this is not currently possible on the iPad.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Forthcoming iSMEfeatures: Better Tag Support and photo thumbnails

We thought we’d give you a quick preview of some forthcoming iSMEStorage features. We’ve been requested for a while to add better tag support and support for photo thumbnails. We’ve started work on these features and anticipate these being available in a forthcoming release in the next few weeks. In the meantime enjoy the video below.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

CloudDav update – say goodbye to those additional files in iWork

The SMEStorage implementation of CloudDav enables us to provide WebDav over any Cloud whether the underlying Cloud supports it or not. This has great use on devices such as the iPad when users want to use Google Docs with iWork or SKyDrive with iWork etc.

One of the small niggling issues we’ve had is that when files are saved using iWork the CloudDav implementation creates two extra files. One is the original file which is data and timestamped and the other is an empty file. The reason for this is:

1. Whenever SMEStorage changes a file (if file versioning is not turned on) then the original file is actually versioned and moved to Trash. The file is not actually removed from the underlying Cloud until the Trash is emptied and is visible in the same directory as the newly created file, except it has a date and timestamp appended to it.

2. iWork actually creates an empty file when you are working with the file you wish to edit. This file is empty and is a lock on a file  that it  lets go of once the file has been saved, but it results in the creation of a real empty  file.

Most of our users who use CloudDav with iWork just want one file that they changed to be saved and no additional files which they have to manually remove.

To accommodate this we’ve added a new setting in the Cloud DashBoard (accessible from the right sidebar after login):

 

 

 

 

 

This option is on for all new CloudDav accounts and can be turned on for any existing CloudDav accounts. This will prevent the creation of the extra two files in iWork on the iPad / iPhone.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Implementing secure document delivery of private data to the iPad

One of the interesting projects we’ve recently been looking at with several customers is implementing secure document delivery of private (and in some cases public) data to the iPad using a combination of our Open Cloud Platform and our iSMEStorage iPad App.

The iPad seems to have become the executive, and salesman’s choice of device for mobility and ease of use. We’re seeing it everywhere from high end Finance to very small two to three man businesses.

What restricts some businesses from being able to use the iPad a  means of accessing Cloud Data that they store on premise or in public Clouds in private accounts is often security. They need a level of security that can be above what is required for normal everyday use. I’ve outlined some of the requirements below:

 

 

 

 

1. Requirement to have full control over Cloud File Server / Gateway. This requires the company implementing our Open Cloud Platform on their premise or in their data centre. This is reasonable straight forward and we have a whitepaper on the architecture for high availability here.

2. The iPad has to be a complete sandbox and not accessible as a “File system”. Of course, the way Apple designed iOS Apps was that each operate in their own sandbox directory and by default there is no access to different directories from within Apps (unlike Android). However if the device jailbroken all bets are off. To this end, we implemented in our code for such clients that detects if the device is jail broken when the App is installed or launched. If it is then the App becomes inaccessible.

3. Of course in in point 2 above, if the App is not launched and someone gets access to the filesystem via a jailbreak then the files could still be compromised. To this end we have implemented encryption on PIN. The current version of iSMEStorage already enables adding a PIN over above login. For private customers we this PIN to also encrypt the data on the iPad, much like you can do using the home directory encryption that Apple provides on the Mac. This now means that if the device is jailbroken and the App is not launched then the files, even if accessed, cannot be viewed. This feature may well make it’s way into our App Store iSMEStorage App at some point in the future.

4. In the unlikely event someone does get access to the App then all documents that are accessed can be encrypted using the SMEStorage Cloud Platform which means that a PIN is required to download them to the device (where the are encrypted anyway). The encryption is 256 bit AES encryption.

5. Integration with third party authentication services. A number of clients we’ve worked with have their own third party authentication services. In some cases we’ve need to look at integrating these into the authentication mechanism used for our iPad App. Two examples are Ping Identity Server and Arcot mobile authentication solution. You can view a short whitepaper on security integration here.

6. Disabling any document sharing with other Apps. This of course makes perfect sense in a world where you want the ultimate security for files and was simply a case of disabling this feature. This presented some challenges where customers wanted still to have some editing capabilities of documents. To this end we entered into OEM’s with best of breed third party solutions for such private implementations that enable document editing from within the App as well as PDF annotation for PDF documents.

Taking these steps a secure document delivery solution can be achieved for Private data. Public data, stored on such services as Amazon S3, or RackSpace, can if required also be accessed by “plugging them” in at a Cloud Platform Server level. Additional data becomes part of the Cloud File System and can be managed easily within the virtual directory. The Organisation can use the options in the SMEStorage Cloud File Server to require encryption for all documents stored on such services that pass through the Cloud Gateway.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A detailed look at iSMEStorage 2.06 for the iPhone

We put together some slides to highlight some of the features that exists in the iSMEStorage Cloud File Manager application for the iPhone / iPad:

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

iSMEStorage Cloud File Manager 2.06 now on App Store for iPad and iPhone

We’ve rolled out another update to our iPhone / iPad Cloud File Manager, iSMEStorage taking it to version 2.06.

Changes in this update include:

New Features:

- Added support for Windows Azure Blob Storage
- Added ability to zip local folder structures
- Added ability to cancel uploads, downloads or zips
- Defaulted to Apple video rendering for better video file output when uploading videos to Cloud Storage
- Added ability to download file from URL locally to the iOS device as well as to a Cloud
- Added top things to know about SMEStorage help section
- Added new splash screen for iPhone 4 devices

Fixes:

- Fixed Twitter crash bug when sharing files via Twitter
- Fixed blue screen bug when login failed on iPad
- Fixed Cloud File Manager refresh bug after uploading a file
- Fixed display of iPhone Syncs folder icon
- Display message if Location Services are off when trying to upload photos /videos

We believe we have the most fully features file manager for local and cloud files on the App Store and we will continue to think of innovative ways to improve it, and of course add support for more storage clouds.

PrintFriendly
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather