When faced with the challenge of remote access to SMB files and disparate Cloud Silos, civil engineering firm TNP (Teague Nall and Perkins) chose the File Fabric to simplify and consolidate their file and storage access.by
The start of the pandemic early in 2020 forced most of people working at offices to swap to a working from home situation. Some companies were not fully prepared for this transition, as was the case of Adams Wealth Advisors, New staff working from home created problems for an infrastructure built to support employees working from the office.by
ITRI (Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute), is a world-leading applied technology research institute which is also a key player in autonomous vehicle development.
Its technology combines real-time positioning, mapping technology, machine learning, and a range of sensors to simulate driving and capture test data in real world situations. This process generates massive amounts of data that need to be analyzed quickly and precisely, and here is where the the Storage Made Easy (SME) Enterprise File Fabric comes into play.by
Over 750 SMB’s (Small to Medium Businesses) took part in the survey which was conducted in the first quarter of 2020, in February and March. Of the respondents 554 where classed as enterprise respondents as opposed to 196 Small to Medium Business respondents. SMB’s were defined as having fewer than 1,000 employees whereas enterprise was defined as having more than 1,000 employees.by
I am Zaeem, SME’s Pre Sales Executive. I was asked to share my favourite SME feature with you all, so I thought hard about what was it for me that really stood out.
From the colossal arsenal of features like locking, client tools, file-sharing annotations, auditing, AD integration …….. so on and so forth. I had to pick one, but it was not that difficult for me, to decide what I think is one of the best, if not the best feature. My winner is Folder Permissions. Continue reading “My Favourite Feature: Folder Permissions”by
Hybrid Cloud has struck a chord with many companies that work with both on-premise and off-premise data. Given this we thought it would be useful for us to hilight the key points that we see when companies are managing data in a hybrid cloud environment:by
As more and more companies use the Cloud to replace their existing file server the need for similar functionality to that which existed on-premise becomes important. Once such features is file locking.
File locking simply allows a user to lock a file whilst updating to prevent another user editing the same file. If locking does not exist then at worse conflicts occur, at best file updates get overwritten and perhaps even lost. It is a key piece of a collaboration experience.
Storage Made Easy private enterprise file share and sync solution fully supports file locking through all of its web, desktop and mobile clients. When a file is locked, other users only have read only access to it.
In addition to locking, file versioning goes hand in hand as a key feature. Versioned files are files that have been superseded by newer files but which can be kept for audit or archived purposes and which can later be promoted to replace newer version of a file if needed. Storage Made Easy EFSS solution provides full support for both of these features using its unique visual versioning feature.
The problem with current file sync and share solutions is they miss many of the features needed to really use them as a file server replacement. This do not just include locking and versioning, but also CIFS access from the desktop, file event audit, access over common protocols such as WebDav or FTP, ability to be deployed private and to work with other storage clouds or data points, solve the shadow IT problem etc. The solution from most solution providers is the “my cloud is better than their cloud” approach i.e.. “move to my solution as we have that feature”. This promotes more silos and exacerbates sprawl.
The Storage Made Easy is storage independent and promote interoperability and integration, working with any combination of storage points, be they public or private, so if you have existing solutions that require global locking, versioning, event Audit, Cloud Governance, amongst other things, SME can help.
In summary For companies that have data stored in the cloud, in one or more storage providers, global file locking and versioning should be considered a mandatory feature for enterprise file share and sync.by
As the Cloud permeates all aspects of business enterprises in particular are waking up to the cost benefits that Cloud can bring, from outsourced pay-as-you-go applications to cheaper and easier archival, to storage of non sensitive documents and data.
An often repeated truth is that Enterprises have 3 of everything. When I worked in the Middleware space it was not unusual to see one department using IBM WebSphere, another using WebLogic and yet another experimenting with JBoss. The same adage goes for enterprise content management.
In the not to distant past if I brought up Enterprise Content Management then it could be referred that I was only discussing Documentum, Alfresco, SharePoint or some CMIS type product, but in today’s world the term can also apply to documents stored on OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 etc. Throw in CRM’s that store documents such as Salesforce and online project management tools such as BaseCamp and you start to grasp just how many independent content and documents silos that companies have to deal with.
This is bore out by a recent survey by AIIM called “Get more from on-premise ECM”. The highlights of that survey are:
50% of companies already use 3 or more storage solutions (this echoes prior research that SME also undertook.)
40% of companies are investigating cloud
This presents two large challenges to companies:
Accessibility of data – where is it ? which App ? Which data store ?
Governance of data – How do you you universally secure data and set polices across data silos and Apps ?
The Storage Made Easy EFSS Cloud Control Solution was built specifically to address these types of challenges.
Connecting to private and public content stores and Apps that functions as content stores, such as Salesforce, is a facilitator to make accessibility easier as when users search for a document the search is conducted across the content estate, not just in an App silo.
Also SME has an Enterprise connector to Apache Lucene / SOLR to enable deep search of file content from any desktop and any App. This not only increases the accessibility and availability of data, it also immeasurably increases worker productivity.
Governance of data is a thorn in the side of Enterprise IT when it comes to the storing of Cloud data and the NSA snooping scandal and recent celebrity photo hacking has not done anything to help the sensitivity of it. Cloud Governance and Control is firmly in the spotlight of Enterprise IT and more importantly Enterprise Management.
Often what you see from vendors is a “my cloud is better than your cloud” approach to this problem ie. a vendor adds one specific security feature and tries to use this to get companies to move their data or sensitive data to this solution. Alternatively a company can target one facet of Governance and Control, lets say encryption for example, and build their product and service on this one feature only.
The SME solution takes a more holistic approach to provide governance and control across the whole content estate. It does not try and get you to move your data to it (it’s data agnostic and does not store data) and it does not just work as a silo or offer one feature. It provides an integrated sensible approach to corporate content governance and control:
– It integrates with existing Active Directory or LDAP systems to provide a single-sign-on solution for identity management.
– It provides an encryption service to enable remotely stored data to be encrypted and only accessible with authorization.
– It provides secure file sharing and combines this with pre-set business policies. Files can be password protected and time expired and these can be applied as policies. For example you can choose to set a policy that all files have a 24 hour expiration time and which must require a password for sharing.
– It provides a comprehensive audit log of all file events for all content. For remote file shares it tracks the IP address of the remote users accessing the file.
– It provides GEO Locations restrictions to enable restrict or prevent access. For example if you have an outsource accounting company who require access to a particular folder you could restrict their access to being over a certain IP address and only from a web viewer.
– It has built in Bring Your Own Device controls that allow the setting of per user permissions with regards to web, desktop or mobile device access. It also works with Oracle Mobile Security and OpenPeak Sector in the event the company already has these BYOD controls in house.
– It integrates with what you have providing desktop cloud drives, plug in’s for Microsoft Office and Open Office as well as email plug in’s for file sharing.
Content Management, Cloud Governance and Collaboration is only going to get harder, not easier, as companies embrace new data stores and new applications that store data. To facilitate a productive, accessible, controlled experience the control points simply have to be joined up.by
Document control and management is of vital importance to any organization. If sensitive information is sent outside of your company, once the documents have been sent electronically, control is lost and this can put files you shared at risk. They can be copied or forwarded anywhere in the world, in seconds.
For most businesses, the focus of their attention is on document management and on the organizational workflow and the storage of documents. Companies want to be able to integrate documents into a workflow and store documents in an organized and secure way that still allows documents to be found easily . Where the document is stored can frequently change. It could be SharePoint, it could be FTP, it could be on some external repository etc. Where the security process can fall down is when documents are shared externally or how they are available to be collaborated on.
The proliferation of employees bringing there own devices to work (BYOD and BYOC) and using preferred SaaS applications of their own choosing has led to corporate governance becoming even more of a challenge for those tasked with its enforcement as an increasing number of end users bypass corporate protocol.
Such ‘Shadow IT‘ can pose a significant security risk, as unapproved hardware and software that are used do not undergo the necessary security checks and the storage and dissemination of such documents is outside of corporate control.
Storage Made Easy provides a unified Enterprise File Share and Sync solution, which works with a companies existing private and public data, presenting these files in a unified view.. It enables enterprises to not only securely sync, but also to securely share and work with files, wherever they need to go, even on devices that are beyond IT’s control.
IT benefits from a solution that gives them control, and users benefit as they have automatic access to documents and files from multiple data repositories, with robust security wherever behind the corporate firewall, or using any tablet, smartphone or PC.
Storage Made Easy uniquely provides:
• The ability to view, annotate, edit and sync almost any cloud or private file from almost any storage to any device.
• Internal and external collaboration features to work securely with anyone without losing control of enterprise data.
• Complete audit tracking to ascertain who accessed files, where form, and what action was taken.
• Provides a secure way for the organizations to collaborate with external partners using business workspaces.
• GEO Restrictions – restrict access to documents by IP address and by client. For example let an external sub office only have access to a folder from a specific IP address from the web browser (or any other client you nominate).
• Full Bring Your Own Device Support to restrict access to by employees by device type.
• Sophisticated permissions that unify permissions to different back end document storage and which can also be used with Active Directory or LDAP
• A way to solve the “DropBox” “bring your own cloud” problem be auditing such clouds even when documents are uploaded direct.
• A way to encrypt files stored on remote clouds which a key that is stored behind the corporate firewall this protecting remote sensitive data.
In summary you do not have to choose between a homogenous and restrictive system or a lawless fenzy of different unapproved systems. The Storage Made Easy Enterprise file share and sync solution is storage agnostic. It is compatible with most private or public file sharing cloud data stores allowing users to continue using their preferred cloud storage provider while at the same time converging off-site and on–site private and public data. This allows a centralized point for corporate governance, thus providing a real solution to the Shadow IT and corporate governance problem.by
The recent controversy with regards to Prism and data snooping has brought the security of corporate data to the fore however the biggest threat to corporate data lies not with the corporate nemesis that is Prism but with the number of data leaks that occur every day in companies.
Data is any companies biggest asset and not controlling how corporate data is disseminated is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in your company. Why? Take your pick, Legislative reasons, fraudulent reason, competitive reasons. There are many reasons why not controlling data dissemination could trip your company up.
Companies need to consider how to build an Effective data governance serves ACROSS their enterprise data silos. Doing so will define a cohesive set of parameters for data management, data usage, as well as the ability to create governance processes for a companies internal use, and for their supply chain, which ultimately leads to information assets that are well managed.
In the world of Cloud it is key that Data Governance and data policies work not only with data behind the corporate firewall but also cloud data and cloud services.
So what should you consider as a company to manage your data assets ?
1. Understand what information is sensitive across all data silos, have a federate access control mechanism that works with your user across this private and cloud data silos. Storage Made Easy provides such a federate mechanism to assign and control user permissions and access at a very granular level that overlays one or more data stores.
2. Set policies for data access and enforce them through common tools. For employee sharing of data through tools such as email, make it easy but also set policies that can define expiry time and password protection. Storage Made Easy has plug in’s for Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail that enables productive file sharing across all cloud / private data but which has built in support for policy enforcement.
These policies should also ripple through to the mobile Applications used in a company:
3. Use Cloud Encryption for sensitive data and ensure that you control the private key. See our previous post on encryption and securing data for further information.
4. Audit all your company data. Irrespective of the policies set you should get in the habit of auditing your company data. SME enables the setup of an automated email to a specified user of the previous day file events such as sharing, files updated etc.
5. Set BYOD policies and device access policies that work like your company works. For example, have a contract firm that you gave access to a specific folder ? Then designate that they can only access the folder using a web browser and only from a specific IP address.
Companies need to connect disconnected information to enable corporate governance.by
One of the more interesting trends of the recent developments in Cloud Computing is how we define “What is a storage cloud” . This used to be easy – it was an FTP or a WebDav Server. Even 3 or 4 years ago this was still relatively easy, it was DropBox, or SugarSync or Box etc. Now however, the lines are becoming a little blurry. We are seeing many application services offering the ability to store documents.
For example BaseCamp, the project management service lets you store files as do other project collaboration services, however I doubt any of these services would like to be categorized as “storage”.
SalesForce is another good example. It’s a CRM service right ? Well, yes but it can also be used to store files and in fact it is promoting this ability as a “first class feature” from what was called Chatter but which has now been rebranded to SalesForce Files.
The list of examples are endless Jive, Yammer, Evernote, a plethora of services that offer file storage specific to the use case they satisfy within a company.
Dedicated Applications of this nature provide file storage as a bi-product of their service and for many companies, large and small, policing this sprawl of data is challenging enough without employes doing their own thing with Bring Your Own Cloud.
We believe that this trend will continue to accelerate apace and it is why we at Storage Made Easy have been concentrating on “joining up” these different data stores and providing unification, management and control across what are effectively many independent silos of Applications and Data. The more cloud services that offer ways to Interact with and store files the worse the sprawl gets.
In fact this “joining up” of data sprawl and the reason it is important to get right, and the results of ignoring it, will be a feature of our very next blog post.by
Now that 2012 has drawn to a close and we are in mid January we thought it would be useful to reflect on what we have seen through our own business as trends and pointers, look at some of the things we have done over the course of the last year and finish by looking at what Storage Made Easy brings into 2013.
A key trend for our business was a switch from online personal and SMB clients to more direct channel and corporate clients using our hybrid Appliance. The work we are doing with Huddle on the channel side and Xtime and Finser on the direct side are great examples of this trend. From July our business moved from a model of online Personal / SMB SaaS to Direct Corporate / Channel sales utilising our hybrid on-premise cloud appliance. Pre July the revenue split was 90:10 online SaaS and today the model is 10:90 weighted towards the direct business/channel revenue stream. We see this as a key indication that :
a. Larger companies want to ‘own’ their own data and are focused on making their storage integrate with what they already have such as their existing identity management systems (in many case Active Directory) and existing structured data systems.
b. Companies want to stop staff using un-authorised services and have come to the conclusion that they need to put structures in place to not only prevent this but to offer an alternative.
b. Companies are focused on the data legislation and governance of structured data so that they can track all file events, a mandatory requirement for certain verticals, such as government and healthcare for example.
c. The ability to search across disparate data sets easily and also on the move is becoming more and more important for companies as they try to make productive use of their core corporate asset, their data !
Our Focus for 2013:
Our Focus for 2013 is going to be as follows:
1. Simplifying our pricing proposition. The result of this will be visible over the next few weeks. We have tried to be as flexible as possible with what we provide to users but we find that this can result in users being paralysed by the paradox of choice so we will be making these much easier to understand.
2. Concentrating on formally launching our on-premise cloud Appliance. Having done a limited release launch in 2012, we will be shortly making available the ability to download the Appliance direct from our site.We have spent a fair bit of time re-designing the installation procedure with regards to networking, https keys etc, to make it easy to install and get going. Below is an overview of the Architecture of the SME Appliance.
3. Enabling easy IaaS deployments so that users and companies can easily deploy their own personal or company cloud onto IaaS infrastructures. We already do this for Linode but we will be expanding this to Amazon EC2 (and maybe one other provider we cannot discuss yet) and making the whole process an easier click through process.
We had a great growth year in 2012 and we look forward to continuing that in 2013.