File Sharing is a key part of a companies ability to collaborate and share corporate data, which increasingly can be stored in many disparate services. The purpose of this post is to offer suggestion businesses should consider for their corporate file sharing strategy:
Many business just let employees share files with no control and no checks. This needs a policy. This is the businesses core asset and it needs to be protected and secure. Also, compliance and legislation of data is increasingly becoming important. The business needs to ensure it does not get caught in a compliance trap.
Point 1: Implement a control mechanism for your users. For example Storage Made Easy enables users to share files using links that can be password protected and in which the link can be set to expire. This protects against the user forwarding file. The file link can be set to expire on first download for example or set to download after 24 hours (or any other specified time period). If the file is password protected, even if the file is forwarded by the recipient then the file cannot be accessed unless the password is provided. A control mechanism promotes best practice security management of files and reduces operational risk.
Point 2: Point Solution or not ? Consider whether your strategy should be a point solution or whether it works with your existing data sets. Many vendors may purport to promote managed secure file sharing but often you find you have to move your data to their Cloud to have the solution work for you. Storage Made Easy works with private on-premise data, public cloud data such as DropBox, SkyDrive, Box etc and also with SaaS services such as BaseCamp. This promotes a ‘joined up’ strategy for company file sharing.
Point 3: Integrates with what you have ? Consider whether the solution works how you work so that it does not get in the way of business or productivity. For example Storage Made Easy integrates directly in the desktop as a network drive with simple right click options to share files. This behaviour supports Windows, Mac and Linux. Also integration has been done with other core business productivity tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail to promote easy secure file sharing using links directly from the corporate mail client. Similar integrations exists for core productivity tools such as Microsoft Office and Open Office or Libre Office.
Point 4: Compliance, Compliance Compliance – Compliance is fast catching up with all verticals when it comes to storing and accessing corporate files off site. There is specific industry legislation related to this, such as HIPPA in healthcare and FERPA in education, but there are various legislation proposals being processed at various levels in the USA and EU and it is a safe bet that the ability to track historic file events will become more of a requirement not less of a one. Also for companies, the ability to search against historic file sharing or data access should be just part of an overall joined up corporate security policy.
Point 5: On-Premise, Hybrid or Cloud ? The last point is to do with implementation. You should be able to decide how you manage data or metadata associated with storing files and sharing files. This can be behind the corporate firewall, totally on Cloud., or some combination of both. The key word here is choice.
We’ve added a new Storage Made Easy Chrome extension to the Chrome Web Store. The sole function of this extension is to enable auto-login and launch of the SME Web File Manager for quick access.
The SME Web File Manager is a hierarchical file manager which makes it ideal to deal with large data set and also data from different on-premise or public cloud storage, which are unified in the file tree. A Storage Made Easy Account is needed but a free account can be signed up directly from the extension.
The reason for this extension was to make it a lot easier for users to be able to gain access to the Web Cloud File Manager for one of our business customers who had equipped their salesforce with Chromebook Pixel’s.
The Web File Manager enabled them to have a workflow which included editing and commenting of documents directly from the Chromebook on various clouds that they used which includes BaseCamp and Amazon S3.
The extension can also be used for securely sharing files which include setting passwords on files and/or time expiry.
The web file manager, from a single user perspective provides a very nice way to work with data between cloud providers and even collaborate with other people using Business Group WorkSpaces. For business users it provides a complete collaboration environment between user which includes files editing, file commenting, file versioning and file locking.
For over 2 years now we have had the Public Files page. When users sets a file public from any of the 35+ information Clouds they have mapped to their account then it is displayed on this public files page. Users have always been able to make such files password protected by encrypting the files on upload through our platform, but we have had feedback that what users really wanted was the ability to have any files on this page password protected, whether they were uploaded as encrypted files or not.
We’ve now added this change to the service. To take advantage of it all that needs to be done is to assign a password to the public files page from your Cloud DashBoard after login to the web. This can be set under the “extended options” section (at the bottom of the DashBoard).
Setting files to be public is easy, just right click on the file from the web and choose to make the file public:
Other desktop and mobile clients also enable files to be set as public, as in the Android example below:
Once files are set public they appear on the public files page that each user account has:
These files are also available as an RSS feed that can added to the foot of an email for example, or as a an iPhone App:
Once a file is then accessed when public file sharing is turned on then the user is redirected to a password page when they try to access any file from the public files page:
This feature works across files from any Cloud and indeed Cloud Files from different clouds can be shared and protected from the same page in this way.
Business Cloud File Server users can take advantage of this or turn off file sharing completely for their users.
We recently updated The Windows Phone Cloud File Manager. Features include:
– Instant access to unified Cloud files anytime, anywhere direct from a WP7 device.
– Assign lengthy tasks and operations to the SME Platform Tasks Engine (PTE). Use your phone while tasks are completed in background. Check progress at anytime in cloud tasks.
– Manage multiple Clouds in a single view. Easily move files between different clouds, done in background.
– Advanced Cloud Search feature that can search for files across multiple clouds.
– Unique Cloud Clipboard feature enables file management from different clouds in batches, without downloading & then uploading.
– Unique Direct Upload uploads files from web directly, no need to download and then upload, just enter file address and our servers will upload it in background.
– Open files in the phone in Microsoft Office, MediaPlayer etc.
– Share and collaborate – share files to social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Windows Live, etc.), over email or with users groups.
– Record audio (even with screen locked), take notes and 2-way sync with chosen Cloud(s). No need for another recording App.
– 2-way sync pictures with different Clouds. Integrated with Pictures hub. Pictures can be uploaded (shared) directly from the hub.
We have seen a recent surge in business customers wanting to use the Windows Phone with our Cloud File Server SaaS and hosted hybrid appliance and expect this to continue with the recently announced windows phone business features.