How to make sure your Cloud data does not disappear overnight

If you you’ve been following the IT news recently you probably saw the issue that users recently had with GMail. If not you can read more about it here. Imagine one morning firing up your Android phone or laptop and finding your data was gone!

Of course, this does not just affect email systems. It can affect any cloud service you store data with. Carbonite was another high profile example of data loss, and of course there are many others, and no doubt there will be many more.

So what can you do to prevent such loss? Well, you can backup! Exactly like you do with your laptop. At SMEStorage all users, including free users, can backup their emails to their storage cloud of choice, as long as their email provider supports IMAP, the user can start or schedule a backup and just leave it to complete. An effective solution to a horrible problem should it ever arise.

What about you Cloud data? Well, our Personal Cloud Lifetime and business users can choose to ‘pair’ a backup cloud with a primary cloud. This will instantly schedule a sync of all existing data to a backup cloud, and it will also backup any future data uploaded, giving you total piece of mind that your Cloud data is highly available as a backup copy is stored on another cloud. this could be Amazon S3 and RackSpace for example, or MobileMe to Azure Storage, whatever combination you would like to choose!

If you primary cloud goes down or your data is not available we’ll get it from your backup cloud.

The Cloud does not have to be a dangerous place, just take sensible precautions to protect your data.

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Organisation Cloud File Server Updates

We rolled out some Organisation Cloud updates on our web platform in the last few weeks that are worth highlighting:

Lite File Manage now supports Tags

Our Lite File Manager started life as lightweight alternative to the rich Ajax enabled File Manager. Gradually it has been updated so that it has the same functionality as the Ajax enabled File Manager. Tags is one of the last things to be added, and now that it is there it replicates the functionality of the Ajax based file manager but is much more lightweight:

Ability to make a Folder a Favourite item

Many of our mobile users have long requested the ability to make a Folder a favourite so they could click on ‘Favourites’ and easily navigate to a folder structure or set of files. The first step towards enabling this in the mobile platforms was to enable it in the Web platform and API which is now done. Indeed if you are a mobile user, marking a folder as favourite from the web platform should already show up within the Favourites Menu of each of the mobile Apps.

Organisation Folder permission

An Organisation Folder is a public folder that, when created by the Organisation Cloud Administrator, ripples down for every user so that, for example if the Org Cloud Admin creates a folder called ‘HR’, all users would see this folder and anything it contains. Users, by default, could also post to this folder. Many of you wanted to control the permissions on a per user basis to these folders, and we have now implemented this into the platform. The Org Admin can now  set permissions for individual users of the Org Cloud.

Email attachments and files directly to your Organisation Folder

We recently introduced FileBox that enables user to send emails and attachments to a special folder called FileBox. You can read more about this here. We’ve also added this into The Organisation Cloud so that Org Admin’s can set a special Filebox email address for Organisation Folders enabling users of The Org Cloud to email file attachments directly to an Organisation Folder.

Private Cloud Providers for Organisation Users

One of the biggest updates we have implemented is to enable the Organisation Cloud Admin to control end users ability to add their own File clouds. When is this useful ? Take Google Apps for example. If your Organisation has bought into Google Apps then each of your users will have their own Google Docs account. Your user will want to use their own Google Docs Account, and you may want to implement a separate Google Docs Account to store shared Organisation Files. This is the kind of scenario this caters for. Of course you can also let users add their own private clouds or implement other shared Organisation storage, such as Amazon S3. This feature can be enabled in the My Account->Options tab of the Organisation Admin account.

Enhanced Auditing

We’ve beefed up the file auditing capabilities of the whole Organisation Cloud Platform which enables an Organisation Admin to control exactly what gets audited for each user..  We’ve also added filters and enhanced the export abilities so that you can export logs directly into CSV for example.

File Locking

We’ve added the ability to explicitly lock files. This is useful if a file is being worked upon or edited and you want to make the file unavailable to all other users until this has been done.

We’ve already started to move some of these new features into our desktop and mobile tooling and we will start pushing out some new versions of these soon.

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Integrating Google Docs with Microsoft Office

We have many users who use our OpenOffice plug-in to easily edit and save their files to/from OpenOffice. This is solution is fairly transparent to the end user as the plug-in installs itself as a toolbar option and is very easy to use. There are numerous blog posts outlining how this can be done. As OpenOffice has a plug-ins site the plug-in is fairly easy to find and download and has a reasonable amount of visibility.
What you may not know is that we also have the same plug-in available for Microsoft Office. This also install itself as a Toolbar plug-in and makes editing and saving files / to-from Google Docs just as transparent as its OpenOffice cousin ! The toolbar is free to download, and a Google Docs account is free to register.  The short video below shows how the easy the solution is to work with.

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Google Docs Cloud package changes – Interoperability between Google Docs and Zoho Docs

We have changed some of the features in our Google Docs cloud beta. Google Docs enables you to upload files of any type, but for files it supports, such as office files it can enable you to edit these in Google Docs. To enable this to occur Google converts the document and then if you want it back into a .doc format or something else it enables you to export it. However, formatting can be lost when Google converts such documents as Google does not recognise all word processing formatting. If you just store the documents as a file however then you cannot edit these documents in Google Docs. You are just using it as a storage repository.

As different users want to do different things we have enabled you to have a choice as to how you want to store your documents with Google. You can choose to convert the document when it is loaded to Google or you can choose not to. You can edit the default behaviour from:

My Account->Providers and choose the Google Docs provider.

Here you can choose to change the behaviour as to whether it converts or not. The default is that it does not.

If the document is unconverted you can edit it in Zoho Docs direct from SMEStorage and save it back unconverted to Google Docs. You can do this as many times as you wish. As it is unconverted you cannot edit it in Google Docs however.

If you choose to convert the document on upload then you will be able to edit the document in Google Docs. You will also be able to edit it in Zoho from SMEStorage. There is however one glitch or bug. You can edit it in Zoho from SMEStorage one time only. After this it can be edited in Google Docs but if you download the document from SMEStorage you are unable to open it in MS Office. You are also unable to edit it in Zoho for a second time. You can however choose to export the document to word from the Google Docs web interface and it will open in MS  Office fine. It seems this is a Google Docs API issue for documents saved to Google Docs from Zoho. We are pursuing a workaround to this which we hope to have in place early next week that will remove this issue so that there will be full interoperability between Zoho and Google even if the document is converted. Once resolved we will issue another post.

UPDATE: The above issue is now resolved and you can now have convert on for Google Docs upload and then edit documents with Zoho, and you will then be able to re-edit them in Zoho, edit them in Google Docs, and also download from SMEStorage in the correct format.

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