The Enterprise Storage Podcast | Storage Masters Episode #4: Adapting Business Models over Lockdown.

In this new episode of our series “Storage Masters”, Jim Liddle, CEO of SME, gives an insider talk about the challenges, changes, adaptations and trends that companies have implemented during lockdown when it comes to data and storage management.

 

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CISO Bulletin: The Added Value of a Unified Storage Security Management Interface.

The File Fabric has many features for safeguarding data and we have published articles describing some of them. The point of this brief post, however, is slightly different.  Here I want to discuss how the philosophy behind the File Fabric is as important as any individual feature for protecting enterprise data access.

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The Storage Made Easy® Enterprise File Fabric™ has been updated with a focus on Compliance, Protection and Collaboration

Multi-Cloud is a term that is in vogue now, but Storage Made Easy were one of the very original multi-cloud companies. We have always had a focus on unification of data assets whether on-cloud or on-premise and whether in-storage on in-app.

Having a unified approach to data provides the means in which companies can apply collaboration across data assets in addition to setting common policy for data governance and control to satisfy every increasingly robust compliance regimes.

Today is an exciting day as we announce the General Availability of the next generation of Storage Made Easy’s Enterprise File Fabric application.

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Egnyte we are flattered !

Here at Storage Made Easy we have been touting the benefits of not selling YASS (Yet another storage Silo) and providing an ‘Enterprise File Share and Sync Fabric’ with a single control point / pane of glass for all files within a company for several years now, something that Egnyte cottoned onto and attempted to move its focus to only recently.

This strategy and product focus is the reason SME has connectors to over 50 storage clouds and why we have focused on letting companies install our entire EFSS stack on-premise, on IAAS or in their own data centre.

Continue reading “If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Egnyte we are flattered !”

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Does your Share and Sync handle global file locking and versioning ?

Cloud File LockingAs 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.

Cloud File Locking

Cloud Drive

iOS Locking

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.

Visual File Versioning

Updating file versions

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.

SME Private EFSS

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.

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Cloud Storage Security concerns ? Why Hybrid Cloud offers the best of both worlds

Hybrid Cloud

With the recent celebrity photo scandal fresh in the minds of companies who are either using or anticipating moving to use Cloud questions regarding security, architecture and governance are fair  ones to ask.

Without a doubt cloud computing offers advantages to companies that encompass ease of use, productivity and cost savings, however companies have concerns about if, how and where they store their sensitive data. This is where hybrid cloud can play a part.

What is Hybrid Cloud ? Hybrid Cloud essentially continues to offer businesses all the benefits associated with the public cloud whilst enabling them to continue to have choices of storing certain types of data privately.

The benefits of a hybrid cloud strategy are that it addresses the security concerns of sensitive data whilst offering a dual strategy, unlike a pure private cloud implementation.

The Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Fabric provides such a public / private hybrid cloud solution but takes it a step further in the following ways:

– The File Fabric integrates with many existing private data applications and public cloud solutions. Private data application examples are SMB, CMIS, SharePoint, FTP and NAS/SAN. Public cloud solution examples are Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud Files, Google Storage, Azure Blog Storage, Salesforce etc. The File Fabric does not force you to work with other storage or data that comes with the solution. The File Fabric is storage agnostic and it works with what data sources exist within a company.

integrate clouds

-The File Fabric offers a control point for all corporate data wherever it is stored. As  a control points Storage Made Easy can be configured to audit log all file events which can be exported as an excel file or as Syslog events for use with Business DashBoards. It also enables encrypting of sensitive files through the gateway that reside on public cloud Apps, or the choice of keeping these files entirely private behind the firewall but still accessible. GEO location tracking and restrictions are also built into the platform as is secure file sharing across all data stores enabling a common file sharing policy to be set.

Cloud Control

– The File Fabric provides a single pane of glass into all cloud services  and integrates into corporate identity management systems such asSAML,  LDAP and Active Directory. It can function as a public and private cloud data control point and can also be set to enable users to add their own consumer cloud accounts if this is a company policy, and it can track which corporate documents are moved, or shared, into a users consumer cloud account.

single pane of glass

– More effective governance is provided as the File Fabric not only provides the flexibility and security of the hybrid cloud model, it also provides a cloud control point for existing private data and public cloud data sets.

 

 

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The Top 5 things to Consider for Business File Sharing

20130309-165632.jpgFile 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.

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Storage Made Easy: Reflections on 2012 and looking forward through 2013

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.

Key Trends:

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.

 

 

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