Webinar: Enable your end users to get secure web, mobile and desktop access to Azure Files, Amazon FSx and other SMB File Services.

Join us for this “how to” webinar  which will demonstrate the ability of the Enterprise File Fabric for enabling a secure, audited way for end users to access their native file data including web, mobile and desktop Apps.

Continue reading “Webinar: Enable your end users to get secure web, mobile and desktop access to Azure Files, Amazon FSx and other SMB File Services.”

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CISO Bulletin: Multi-Cloud Authorization With the Enterprise File Fabric™

In a recent post about authentication with the Enterprise File Fabric™  I briefly mentioned authorization and committed to a follow-up post on that topic.  This post explains how the the File Fabric’s authorization features are used to manage user access to directories and their contents on the storage that is attached to the File Fabric.  As we’ll see, the File Fabric can use the groups that are set up in  authentication system to create a unified security structure that spans all storage.  Additionally, for some resources,  the File Fabric can import and use established  user authorizations  and also allow the storage’s native access controls to govern users read and write actions.

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How to Enable Remote Employees to Securely Access On-premises Company Data in Under 1 Hour

Interest in letting employees to work from home has never been higher and will remain high even after the Covid-19 virus has run its course.  For Companies large and small  the key challenge is how to make Company data available remotely in a way that is easy for employees to use without compromising on information security.  The Enterprise File Fabric™ offers an unmatched set of features to support secure remote working.  In this post we’ll see how to set up the File Fabric in less than an hour to provide secure remote access to on-premises data, be that SMB, NAS / SAN or Microsoft DFS shares.  The best part is that data is not copied or removed anywhere, it remains in the same secure place and the File Fabric provides web scale secure access  to it .

Continue reading “How to Enable Remote Employees to Securely Access On-premises Company Data in Under 1 Hour”

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How to securely and productively enable employees to work from home using existing company data with the File Fabric

Remote Working Coronavirus

Remote Working CoronavirusOne of the things the Coronavirus Covid-19 has brought sharply into focus is the topic of employee remote working.  Whether this is to limit the spread of the virus or because employees are self isolating, many companies may find themselves in a position where a significant part of their workforce is working out of the office.

The aim of this post is to outline how the File Fabric software may help companies who wish to prepare or facilitate remote working.

Firstly some background on the File Fabric.  The File Fabric is a secure multi-cloud content management data collaboration solution. It does not provide any storage rather it indexes and works with existing on-premise or on-cloud storage silos. It unites files in these disparate storage platforms to provide a single cohesive way for people to securely work and collaborate.

The File Fabric has a strong ethos and governance and compliance of the data that it indexes and makes available providing event based audit and configurable compliance policies.

There are three ways to use the File Fabric today:

1.  For small businesses from our SaaS hosted platform. This version of the File Fabric does not have all of the features of the enterprise version.

2.  Enterprise Version that is self hosted by a company and can be deployable on-premises or on-cloud.

3.  For free using our self hosted personal version.

Let’s take a looks at some of the challenges and solutions that may be faced by remote workers and how the File Fabric solves them.

Continue reading “How to securely and productively enable employees to work from home using existing company data with the File Fabric”

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Non-Proprietary Storage Workflows for Media Asset Management

Today’s Media and Entertainment workflows can depend on multiple storage types and their associated protocols.  Assets might be delivered via an AWS S3 bucket, Dropbox share, Azure Blob container, proprietary file acceleration vendor, FTP, SFTP, or a host of other new technologies.  Once delivered an asset needs to navigate Hot, Nearline, and Archival storages while being edited, conformed, transcoded, shared, distributed and broadcasted.

While some software vendors have updates allowing access to some of the cloud based storage protocols, other applications remain stuck exclusively on only internal NFS or CIFS access.  When this happens many workflows are downgraded to the lowest common denominator (CIFS/NFS) preventing the use of more cost effective, durable or highly available scale-out storage systems.  Alternatively, a CIFS/NFS gateway might be considered to “convert” protocols.  However, almost all gateways proprietize data and compromise the cost savings of scale-out storage.

The Enterprise File Fabric speaks multiple protocols/APIs, indexes data in-place and can eliminate workflow headaches without proprietizing the data.

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Share Files Securely Using Slack and the Enterprise File Fabric

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool which many teams and organisations already use as a collaboration hub. The File Fabric is a ‘single pane of glass’ fo unstructured file data, be that on-clodu or on-premises and it makes using, sharing, and accessing these files ultra secure. The File Fabric Slack connector brings together the best collaboration hub with the best File hub !

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Replacing the Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) to securely access on-premises DFS or SMB File Shares

Providing remote users with access to on-premises file systems, such as Microsoft DFS or Windows CIFS / SMB shares,  can be a hard task, especially as multiple security layers often exist, like firewalls and VPNs.

Some companies have opted to solve this challenge by deploying the Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) as a bridge to provide users who are remote with access to these on premise systems. The UAG was a software solution, facilitating access to file shares, intranets and corporate systems.

The Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway is now officially deprecated.

Continue reading “Replacing the Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) to securely access on-premises DFS or SMB File Shares”

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Access Microsoft Distributed File System Shares (DFS) from a web browser using the Enterprise File Fabric – Part 2

In part 1, we set up the SME appliance with a Microsoft DFS Storage Provider. Today we will continue the setup, enabling AD user authentication, corporate shares, department shares, and home directories for each user.

Prerequisites

This article assumes you followed along in Part 1 and met the prerequisites there, in addition you’ll need a few more shares configured on your fileserver, and a few users and groups configured in Active Directory.

Continue reading “Access Microsoft Distributed File System Shares (DFS) from a web browser using the Enterprise File Fabric – Part 2”

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Access Microsoft Distributed File System Shares (DFS) from a web browser using the Enterprise File Fabric – Part 1

Access Microsoft Distributed File System Shares (DFS) from a web browserThis blog post will highlight how a company can leverage their existing Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) infrastructure as a part of their cloud strategy. Companies will be able to treat DFS shares as cloud storage and automatically create cloud DFS shares for users based on their DFS home directory.

Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) is a technology that allows multiple servers to host a single file share, providing fault tolerance and performance enhancement for multi-site Active Directory topologies.

Microsoft introduced DFS as an add-on to Windows NT 4.0, and DFS has been included in all versions of Windows since Windows 2000. DFS consists of a server component, included in all versions of Windows Server, and a client component, included in all versions of Windows. It works with the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol (sometimes referred to as Windows networking). The SMB protocol is also more commonly known as the Common Internet File System (CIFS). Continue reading “Access Microsoft Distributed File System Shares (DFS) from a web browser using the Enterprise File Fabric – Part 1”

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How to securely web enable access to CIFS / SMB File Shares

One of the predominant use cases that companies have is to enable file sync and mobile access to file share data that lives behind the corporate firewall without the need for a VPN and without reconfiguring permissions whilst using Active Directory or LDAP for authentication.

In many cases this is done for compliance or security reasons or perhaps because there has been a  large investment in internal storage that has yet to be realised, and of course during the recent Covid-19 pandemic there was a pressing need to enabled such access for remote workers.

Cloud File Server Architecture

Accessing files over CIFS/SMB network over VPN using a mobile network is possible but access can be patchy, clients apps limited and it is often extremely slow.

The File Fabric enables this using its built in CIFS / SMB connector. This blog post will step through how to web enable SMB file shares.

Continue reading “How to securely web enable access to CIFS / SMB File Shares”

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Cloud Computing Use Case: CCTV still images stored on Amazon S3 via FTP

Continuing our theme on Cloud Computing user cases, this one makes use of the SMEStorage CloudFTP protocol adaptor that adds the ability for any Cloud that SME supports to be accessible from the ubiquitous FTP protocol. For this particular use case, we now have had four businesses using SMEStorage as enabler for using S3 via FTP so we thought  it would be useful to highlight.

The use case revolves around CCTV cameras that monitor a property and are configured to take pictures (.jpg files) at either intermittent points and/or on movement detection. Currently 2 of the businesses used sensr.net and two where using FTP from an ISP, but all were looking at Amazon S3 and trying to figure out how to get there images onto S3, given S3 does not support FTP.  

Interestingly they had tried automated scripts and other mechanisms but none had really worked. At this point they discovered CloudFTP which simply adds FTP access to S3 (and any other Clouds SME supports).

Everything is accessed using standard FTP and using standard ports (and secure ports for FTPS).

After registering for a SMEStorage Account, adding their S3 account and then purchasing CloudFTP and then adding the correct FTP configuration to the CCTV hardware, this was done.

A Simple but effective use of the Cloud.

 

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Cloud federation and governance will dominate in 2012

It’s seasonally topical to write a blog post that will draw a close to the old year with some predictions for the New Year, so read on for a post that fits with that trend…

2011 has been an eventful year for SMEStorage. On the business side we have always been a privately owned self funded company. We have never been VC backed and we’re profitable and have needed to be to be self sufficient. To enable us to expand the founders took a decision to raise some money to enable the company to continue to grow and expand the company. To this end Vehera, the owning entity of SMEStorage sold a small amount of equity enabling Vehera to raise a million dollars to fund the companies push for 2012. This will give the ability to add some more staff to enable us to grow the opportunity we see for our technology with ISP’s and the Enterprise.

On the Technology front we continued building out our support for Cloud’s resulting in SMEStorage now supporting over 35 Storage and SaaS Clouds. We also released a native Windows Phone Client,and also the first versions of Mac and Linux Cloud Tools and we enhanced our native browser plug in’s with support for Google Chrome and Safari. We also enhanced our iOS App for iPhone and iPad many times over the course of the year as well as releasing a native Android client for Phones and tablets. In addition to all of this we also improved our core offering with a myriad of new features which included adding protocol adaptors that exposed Clouds mapped to SMEStorage over WebDav, FTP or the Amazon S3 API, even if the underlying Cloud does not natively support these protocols.

So what for 2012, well, firstly we’ll continue to add more services that can be federated and managed. Shortly we’ll be announcing support for SugarSync, and the UbuntuOne Cloud. We’ll also be adding services less traditionally associated with file stores. The first of these will be BaseCamp, which will be followed by some CRM SaaS services and we have in mind another project / collaboration SaaS tool.

We’ll also be adding even more Cloud governance and e-compliance features. If your interested on our take on Cloud Sprawl and governance please see our prior blog post on this subject.

We intend to push out our revised Cloud Appliance in early 2012. This will give any customer the ability to have a hybrid Cloud governance application that deals with Cloud and local data and service federation that they fully control and own. Customers will be able to host this in their own data centre as it will be available as a VMWare, XEN or KVM appliance. As an alternative we intend to enable easy access to an Amazon EC2 based instance. We also intend to make it easy for resellers to get their ands on it and offer it as a value add to their own business.

It’s our firm belief that with the greater adoption of Cloud, and the increasing array of Cloud Services that 2012 will be the year of Cloud Federation and governance as companies struggle to manage and control the Cloud services deployed in their organisation. We believe that with our advanced service features, comprehensive access clients, and Hybrid on-premise Cloud Appliance that we are well placed to help companies who struggle with these issues.

For general predictions, we’ll make just one, and that is that the “free lunch” is coming to an end. In a volatile economy services that offer “free” may look appealing, but all businesses need to make money to survive and free eventually needs to become paid, and companies need a solid business model to survive. Hoping to capitalise at some point on a large user base of free users is not a business plan. There is room for some element of freemium, we use it ourselves, but our belief is that it has to be underpinned by a solid business plan. If you’d like to read more about this, see this post which goes into a little more depth.

All that remains to be said is to wish you all a “Happy New Year” and we hope all your hopes and dreams are realised in the forthcoming year.

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