Archive for the ‘EFSS’ Category

Some Key Differences Between VDI and DaaS

In the quest for desktop virtualization, the two main options open to organizations are virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (Daas). With our growing dependence on computers and Internet-based applications, more and more organizations are opting for desktop virtualization from schools to finance companies, government agencies, and even hospitals. There are many advantages of virtual desktops including improving efficiency, lowering costs, and providing better customer service. It also supports the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

In this blog post, we’ll highlight some key differences and similarities between them so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your establishment.

Differences between VDI and DaaS

Both VDI and DaaS allow you to access your desktop from a remote location. However, they are very different in how they are set up and operated.

The Set Up

To set up a VDI platform for your organization, you need to create a server in your data center. You’ll also need to install a VDI software on the central computer in your data center. Once that is done, you can deploy your VDI platform, and everyone on the network can access it – provided they have the proper login credentials.

On the other hand, you don’t need to set up a server and datacenter to use DaaS. Instead, you need to signup to a company that provides DaaS. Essentially, DaaS is the same as VDI in terms of functionality and remote access to your desktop.

Accessibility

The main downside of using DaaS is that you need the internet to access your virtual desktop. Your connection to your DaaS platform is relayed over the web. However, lack of internet connectivity does not affect an in-house VDI setup especially if you are connected to the server.

Maintenance

You generally need a dedicated in-house IT team if you plan to create an in-house VDI platform. There is a lot of things involved in the process including managing the software and hardware used to deploy the virtual desktop as well as troubleshooting potential issues that users may encounter. The process of setting up an in-house VDI platform can be costly. You need a powerful device in your data center as well as your VDI software and a good IT team to run everything. However, thanks to advancements in the sector, both small and big establishments can create an in-house VDI platform today.

As indicated above, with DaaS you do not create the virtual desktop but instead, subscribe to a company that provides this service over the internet. But this does not mean that you do not need an IT department to run your DaaS. However, they’d be doing less work compared to running an in-house VDI service. For example, some DaaS platforms come with only basic apps that you’ll find on a device. Therefore, you need IT experts to set up and maintain all the apps that people on the network will need.

Cost

On the surface, it appears that subscribing to a DaaS provider is a more affordable option than creating an in-house VDI. But that is not necessarily the case. Most DaaS providers charge based on the number of users that you have on the platform (i.e., the more users you have, the higher the subscription fee that you’ll have to pay). So, while the upfront cost may be low, it can climb over time as your organization grows.

The story is completely different for setting up an in-house VDI platform. Although the upfront cost will be high, that’s about it. You can add as many people to the network as required without having to spend on anything else apart from perhaps upgrading your hardware and paying for your IT staff working hours.

Control

You invariably have more control over an in-house VDI than you do over a DaaS platform. One of the reasons why this is important is security. The recent spate of hacking incidents has forced many organizations to tighten their security protocol. The fact that DaaS is deployed over the internet makes it susceptible to hackers. DaaS service providers have a lot of security measures in place to prevent any potential data breach, but there are no guarantees.

With an in-house VDI platform, you have complete control over the network, and you can implement the best security measures to protect your data. The fact that the VDI is usually accessed by people connected to a server automatically makes it less open to unauthorized access.

How FileCloud can Help

If you are using VDI, FileCloud can be useful. We provide all the tools that you need to make the most of your virtual desktop. You can integrate FileCloud with your server.

The following are some of the benefits of choosing FileCloud:

Customization: FileCloud allows you to customize all aspects of your virtual desktop with your company’s brand. You can even select a different language for the platform.

Collaboration and Content Management: We provide a range of tools to support seamless collaboration and content management. This includes the ability to share files, add metadata and search for files, access and sync files on different devices, access to activity log on each file, smart notifications when a file is changed, custom workflows and much more. FileCloud even supports Microsoft Office apps like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel as well as PDF and DICOM files.

Security: FileCloud provides full security for your virtual desktop platform including encryption, ransomware protection, two-factor authentication, and more.

Administrator Tools: FileCloud gives you administrator access over your virtual desktop. You can manage all connected devices, restrict access to specific files, remotely wipe devices, recover deleted files, and much more.

Conclusion

The underlying similarity between VDI and DaaS is that they both provide you with remote access to a desktop. One is not necessarily better than the other. The option to select depends on your needs (i.e., the size of your organization and what the virtual desktop will be used for). It should be stated that DaaS is relatively newer than VDI. Some tech experts have expressed some apprehension about DaaS since it is a rapidly evolving field. The fact is that DaaS would not replace VDI anytime soon. Both platforms are likely to exist side-by-side for years to come.

Author : Rahul Sharma

Why Online File Sharing and Collaboration is Important for Enterprises

Every organization is built on teamwork. The ability to share files, collaborate, and communicate smoothly is crucial for all the processes in the workplace. In the past, sharing files and collaborating was often time-consuming and costly. However, with advancements in modern technology, it has never been easier to share files and collaborate. Today, all you need is a few clicks to get things done. No need to waste paper printing out files or wait for several hours or even days for the courier to deliver documents.  The fact is that technologies like cloud storage and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have completely changed how things are done in the workplace. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of online file sharing and collaboration for enterprises.

Cut Costs

Online file storage and sharing allows companies to reduce administrative costs. With platforms like FileCloud, there is no need to invest in large hard discs, an internal server, and other related infrastructure. You do not also need to pay couriers to deliver files to clients or colleagues at a different location. The best part is that there are cloud solutions for every type of enterprise – whether it is a small startup or a major multinational. This means companies can focus their investment on other pressing needs that will increase efficiency and productivity.

FileCloud has a flexible pricing structure to suit all businesses. You can choose to opt for our cloud storage platform or our VDI solution. Whichever option you choose, you will benefit from some of the best and most affordable online cloud storage and sharing tools available today. For example, we allow you to create free accounts for your clients and external partners so you can share documents with them securely.

Seamless Collaboration

One of the main advantages of online file storage and sharing is that collaboration is smooth. You can share files instantly, access information quickly, and avoid any unnecessary delays. That’s not all; you can work from anywhere and collaborate in real time with people in any part of the world. Today, physical location does not have to be an impediment in the quest to build the best team in your workplace. Workers can perform their duties from anywhere as though they are physically present at the office. This goes a long way to improve the overall efficiency of an organization.

FileCloud provides a variety of tools to promote seamless collaboration. For example, you can restrict access to specific files so they can only be viewed but not edited or printed. You can also leave comments on files to keep your colleagues abreast. You can even choose to receive notifications when a file or folder is changed and also automate some processes using the If This, Then That protocol. These are just a few of the tools for collaboration that you enjoy when you choose FileCloud. Some other FileCloud features that support collaboration include unlimited integration with Microsoft Office as well as unlimited file versioning so you can roll back to avoid losing anything.

Security

Security has always been a headache for businesses, and it continues to be a problem in modern times. Online file sharing and can go a long way to reduce the security loopholes that exist in organizations. Since all your company’s files are stored in one place, it reduces the chances that careless employees can leak sensitive files to the wrong hands. The fact is that not all online file storage and sharing platforms provide the same level of security. Many cloud storage solutions like Dropbox have been victims of cyber-attacks. This is why you must choose a trusted platform like FileCloud.

At FileCloud, we understand the importance of security, so we provide full protection for your files. This includes encrypting your files in storage and during transit, scanning files to detect ransomware, and allowing you to integrate FileCloud with any enterprise anti-virus solution. You can also restore accidentally deleted files, restrict access to some files, and remotely wipe any company data from a device that is lost.

Managing Projects

Online file sharing and collaboration makes it easier than ever to manage projects. Since all your company files are stored in one place, you can check on the progress of your team and help them along. Also, you can instantly communicate with members of the team. All this means that your company can consistently meet deadlines – even if you are working remotely.

FileCloud provides everything you need to organize your workers and ensure projects get completed on-time. You can check on who worked on each file, what changes the person made to the file, and even the type of device used and the location of the person. With FileCloud, you never have to get behind on deadlines and disappoint your clients.

No Hassle during Auditing

Managers often dread auditing because it involves having to search for documents. However, with online file storage and sharing, you do not have to worry about that since there is a trail of each document. What’s more, since all your company files are stored in one place, accessing them is straightforward.

The FileCloud platform is HIPAA, FINRA, FIPS 140-2 and GDPR compliant. You can access a full audit log of each file. You can also search through your company database for files using metadata or keywords from the document.

Conclusions

These are just some of the benefits of online file sharing and collaboration. Ultimately, it levels the playing field for large and small enterprises and allows them to be more competitive. FileCloud is the number one solution for online file sharing and collaboration. Our award-winning platform is built with the latest technology to give you an unparalleled experience. Whether you want cloud services or a high-tech VDI platform, FileCloud is your best bet. We do not only provide you the best tools, but also 24/7 support.

Author : Rahul Sharma

How VDI Can Benefit a Small Business

The business world is more competitive than ever today. While the internet creates a level playing, it also exposes both small and large companies to the same issues in terms of security and productivity. Contrary to what some may think, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can benefit small businesses in multiple ways. As a small business owner, if you believe VDI is costly and complicated, then you’re still living in the past. At FileCloud,
the #1 file collaboration platform for VDI, we have flexible pricing packages to suit both small and large businesses. What’s more, we go to great lengths to make your migration to VDI as smooth and straightforward as possible.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some reasons why small businesses need to consider moving to a File collaboration platform for VDI .

1. VDI is Less Expensive

Shifting to VDI allows small businesses to save money in different ways. Let’s look at a scenario. Imagine a software development startup with about 20 employees. Typically, the management of such a company would have to purchase hardware and software for the employees to do their work. Remember, for the employees to do a good job, they need high-quality apps and devices, which can be quite expensive. Not to mention the time it would take IT staff to have all these devices setup, frequently update them and troubleshoot problems. All this adds up to more cost.

With VDI, the management of such a company can slash their cost drastically. First, instead of buying multiple copies of the same apps for employees to use, the company needs just one copy of each app. Also, instead of getting a device for each employee, only one powerful device is required for the data center. Once the apps are installed on the device in the data center, everyone has access to them. And employees can be encouraged to bring their own devices to work without compromising on security. But that’s not all, with VDI, your IT staff spend less time doing the same thing over and over again. Instead of installing and updating apps on different devices, all this is done once at the data center and everyone in the organization benefits from it.

2. VDI Supports Flexibility

The modern workplace has changed drastically over the past few decades. Today, you can work from anywhere – from your home, a coffee shop a few blocks from your office or even thousands of miles away on another continent. This has gone a long way to boost productivity. However, it has also led to some challenges. For example, how do you ensure that your workers are not using a compromised network connection? Also, how do you ensure that everyone you employ uses the same apps for uniformity and easy collaboration? Well, the answer is VDI.

VDI does not only protect you from the security risks associated with allowing your employees to work from anywhere, but it also guarantees that they have all the apps they need. What’s more, you can perform vital updates right from your data center. With VDI, you can run a completely virtual workplace and still enjoy the same security and collaborative advantages as companies that have a physical workplace. After all, outsourcing is very important for small businesses. But it is not just about allowing your employees to work from anywhere, VDI allows your workers to use any device of their choice – a laptop, desktop, tablet or even a phone!

3. VDI Gives You a Competitive Advantage

To succeed in the fast-paced world today, you need to respond to opportunities and challenges quickly, but this is not always possible. VDI gives small businesses a competitive advantage by allowing you to collaborate easily and serve your clients better. Since your workers have all the apps they need to work at any time, they can get their job done faster. FileCloud has various tools to support collaboration including allowing you to receive notifications when files are changed and supporting custom workflows to automate specific processes.

VDI also reduces downtime and prevents accidents from holding up your work. How many times have we heard about a project getting paused momentarily because someone’s device got spoilt and it has to be fixed before the work can continue since it contains all the files? You never have to deal with this ever again if you move to VDI. This is because the files and apps are stored at the data center. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with such unforeseen delays. Ultimately, VDI allows you to provide the best service to your clients and beat the competition.

4.  VDI Means Better Security

Hacking is one of the biggest security threats of this era, and small companies are not exempted. One of the best ways to guarantee security in your company is to use VDI. For starters, you don’t have to worry about a malware attack once you have reliable updated antivirus software installed on the computer in your data center. Typically, companies rely on each worker to install and update the antivirus on their devices, but we all know that not everyone does it. Some may forget, some may not prioritize security so much, and some may not even know how to go about it. But why leave the safety of vital data in the hands of your workers when you can guarantee it is safe at all times with VDI? When you choose a file collaboration platform for VDI like FileCloud, you are protected at all times whether your employees are working remotely or at the office. We encrypt your files both at rest and while in transit. We also provide ransomware protection and support integration with your antivirus software.

VDI does not only provide security by preventing unauthorized access, but it also prevents data loss. FileCloud allows you to backup and restore your files quickly.

Conclusion

It is clear that small businesses can benefit from VDI just as much as large corporations. At FileCloud, we understand that every company is different. Therefore, we strive to provide you a solution that meets the peculiar needs of your business; from allowing you to choose how you want to host your files to allow you to customize and manage your VDI platform as you want, we ensure that our solutions are tailor-fitted for the problems your business is facing. 

Author: Rahul Sharma

The Limitations of SaaS Vendor Back-up

The modern enterprise is adopting new solutions in order to reduce costs. Most of them are leaning towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, to utilize the clouds unique ability to proselytize strong, collaborative work environments. Forrester recently forecasted that the SaaS market with expand to $157 billion by 2020. This ballooning growth in SaaS usage will engender a pro rata increase in the migration of customer data, from on-premises to the cloud. Considering the sensitive and critical nature of customer related business data, the need to secure cloud data has never been more apparent.

Despite the fact that cloud services may provide high degrees of availability and resilience, they rarely meet all the back up and recovery needs for most organizations. Nonetheless, infrastructure and operations decision makers still sent sensitive data to SaaS vendors without any plan for guaranteeing data resiliency. In a data driven world, data loss constitutes a nightmare for any organization. Whether it’s as a result of accidental deletion, natural disaster, equipment failure or a cyber attack, it will lead to disruption and a subsequent loss of business opportunities. Don’t leave any room for data loss, proactively protect cloud data before it’s too late. Below are some of the limitations of SaaS backup and recovery.

They Can’t Protect You from Yourself

Human error continues to be a leading cause of data loss from SaaS applications – not data corruptions, hardware failures, or complex security breaches, but mistakes employees make whilst doing their work. Accidental deletion can be particularly problematic if the user doesn’t immediately notice the deletion and the data ages out of their trashcan. Human error may also take the form of accidentally overwriting business information with incorrect data. Preventing sync errors is nearly impossible when you’re importing data from an application or synching a device – something that most SaaS providers cannot reverse in their platform since they are impelled to execute your requests and can’t determine if the request was malicious or accidental. Humans can’t be predicted or completely eliminated, it’s up to you to curb the risk of user-driven data loss by backing up your SaaS data.

You Are Still Vulnerable to Hackers

Unauthorized access or malicious attacks by hackers remains the focal point of concern for companies since it results in radical data alteration and even permanent data deletion. Criminals typically target on premise systems, but ransomware and other forms of malware also affects data in SaaS applications. There are limited recovery methods and options in the event this occurs. The valuable data you store in SaaS applications can be irrevocably lost to the efforts of a hacker, unless a secure solution is put in place to back it up and restore it.

They Are the Single Point of Failure

While SaaS providers tout built in high availability capabilities, it’s hard to ignore murphy’s law – if anything that can go wrong, it will. An unforeseen, protracted SaaS outage can paralyze your business. Unless you have a plan in place to handle such a predicament, you will likely loose access to your data. In such a scenario the onus may entirely fall on you. Most SaaS providers have SLAs that stipulate they can’t be held accountable for lost revenue, indemnifying them from any liability when it comes to business interruptions. I&O leaders have to proactively mitigate such risks instead of waiting for the loss to occur. In order to secure the business, ensure you are well informed about your SaaS vendor’s backup policies and work with a cloud-to-cloud back vendor to backup critical data.

You Are Not Guaranteed Recovery

Since a SaaS vendor is incapable of detecting genuine data loss, it does not accept responsibility for user data. This means that while the preponderance of SaaS offering have powerful methodologies for the backup and restoration of data within their aforementioned scope of responsibility, they may fail to make this technology available to their customer. Additionally, data retention policies may not be sufficient since there are limitations when it comes to deleted data, recoverable data, and legal holds. Deleted items are only stored for a specific length of time, once that time has elapsed, the data is forever lost. Data recovery from SaaS apps could take anywhere between minutes and weeks. Furthermore, end-users may not have full control over which data is recoverable. In some situations, it’s all or nothing, while in others data has to be manually restored into the application.

Author: Gabriel Lando

Cognitive Search: A New Generation of Enterprise search

Enterprise search
A lot of organizations have begun making significant investments in digital transformation in order to fill their operational gaps. One of the areas seeing this transformation is search, mainstream search is broken. Data volumes are growing at an exponential rate – the digital world is expected to create 163 zettabytes of data in 2025, a 10x increase compared to 2016. The concern for a lot of companies will be making information easily accessible to employees and customers. Employees already spend too much time searching for content. According to one study, knowledge workers spend 20 percent or more of their day searching for relevant and timely content. Employees should have the ability to find information, and gain insight, via a spoken question, an image, a natural language text input, or virtually any other way that feels intuitive and natural. Traditional enterprise search functions have shortcomings that make it difficult or at times impossible for users to find the information they seek. Modern, machine-learning based search is capable of transforming the way employees find answers and gain insights. This approach is commonly referred to as ‘cognitive search’, an increasingly powerful way to handle the data and knowledge-sharing challenges that modern enterprises commonly face.

Cognitive search is radically transforming the process of retrieving files. Search has now transcended basic keyword matching; it has evolved to become ‘cognitive’ – the ability to provide relevant answers to natural language questions. Manually searching for documents and files within enterprise systems is declining. Large enterprises have begun showing a dire inclination towards this disruptive technology. With all the hype around cognitive search and artificial intelligence (AI) in general, it’s seemingly difficult to grasp how to actually apply these new technologies to improve the workplace. Having a basic understanding of cognitive search and how it relates to traditional enterprise search is the first step towards establishing an effective cognitive search system and setting it up for ongoing growth.

Enterprise Search Vs Cognitive Search

In a recent brief, Forrester, research firm, defined cognitive search as – “the generation of enterprise search solutions that utilize AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to ingest, understand, organize, and query digital content from several data sources”. Cognitive software mimics human behavior like perceiving, inferring, reasoning, and making hypotheses. And when coupled with advanced automation, these systems can further be trained to perform judgment-intensive tasks. Enterprise platforms with cognitive computing abilities are capable of interacting with users in a natural manner. With time, they can learn user behavioral patterns and preferences. This allows them to establish links between related data from both external and internal sources.

The major drawback of traditional enterprise search is that information is typically poorly defined and datasets are dispersed across multiple systems. Although it allows for in-depth indexing, tagging and keyword implementation, this is not always sufficient when making data based decisions. Cognitive search fills in the gaps, and augments what enterprise search is capable of doing.

Cognitive search offers the potential for phenomenal improvements in the efficiency, relevance, and accuracy of insight discovery. While some may view cognitive search as simply traditional search augmented by artificial intelligence and machine learning, there is actually a complex combination of capabilities that distinguishes, and makes it superior to traditional enterprise search. Cognitive search transcends search engines to amalgamate a vast array of data sources, along with avant-garde tagging automation, greatly improving how an organization’s employees find, discover and access the information they require to complete their tasks.

Most of the design elements used to build enterprise search can be utilized as the foundation for implementing cognitive search. While enterprise simply locates the data, cognitive applies user analytics to it in order or enhance understanding while also unearthing deeper trends that may have otherwise been missed.

The Impact of Cognitive Search

The workflow of an estimated 54 percent of global information workers is interrupted a few times or more per month, when trying to get access to answers, insights and information. Cognitive search can shift that paradigm by extracting the most relevant piece of information from large sets of varied and intricate data sources. According to the Economist, while content doubles every 90 days, 80 percent of the content information workers rely on for core revenue generation activities remains unstructured. This dramatic growth of unstructured content has become a challenge for several enterprises.

With cognitive search, knowledge worker searching internal systems are more likely to find the information they need. Customers looking through a company’s website can more easily find answers to their queries online. From a customer service and marketing perspective, this is a huge plus since it directly translates to a reduction in call center volumes while increasing overall customer satisfaction. Like humans, cognitive systems learn on the job, as more information is made available to them. That’s excellent news, given the rate at which the digital universe is growing each year.

Most companies are already using cognitive applications to target marketing campaigns; however, cognitive search is yet to be widely adopted. This is starting to change, as NLP – which previously required complex hardware, approaches mainstream appeal, primarily via the cloud. Cognitive search will likely have a greater impact on enterprise operations.

 

Author: Gabriel Lando
image courtesy of freepik.com

10 File Sharing Commandments

 

 

If you keenly reviewed all cloud services and their corresponding impacts on enterprises, EFSS would arguably be among the top revolutionary solutions. Before enterprises discovered it, the business scene was nothing close to what it is today.

With 21.3% of employees struggling to search and locate files even on standard PCs, productivity was an issue for both large and small businesses. Of course, this seemed normal then. But, if you analyzed the whole setup in retrospect after application of EFSS, you’ll notice major inefficiencies in both time and resource use.

Finding a single file, on average, took 18 minutes. This translates to half a day dedicated to searching and retrieving information for every worker. So essentially, a week or 5 working days would actually be two and half days of actual task handling, while the rest would be devoted to mining and distributing data.

Although cloud-based file sharing took some time to catch up, it has largely been a welcome tool in all types of enterprises. It’s now possible to coordinate information between a client in Chicago and a worker based in London.

Due to varying needs, file sharing solutions have since diversified, and businesses are now able to choose from multiple alternatives. While some are simply alternatives to distributing information online through FTP, others are used in tandem with third-party solutions to provide a collaboration suite that collectively facilitates file editing, review, versioning, approval, commenting and sharing.

Currently, an average business is utilizing 171 collaboration apps and 57 file sharing solutions. The proponents of this system claim that it helps enterprises capitalize on the services’ individual strengths. But the truth of the matter is that such a myriad of similar apps introduces complications in the overall IT infrastructure. Besides triggering increased security vulnerabilities, it misaligns the database architecture with enterprise goals.

So, to help you achieve effectual and secure file sharing, here are 10 critical rules your organization should follow:

  1. Maintain Simple Permissions

Of course, you can develop tens of groups to manage shared files by granting distinct permissions at separate levels. While this is arguably much more secure, it complicates the whole structure for all employees, occasionally resulting in immense inefficiencies.

Instead of this system, consider using a much simpler approach that helps shared file owners figure out their way around the system as they share the files. Otherwise, they may end up blindly sharing files with unauthorized users.

  1. Take Advantage of Security Groups

Most organizations are composed of several departments, each with its own group of employees handling similar tasks. They keep sharing the same types of files back and forth in their regular work duties. While each individual uses a distinct user account, employees in one department typically have the same level of security clearance.

So, instead of repeatedly going through all the files to award individual user permissions, do this at the security group level. A set of users in the same security group will have similar file permissions across the board.

  1. Give Security Groups Descriptive Names

If you belong to a large organization, you could end up dealing with tens or hundreds of security groups. Recalling individual permissions, therefore, becomes challenging, forcing you to repeatedly waste time to review several groups’ privileges each time you need to add a new user or restructure the system.

A thoughtful way to work around this would be awarding names that describe each group’s permissions. This gives you a direct mapping of individual privileges, consequently making life much easier.

  1. Define Respective Hierarchy Levels

Only governmental organizations award distinct hierarchy levels to each employee at the recruitment stage. Others mostly operate under assumed levels, consequently complicating the whole process of awarding file permissions.

So make an appointment with the human resource department to define respective hierarchy levels for each user. The resultant structure should subsequently be approved by the company executives before final implementation.

  1. Know How To Establish Effective Permissions

Establishing the organization structure and the corresponding hierarchy level for each employee is one thing. Interpreting this and awarding requisite permissions is a separate process altogether. It could be very confusing, especially at the lower half, where multiple users may be on the same level but with separate job duties.

To effectively establish requisite permissions for each user, compare the hierarchy with respective job duties and descriptions. This should help you determine security clearance levels that should be mirrored by the permissions.

  1. Avoid using The Everyone Group

In most systems, the Everyone group comes with full file control permissions by default. Therefore, to avoid potential multiple security vulnerabilities, avoid using the group. Instead, use an authenticated users group for universal file sharing.

  1. Create a Global Deny Group

Although it may be rare, you may occasionally need to quickly block off a user from all the resources in the system. However, this may not be so simple especially if you have multiple servers and numerous file shares, with many users awarded permissions for randomly scattered files.

With a global deny group, however, you’ll be able to conveniently deny resource access across the board by simply adding a user.

  1. Establish Full Time Permission Policing

With time, group administrators with senior privileges may start modifying shared file permissions and end up granting too many users full control. While this may be done to help others users share files freely, it substantially increases the risk of a potential breach.

So you may need to actively police permissions you’ve awarded by keeping track of them through a spreadsheet.

  1. Have an Emergency Response Strategy

Even with a solid security framework, it’s impossible to guarantee 100% safety of the data. You have to be prepared for a possible infiltration or data loss by developing an effective emergency response strategy.

A good way to do this is maintaining real-time backups, complete with shared file permissions on separate servers.

  1. Give Users Shortcuts To Shared Resources

All things considered, the primary reason why organizations are leveraging EFSS is the allure of improved efficiency. Instead of leaving it off at shared resources, you could make access easier for users by giving them centrally managed shortcuts.

 

Conclusion

Your ability to follow through with these guidelines ultimately depends on your EFSS user friendliness and overall features. Get in touch with us today to take advantage of a well-designed interface and extensive system features.

 

 Author: Davis Porter

10 Things To Consider While Evaluating an Enterprise File Sharing Solution

 

 

Going by recent trends in the EFSS ecosystem, it would be safe to conclude that technologies are progressively evolving and getting more complicated. There are now many vendors with numerous complex offerings, plus a myriad of tools to power different enterprise functionalities. While some have specialized in certain processes, other solutions come with multi-layered features. Only a handful are flexible enough to cater to almost any business model.

And that explains why most organizations are now relying on multiple services from separate vendors. The average enterprise is now leveraging 1,427 different cloud services, and the average employee is typically running 36 distinct services at their workplace. And that includes using separate file sharing solutions simultaneously.

Pretty solid, and some may argue that variety is the way to go. But, while it may have its benefits, one major disadvantage overshadows it all. It essentially beats the whole logic of optimizing enterprise efficiency. 30-45% of the resources dedicated to such solutions is ultimately wasted, and organizations fail to achieve an effectual central system that is adequately aligned with their core operations.

That leaves CIOs with only one option- adopting a single comprehensive enterprise file sharing solution, and subsequently implementing it across their entire organizations. Well, the major downside to this process is the fact that may not be a simple undertaking. Choosing a solution itself could prove to be a nightmare because, as we’ve previously mentioned, the industry is now quite extensive.

A poor Enterprise File Sharing Solution could set you back. A perfectly suitable one, on the other hand, will substantially boost all your operations. And we know what this means in the enterprise world, right?

So, to help you in the selection process, here are 10 factors you should prioritize on when selecting:

 

  1. Delivery Model Flexibility

Functionality flexibility is undoubtedly one of the main, if not the chief reasons why organizations are shifting to EFSS. So it makes no sense going for a service that is cannot be easily upscaled and downscaled

 

Review your organizations projected growth, and extrapolate it to include computer resources. Then subsequently compare this with different services, and focus on solutions that can effortlessly adapt to changing needs in real time.

 

  1. Certifications and Standards

EFSS solutions that adhere to recognized quality and standard guidelines demonstrate a distinct compliance with industry best practices. This is basically one of the most reliable ways to identify the safest bets you can proceed with.

 

For example, if you’re particularly concerned about security, you might want to check out providers accredited with renowned certifications like ISO 27001.

 

  1. Vendor Lock-In, Migration Support and Exit Planning

How is the EFSS suited to your current processes? How easy is it to transfer files and integrate it into your organization?

 

Even when the EFSS offers adequate migration support, you should additionally factor in vendor lock-in and exit planning. Consequently, you’ll be able to eliminate services that could prove to be problematic in case you may prefer to switch to a competitor solution in the future.

 

  1. Performance and Reliability

For a service that the entire organization will run on, you definitely cannot afford to compromise on performance and reliability.

 

To evaluate this, review providers’ SLAs for the last 6-12 months. And since downtime affects even the industry leaders, the subsequent reactionary measures should also count. Proceed only with a service provider who has implemented and adequately documented proven disaster management measures.

 

  1. Automation

Automating mundane and routine tasks substantially minimizes manual intervention, which ultimately boosts system and overall enterprise efficiency.

 

So it’s advisable to not only review EFSS according to functions that can be automated, but also the flexibility of the entire automation process. An ideal service should allow automation adjustments in line with your specific system architecture.

 

  1. Pricing Structure

For an industry that is exponentially growing, you’d expect competition to regulate the  pricing of EFSS. But, surprisingly, many providers are still way off the mark.

 

Compare different services and proceed with one that is reasonably priced, with costs that are only derived from specific features you leverage. And remember, reasonable pricing doesn’t necessarily mean cheap.

 

  1. Security

Compared to previous years, the number of CIOs worried about cloud security is reducing, with 25% as of 2017. But, it still remains the number one concern, despite upcoming revolutionary security features.

 

To guarantee the safety of your organization’s data, choose a service that extends past the standard server encryption and point-to-point SSL encryption.  Military grade double factor encryption, for instance, would be excellently suitable for sensitive data.

 

  1. Server Location

Each country has its own set of legislation on data governance. In the US, for example, the Patriot Act grants the federal government adequate powers to fully access any data if it’s considered relevant to national security.

 

In addition to ensuring that a service provider is transparent enough to disclose server location, choose an EFSS whose servers are governed by laws that wouldn’t be detrimental to your organization.

 

  1. Simplicity

The concept of cloud and enterprise file sharing is fairly complicated. But that shouldn’t be translated to basic service functionalities.

 

Even when it’s holistic with an extensive range of features, a good EFSS service should come with a simple interface that can be figured out within minutes by an average employee. The CIO should also be able to adequately comprehend the whole architecture and integration process. This not only minimizes training costs, but also eases adoption and reduces the chances of problems in future.

 

  1. Data Control

This may seem obvious and pretty straightforward at the beginning, but keenly reviewing SLAs from numerous service providers might reveal some shocking details on data control. Some of them do not explicitly grant exclusive data control rights. Your data, for instance, may be retained within some EFSS servers after deleting and migrating to a competitor service.

 

Therefore, it’s critically important to understand how your data will be managed and corresponding user rights. The most suitable solution, of course, should be one that completely respects data privacy by granting you full data control privileges.

 

Conclusion

Using these evaluation factors, a good place to start would be Filecloud. Feel free to get in touch for any clarifications about our enterprise file-sharing services.

 

 

Author: Davis Porter

10 Ways To Minimize Enterprise File Sharing Risks

 

 

If RightScale’s report on the state of the cloud in 2017 is anything to go by, the year 2016- for the first time in recent years- saw other cloud concerns surpass security. 32% of the IT professionals surveyed were particularly worried about the lack of relevant resources/expertise, compared to 29% who still considered security as the primary problem.

A year later, in 2017, concerns surrounding security went down further, and so did other worries. Now tying with managing cloud costs and lack of resources/expertise, cloud security is still a concern among 25% the professionals.

The significant reduction is evidently due to substantially improved cloud security systems coupled with fewer reports of large-scale data breaches. That notwithstanding, a quarter of IT experts are still worried about security, and that’s a considerably large portion.

According to a 2017 study by IBM and Ponemon on the cost of data breaches, they have every reason to be concerned. The average organizational, per capita data breach costs, are now at an all-time high of $225. Consequently marking a growth rate of 61% in just 10 years, primarily due to the fact that many organizations are exceedingly integrating their core processes into the cloud.

All things considered, you stand to potentially lose quite a lot now if your enterprise file sharing system was infiltrated. Data security is therefore critically important, more than ever before. But, unfortunately, organizations are not doing enough to enforce it, considering the bulk of security incidences are now emanating from enterprise-side vulnerabilities.

While service providers are progressively implementing superior security features, ultimate data safety is not possible without equally effectual measures by users. Here are 10 ways you can minimize enterprise file sharing security risks:

 

  1. Avoid EFSS Without Exclusive Data Control

Most of the other security measures are pretty pointless if you don’t have exclusive control over your organization’s data. Unfortunately, some enterprises are still going for free solutions, which for a long time, have been known to retain some of the data control rights.

 

Going with free solutions may be advisable in some special circumstances like trials. But not for organization-critical processes and sensitive data. You should rather opt for a paid EFSS system that grants you exclusive data control privileges.

 

  1. Go Private

To further enforce data control, you should consider keeping files in-house by choosing private over public EFSS. 72% of organizations are already within this bracket, mostly because of entirely exclusive data privileges.

 

If this proves to be too costly or resource-heavy, you could alternatively keep sensitive data within a much smaller private cloud setup, while leveraging a public EFSS. As a matter of fact, such a hybrid framework is currently the most popular, with 85% of enterprises.

 

  1. Set System Permissions

The more the number of people with unrestricted access to a system, the higher the number of potential vulnerability sources. So keep your system closely knit by managing network activities and system permissions.

 

Users’ system credentials should be managed according to their corresponding job duties and security clearance levels.

 

  1. Manage With Strong Passwords

81% of the hacking-related data breaches in 2017 occurred after attackers capitalized on stolen/weak system passwords. And this should not be surprising, considering “123456” is currently the most common password.

 

A simple password is easy to recall, but it’s also susceptible to hacking. So secure your EFSS system with a complex one, then back it up in an offline server just in case you forget.

 

  1. Manage Mobile Endpoint Devices

While system access through mobile devices can boost employee productivity by up to 9 hours per week, end-point gadgets will always be a major threat to your enterprise file sharing system.

 

Since it wouldn’t be advisable to completely eliminate them, consider implementing mobile device management solutions, and enforcing acceptable use policies.

 

  1. Implement File Security Management Tracking

File management system tracking would excellently supplement your use policies and device management solutions. In addition to controlling overall data usage, you’ll be able to manage additions and exceptions, plus track and report adherence to existing policies.

 

This will not only help you minimize potential vantage points for data leakage, but also identify vulnerabilities before they eventually develop into full-blown attacks.

 

  1. Run Real-Time System Scans

If your firewall is breached, the best case scenario would be reacting to contain the threat as soon as possible. But sadly, it takes enterprises an average of 201 days to identify a breach, and 70 more to contain it.

 

One of the most reliable ways to mitigate this is implementing a full-scale antimalware solution that comprehensively scans the system in real-time. It should subsequently not only prevent attacks but also raise alarm in case one is detected.

 

  1. Train Users Adequately

24% of data breaches are caused by human error. A good example of one is when military contractors mistakenly shared President Obama’s classified security blueprints of Marine One.

 

It’s impossible to completely secure your files against such occurrences. But you can substantially minimize the number of potential incidences by adequately training all the users on system usage, plus corresponding protocols.

 

  1. Implement Comprehensive Encryption Protocols

Even when you comprehensively implement security measures to protect enterprise file sharing, you still have to be prepared for a possible attack. And a great way to do this is making data useless to hackers through encryption.

 

While encryption during transfer is pretty standard by now, some organizations are still yet to implement device and server encryption. This should also be a priority since enterprise data can still be accessed at rest.

 

  1. Use certified EFSS Providers

By now, all EFSS service providers acknowledge that security is still a primary concern among their consumers. Consequently, they all market themselves as impenetrable systems- including ones with comparatively weak security features.

 

Of course, this can be confusing at times, but thanks to industry certification, there’s a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. So focus only on certified service providers that comply with set security standards.

That said, it’s critically important to leverage a proven solution you can trust. Get in touch with us at Filecloud and let us help you set up a super secure enterprise file sharing system.

 

 

Author: Davis Porter

FileCloud Unveils Enterprise Edition, Deploys Secure Collaboration and Storage for Large Organizations

  • Supports increased need for robust cybersecurity protection and compliance measures
  • Purpose built for organizations with 1000+ users
  • Allows businesses to keep their data on infrastructure of choice including public, private and hybrid clouds

FileCloud, a cloud-agnostic Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) platform, today announced the release of FileCloud Enterprise Edition. Designed to enable IT administration, management and compliance across enterprise-level systems with over 1000 users, FileCloud Enterprise Edition simplifies data security in an increasingly cloud-based business environment.

“Managing secure collaborations across enterprise environments is critical and keeps many CIOs awake at night,” said Madhan Kanagavel, CEO of FileCloud. “ With just a few clicks, FileCloud’s Enterprise Edition helps IT administrators configure user settings, integrate branch office file servers, manage policies and deploy apps across any large organization. Innovations like these are the reasons why enterprises prefer FileCloud over other consumer-oriented
collaboration solutions.”

FileCloud solves the challenge of losing control over intellectual property/information assets. Unlike other centralized file Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, FileCloud gives complete control over their data by allowing businesses to keep their data on any infrastructure of their choice including public, private and hybrid clouds. Mobile apps increase productivity and flexibility without needing to worry about data integrity. Shared documents synchronize and can be locked or shared with expiration dates and users can access remotely the same drives that are available in the office.

Enterprise Edition features and services include:

  • Mass Deployment: Deploy and configure a fleet of end user computing devices (desktop, mobile devices, and file servers) in a few click from a centralized management dashboard.
  • Remote Health Monitoring: Includes real-time monitoring of employee devices and actions with a detailed audit trail and delegation capabilities to prevent data loss and detect security threats.
  • Compliance: Enforce policies and regulatory requirements (supports GDPR, HIPPA and FINRA compliance) across employees. Also offers Federated search and eDiscovery capabilities to find sensitive data across the user base.
  • Professional Services: Offers a wide range of technical assistance in implementing large deployments successfully including, deep technical help in designing high availability, branch office integrations, clustering and multi-cloud deployments. Services also can help in configuring Single Sign-On and integrating with other systems like ActiveDirectory.

Penta, a global IT services company with offices in Switzerland, UAE, and Japan, mainly servicing financial institutions has deployed FileCloud to solve a number of business challenges. “One of our biggest challenges as an IT service company is to set up and manage corporate file sharing securely across hundreds of file servers, computers, and mobile phones,” said Shadi Jaber, IT Manager at Penta. “FileCloud has the right features and toolset that makes this easy.”

Many large organizations including Fiserv, NASA, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, and the City of San Diego use FileCloud for enterprise file sharing and collaboration. Try for free.

Data Security Questions Every Enterprise Should Ask

Over the past decade, cloud computing has transitioned from being a buzzword to becoming a staple technology for most enterprises, mainly driven by cloud’s accessibility, superior flexibility, and capacity compared to mainstream computing and storage techniques. However, just like mainstream data sharing and storage methods, cloud computing does not lack its fair share of data security issues. Palliating data security risks is essential to creating a level of comfort amongst CIOs, to migrate data applications to the cloud. The decision to transition to the cloud has to be dependent on how sensitive the data is and the security guarantees the cloud vendor provides.

Is your data safe in the hands of a cloud service provider?

In today’s exceedingly mobile world, enterprises are heavily relying on cloud vendors, and allowing remote access to more devices than ever before. The end result is a complex network that requires higher levels of security. The only way organizations can maintain the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of these different applications and datasets is by ensuring their security controls and detection-based tools have been updated to work with the cloud computing model. Whenever data is stored in the cloud, the main point of focus is typically the security of the cloud provider and hosting facility. However, this focus is usually at the expense of how the data itself is handled. This begs the question, do you trust the cloud vendor’s technology? Do you trust their employees? Do you trust their safeguards? Are you completely sure that if their back was against the wall they would not sell or compromise any of your data?

The fact of the matter remains that, once you move your data to a public cloud platform, you can no longer exercise your own security controls. Outsourcing also introduces a costly threat to intellectual property in the form of digital information like engineering drawings, source code, etc. An organization has to give its cloud service provider access to important IP assets, which are vital to the organization’s core business. Exposing invaluable information to third parties presents an epoch-making security risk. In most cases, migrating to the cloud means you have no option but to trust the vigilance, knowledge, and judgment of your chosen vendor.

As cloud-based solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive become more popular within the business setting; enterprises have to come to grips with the fact that issues like loss of control over confidential data are a looming security threat. Despite the fact that cloud vendors implement several security measures to isolate tenant environments, the organization still loses some level of IT control, which equates to risk as sensitive data and applications no longer reside within a private, physically isolated data-center. Is the business value worth the risk?

Why is Metadata Security Important?

In a nutshell, metadata is data about data. The bigger question is whether or not metadata is personally identifiable. If enough of it is linked together, a detailed profile of an individual or organization can be created; enough to personally identify them. Most IT security experts agree that metadata typically contains sensitive information, hidden from obvious view, but easily extractable. Metadata poses a great data leak risk since employees are not even aware of its existence. Whenever a request is made to store or retrieve data from a cloud storage server, the request and subsequent response contain metadata about both the request and the data itself. Since the organization has little to no control of this metadata, there is no way to guarantee its security.

What Happens in the event of a data breach?

As cloud adoption rates increase, cloud providers are increasingly becoming attractive targets for cybercriminals because of the huge amounts of data stored on their servers. Access to unencrypted metadata is enough to count as a full-fledged breach. The severity of a data breach is dependent on the sensitivity of the data being exposed. Breaches that involve trade secrets, health information and intellectual property are usually the most direful. It is worth noting that cloud vendors are not subject to similar data breach disclosure laws as federal agencies, banks, and other entities. So if a breach does occur, it may never be publicized or associated with the vendor.

Despite numerous efforts from public cloud providers to implement stringent security measures to curb the risk of data breaches; the burden of responsibility for data security ultimately falls on the organization and a breach will have critical financial and legal consequences.

Who Controls Your Data?

Ensuring that the data and applications residing in the cloud are kept safe is becoming more crucial as high-value data, mission-critical applications and intellectual property is transferred to the cloud. Despite the fact that cloud computing, in general, can be perceived as less secure, the fear of cloud security is situational. The real conundrum shouldn’t be whether or not to migrate to the cloud, but which cloud to migrate to. From a security standpoint, most cloud service providers are not ready. Using unsecured cloud vendors can expose sensitive cooperate data without your organization even realizing it. Enterprises commercially and legally have to maintain control over their data while customers and employees need to be able to freely collaborate, share and sync files they require. The solution is simple! Private Cloud.

Private Cloud Offers a Better Alternative

A private cloud computing model facilitates control and collaboration while protecting confidential data from unauthorized access. IT stakeholders need to have a detailed understanding of where and how data is being stored and transferred. With a self-hosted cloud deployment for critical data, you have maximum control, integration, and configuration of all the layers of security.

  • Flexible Infrastructure

A cloud deployment is considered private when it is hosted on the organization’s servers. However, that does not necessarily mean the servers are hosted on-premises. By going the self-hosted route, companies are able to choose whether they want to house their files on-premises or in a remote data center. Despite the fact that on-premises infrastructure has the added advantage of more control and ownership, you will also be responsible for capacity planning. Given the costs associated with operating a data center and the redundancy required to operate at 100 percent network and power uptime; organizations can opt to leverage a hosted private cloud in the form of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS).

This model allows the organization to have a scalable, isolated computing environment that has been custom-designed to meet its specific workload requirements, with the jurisdiction of their choice. A good example is AWS’ VPC which provides cloud hosting capabilities with enterprise-grade IT infrastructure through a virtualized network of interconnected virtual servers. GovCloud also allows US government agencies to host private clouds in secure regions operated by U.S citizens, and is only accessible to vetted U.S entities.

In a nutshell, a private cloud allows organizations to develop a flexible infrastructure to deliver applications while retaining control and managing the risk of the services delivered to business partners, users, and customers.

  • Maximum Control

A private cloud deployment gives you control over security, privacy, and compliance. You can manage all your applications, IT services, and the infrastructure in one place using powerful tools like application and performance monitoring, VM templates, and automated self-service deployment. Since you have the control from the ground up, you will not be forced to adjust your security processes to meet those of the cloud; instead, you will bend the cloud to your will. A self-hosted cloud lets you leverage your current security infrastructure and procedures and easily integrates with existing tools. It simply works within your set framework; and when your data requirements scale, you will have the ability to scale with them.

The physical location of the data-center plays a crucial role in cloud adoption. A private cloud creates the opportunity to choose the region data will be stored. By having control over your selection of hosting provider/ data center, you know precisely where your servers are located, and under which nation’s data laws they are governed. Organizations may be obliged or simply prefer, to store data in a jurisdiction or country that is not offered by a public cloud provider.

In Closing

A private cloud expands visibility into workloads and cloud operations. Thus enabling IT administrators to design data storage, hardware, and networks in a way that guarantees the security of data and associated metadata. When IT is fully aware of where the data is located and who has access to it at any given moment in time; the risks of compliance violations, data security vulnerabilities, and data leakage are thwarted.

Author: Gabriel Lando