Archive for the ‘FileCloud’ Category

VPAT and Keyboard Shortcuts in FileCloud

Web Accessibility Series – Part 1

One of the quickest ways to boost productivity is to use keyboard shortcuts. Being able to click a button or two and get the results you need reduces your reliance on your mouse, giving you more time to focus on the important things. Since you can keep both hands on the keyboard when compared to using a mouse, using a shortcut to complete a task is often more efficient than seeing the monitor and navigating your cursor around the screen.

How are Keyboard Shortcuts Helpful?

Fun Fact: “An average person loses 2 seconds per minute of work” by going back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard, according to an infographic by American Express Open Forum. If you work 8 hours a day, 240 days a year, you might be wasting up to 64 hours if you don’t use keyboard shortcuts.

Compared to reaching for the mouse or navigating a menu, a single keyboard shortcut not only shaves a moment off your task but also ensures websites are accessible for specially-abled users, in compliance with WCAG Guideline 2.1. FileCloud has created a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) that lists the enabled keyboard shortcuts within the platform. Many of the commonly used actions in FileCloud are listed below:

Keyboard Shortcuts

1.     Upload a file: (Insert / U)

Press (U) to upload a file inside any currently opened folder from your computer.
You can also upload a file on FileCloud as you press the (U) key on the dashboard to bring up a “Select File” menu and choose the file to be uploaded on the selected path.

2.     Navigate through files in a list:

To navigate through the file’s list, use up/down arrow keys ( ↑ or ↓ ).

3.     Select the current item:

To select the current item, use the spacebar.

4.     Copy selected item in FileCloud: (⌘/ctrl + C)

Select the items you want to copy, then hold the ⌘/ctrl and press the (C) key. This will bring up the “Select File” menu, where you can navigate to copy the file in the destination folder.

5.     Move the selected item to FileCloud: (⌘/ctrl + X)

Select the items you want to move, then hold the ⌘/ctrl on the dashboard and press the (X) key. This will bring up the “Select File” menu, where you can move the file into the destination folder.

6.     Download selected items from FileCloud: (D)

Select the items you want to download, then press the (D) key.

7.     Lock/unlock selected items on FileCloud: (L)

Select the items you want to lock/unlock, then press the (L) key.

8.     Add a comment to the selected item: (C)

Select a document for which you wish to add a comment, then press the (C) key. This will navigate to the comment section directly.

9.     Delete a selected item: (delete)

Select the item(s) in the file list view, then press (delete) to remove them.

10.  Rename the selected item: (F2)

Select any file/folder you wish to rename, then press the (F2) key.

11.  Share any selected item: (.)

Select any file or folder you want to share with other users, then press the dot(.) key. This will share the files using your default share settings.

12.  Open file operations (More …) menu: (M)

Select any item from the file list and press the (M) key to open the ‘More …’ menu.

13.  Create a folder: (Alt+N)

Navigate inside a folder and press Alt+N to create a new folder.

14.  Preview file or open folder: (⏎)

To open any particular folder, press enter\return. After pressing the enter key, the preview for files can also be opened.

15.  Select/Unselect all: (Shift+A)

To select/unselect all items in the file list, hold shift and press the (A) key.

16.  Navigate to the next page of files: (pagedown)

To load and navigate to the next page of the file list, press (pagedown).

17.  Previous page of files: (pageup)

To navigate to the previous page in the file list, press (pageup).

18.  Navigate to the top of the page: (⌘/ctrl + home)

To navigate to the top of the page, hold (⌘/ctrl) and press home.

19.  Refresh file list: (Alt+R)

To refresh the file list, hold (Alt) then press the (R) key.

20.  Navigate to the next page: (Alt+→)

To navigate to the next page, hold (Alt) and press the arrow key (→).

21.  Go to the previous page: (Alt+←)

To go to the previous page, hold (Alt) and press key (←).

22.  Toggle sidebar: ([)

Use the left bracket ( [ ) to open\close the left sidebar.

23.  Toggle activity bar: (])

Use the right bracket ( ] ) to open\close the right activity bar.

24.  Toggle file operations dialog: (P)

To open/close the operation dialog box, press the (P) key.

25.  Go one folder up: (Alt+Shift+↑)

To go up one level of the directory tree, press the (Alt), (Shift), and Up arrow (↑) keys.

26.  Toggle file list/grid view: (V)

To view the documents list as a grid, press the (V) key.

27.  Show folder properties: (⌘/ctrl+I)

To view folder properties, hold (⌘/ctrl) in the dashboard, then press the (I) key.

28.  Open deleted files page: (Alt+D)

To view the deleted files list, hold (Alt) and press the (D) key.

29.  Filter file list: (Alt+F)

To filter the file list, hold (Alt) and press the (F) key.

30.  Show shortcuts: (Alt+F1)

To view shortcuts, hold (Alt) in the dashboard and press the (F1) key.

 

Conclusion

CodeLathe is committed to ensuring FileCloud is secure, easy-to-use, and feature-rich. You can find a complete list of keyboard shortcuts in the FileCloud documentation.

Article written by Niharika Sah

What Can Secure File Sharing Do for the Legal Industry?

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Secure file sharing has become a necessity in almost all industries. From small businesses that want to easily share files with their clients, to large corporations that need specific compliance and governance regulations, secure file sharing is an aspect of business that all companies need to consider.

The legal industry is no exception. In fact, given the security needed for the sensitive materials legal professionals work with, secure file sharing should be a top consideration for any firm or business within the industry.

What is Secure File Sharing?

Because so much of work is now done online, most people share files without ever considering what they’re doing—or if what they’re doing is secure. Have you ever sent a file to someone from Google Drive or Dropbox? If so, then you’ve shared files. Of course, both Google Drive and Dropbox have security protocols in place, but those protocols still might not fit your company’s needs.

Secure file sharing is just sending files from one person to another while knowing that those files (especially ones with sensitive information) can’t be accessed by a hacker or unauthorized person.

This is important for many industries, but it is vital for those working within the legal industry. Because those in the legal industry work with sensitive and often confidential documents and media, it is necessary for anyone sharing files to be certain that their clients’ and firm’s information is secure.

There are so many different file sharing systems now that selecting one for your company can feel overwhelming. However, there are specific features you can look for that are important for the legal industry to have in their file sharing systems.

Let’s go over those features now.

File Sharing Features for the Legal Industry

Legal professionals and law firms often face regulations that require them to handle confidential data in a secure and compliant way. Additionally, all major companies dealing with law firms expect top security due to exchange of proprietary information.

Security

It’s important that any file sharing system you’re using lists security as one of its top priorities. Given the sensitive nature of many of the documents and media used within the legal industry, it’s important that your security is top-notch. Options like antivirus and ransomware protection, end-to-end encryption, and secure cloud storage are all important aspects of secure file sharing. Additionally, permission settings should be able to be customized by the administrator. Ideally, a secure file sharing platform will provide access to users and guests to ensure only authorized individuals can interact with confidential files.

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Figure 1: Secure Link

Cloud Storage and Hosting Capabilities

There are many different options when it comes to storage for file sharing systems. One reason many people use file sharing systems is because of their cloud storage capabilities. Cloud storage allows users to access their files from any device. This is especially helpful as more and more companies turn to remote work.

Cloud storage services are typically divided into three options: private, public, and hybrid. The best option for a file storage and sharing platform will depend on the regulatory, user, and data requirements of your firm or business.

Private or on-premises hosting means to host the data and file sharing platform on your own server, behind a firewall. Some companies prefer to store everything on their own server as this allows them to have complete control over their data.

Public cloud services host the file storage and sharing platform on behalf of their client in their data centers (like Dropbox and Google Drive). There are fewer options for customization or security settings, but this can be a good option for firms needing scalability without the responsibility of managing the cloud infrastructure directly.

Hybrid services typically combine public and private cloud storage solutions, so that clients have both an on-premises server for highly sensitive data combined with a public cloud service for archived data.

Retention Policies

Specific retention policies give admins the ability to implement types of hierarchical holds, including admin hold, legal hold, trash retention, and archival. These policies are attached to files and folders.

  • Admin Hold – This type of hold outranks all other policies and prevents updating/deleting content for an indefinite period.
  • Legal Hold – Designed to retain data for important legal cases or discoveries. During this time, file modifications are not allowed.
  • Trash Retention – An action that can be set to automatically delete all files in trash bins permanently off the sever.
  • Archival – This helps you move and store old content over the long term, with no deletion allowed until a specified time.

Legal hold is an especially important requirement for a file sharing solution used by the legal industry. Look for file sharing systems that offers options for legal hold—beyond retaining specific files, users will receive a notification telling them not to delete electronic or paper documents that are important for a legal case.

Governance and Regulatory Compliance

Governance and retention policies are often a vital part of working within the legal industry. That’s why it’s important to be able to set retention policies based on your regulatory requirements.

Some file sharing systems even offer compliance systems that help your administrator meet governance requirements for ITAR, HIPPA, GDPR, and more. These compliance configurations combine retention policies with other security and administrative features like metadata, content classification, audits, Data Leak Protection, and Digital Rights Management.

Audits

Advanced audit-log systems are an important part of file sharing systems, but they can be especially important for the legal industry. Audit logs (including what, when, who, where, and how) are important for administrators as they can see file actions, including who is accessing/using files.

DRM (Digital Rights Management)

DRM is an important part of any file sharing system, but it’s vital for the legal industry to be able to control who is accessing/viewing/using their files. DRM systems usually have the ability to control who shares, screenshots, and copies your data.

Customization

Customization is a key factor when considering your file sharing system. Some file sharing systems offer some limited customization of policies and governance, but many systems do not allow changes to their systems. However, it’s important for those within the legal industry to set the security, policies, storage, and DRM capabilities based on their company’s needs.

Client Portal

Many companies are now looking for the ability to give their clients a client portal. Client portal software allows companies to give their customers a place to access confidential documents securely. These portals are usually accessed with a password and allow customers to review, download/upload documents and other media. File sharing systems often offer the option to create your own type of client portal, without the need for extra software.

Because the legal industry works with clients who often have to provide sensitive documents, having a secure portal that clients can access will provide ease of mind. It’s also important to look for file sharing systems that will allow you to have free guest accounts that will still allow uploads/downloads and communication.

Branding

Keeping your branding the same throughout all your systems is an important part of establishing your company’s brand and identity. Look for a file sharing system that allows you to add your own logo, name, and create a custom URL.

Ease-of-Use

While your IT manager might understand the ins and outs of complicated technology, it’s important that your file sharing system is easy-to-use and understand for all users. Make sure that both your employees and clients can access the system easily and quickly learn how to share their files securely.

These are the most important features when it comes to making sure you have a file sharing system that works for the legal industry. Now it just comes to selecting the specific system.

FileCloud as a Secure File Sharing System

There are many systems to pick from, including options such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, but we think that FileCloud sets itself above these as it has all the capabilities needed for working in the legal industry, and more.

FileCloud offers enterprise-level security like 256-bit AES SSL encryption at rest and SSL/TLS protocols for data in transit, SSO (single sign-on), Active Directory integration, two-factor authentication, automatic anti-virus scanning of files (when uploaded) and more.

FileCloud’s Governance and Retention Policies

FileCloud understands the importance of governance for the legal industry, and that’s why there are totally customizable classification and retention policies available.

Retention policies allow you to automate certain actions when it comes to managing and organizing your documents. This policy-based automation helps secure your content and gives you total control over the document life cycle.

Within the FileCloud policy system you can create policies that restrict how files and folders are deleted/edited which helps ensure the security of your content. FileCloud’s retention policies are hierarchical, which means you can select the policy that best protects and retains specific types of digital content.

These hierarchical retention policies support document life cycle management for the legal industry. Policies include admin hold, legal hold, retention, trash retention, and archival. Within the FileCloud system, you can apply these retention policies to files and folders and customize policies based on the needs of your business.

FileCloud also offers options for smart content classification, custom metadata, and DLP (data loss prevention). Legal industries can use many of these features in different ways, such as creating a metadata tag for legal articles or other data which can then be applied using smart classification.

FileCloud’s DRM Capabilities  

FileCloud offers advanced DRM capabilities, including restricted sharing, prevention of screenshots, and copying of data. Because security is such an important factor to all file sharing, all DRM files are protected with AES-certified 256-bit encryption and SSL/TLS protocols.

FileCloud Makes Work Easier

FileCloud recently released a new feature called Workflow Automation. This new feature helps users work smarter by providing the ability to build simple to complex workflows that streamline important business processes.

Managers can create and share workflows for everything from simple tasks like signature retrieval to more complex work like contract reviews. 

This can especially be helpful for those working in the legal industry as it can automate and speed up tasks like contract and patent approval and new policy review. 

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Automating tasks is easy with FileCloud’s no-code, drag-and-drop tool that helps build workflows. Managers can even share custom workflows with their teams to help prevent errors and accomplish important objectives.

Running workflows can be viewed in a dashboard so you can see work happening in real-time, correct any oversights in automation, and download reports with a click of a button.

Making Your Business More Secure

FileCloud is always working to make customer’s lives easier, including the option to create a client portal, branding, and complete customization options. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Look what these other law firms have to say about working with FileCloud.

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Figure 3: Legal Industry Customer 1
 
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Figure 4: Legal Industry Customer 2
 
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Figure 5: Legal Industry Customer 3

As we said, we think FileCloud is a superior option, but there are many to choose from when looking for a secure file sharing system.

The most important thing to remember when selecting a file sharing system is that it has all the capabilities and features you need to succeed at business, including security, customization options, and DRM.

Secure file sharing is only going to become more important over the years. Making sure you have a system in place that can adapt to changing requirements will put you ahead of your competitors.

Get started secure file sharing today by getting a free trial of FileCloud

Access your FileCloud Community Edition Server using NoIP

If you’re currently using Tonido and considering switching to FileCloud Community Edition, there is one key difference to note: Tonido uses a relay server to access your local server.

For example, <username>.tonido.com is your external URL; this means that you will need to use a third-party service to redirect from a custom URL to your local IP address. You can use commercial or free services to accomplish this.

Some available options include:

Redirect Your Tonido URL

This article will explain how to accomplish this using a Freemium service like NoIP.

Requirements:

  • Server Computer Running FileCloud Community Server
  • com Account
  • Your Public IP Address
  • Port Forwarding in Your Router
  • External URL Access
  • Set Up Automatic Updates for Local IP Changes

Install FileCloud Server

FileCloud provides installation guides for Windows and Linux operating systems. Select the right one for your computer below.

Windows: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/Installation+on+Windows

Linux: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/Ubuntu+Package+Installation

NoIP account

If you don’t have a NoIP.com account, please create one: https://www.noip.com/sign-up

Public IP address

Several options can help you identify your public IP address. For our tutorial, we will use this website: https://www.whatismyip-address.com/?check

When you open this website from your local home network, you will see something like this:

screenshot of website WhatIsMyIPAddress

Please take note of your IP4 Address as we will use this shortly.

Set Up Port Forwarding in Your Router

To access your FileCloud Community Edition server outside of your local network, you will need to create a rule in your router to redirect traffic from your public IP address to the local IP address of your server.

The instructions may vary depending on your router brand. You can check the guide from NoIP to help you set up the port forwarding for a comprehensive list of router brands (D-Link, Netgear, Linksys, Asus, TP-Link, etc.)

Create and Configure External URL Access

Once you have completed the above steps, it is time to create your hostname in NoIP. Go to: https://my.noip.com/dynamic-dns and create a new hostname.

screenshot of website NoIP to create a hostname

You can choose your preferred hostname and direct a DNS Host (A) to your IPc4 Address.

Screenshot of NoIP - Direct Your DNS

After waiting an average of 30 minutes, your DNS entry should be ready. Now you can access your FileCloud Community Edition Server from anywhere using the URL you chose, including via mobile application and web access.

Set Up Automatic Updates for the IP Address

To make updating the IP address simple, NoIP offers an application you can install on your server or any computer that runs from your local network. The application will monitor if the public IP is updated; whenever the IP address changes, the app will automatically update your DNS entry in your account. You can find and download the application from NoIP.

Once you install the application, log in to your NoIP account and select the hostname. You will see the following:

screenshot of NoIP website, configuring automatic updates for DNS changes

Now, whenever your local IP address is updated, your DNS entry will also be updated, ensuring you never lose access to your FileCloud Community Edition Server.

Article written by Daniel Alarcon

Moving from Tonido to FileCloud Community Edition

Tonido has been in maintenance mode for the last few years, which means only bug fixes have been delivered and no new features are available.

Since FileCloud 19.3, a new license model is available: FileCloud Community Edition. If you’re looking for a secure alternative to access your files, this edition is your best option.

6 Key Differences to Note Before Moving:

  1. FileCloud Community Edition has a license cost of $10/year (proceeds donated to charity).
  2. There is no relay server for Community Edition, which means that <yourserver>.tonido.com address has no similar option in Community Edition.
  3. FileCloud desktop and mobile applications are more advanced and feature-proof than Tonido; syncing files across devices is a better experience.
  4. Significant features from FileCloud (Business-oriented licenses) are available in the Community Edition, like:
    1. Storage from Disk, Network Shares, Amazon S3, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Wasabi, EMC ECS
    2. Access to NTFS permissions storage and the Drive desktop application
    3. Unlimited versioning and recycle bin support, advanced sharing options for external users, file change notification
    4. And much more!
  5. Some features from Tonido are not available in FileCloud, like remote desktop, torrent, DLNA media server, money manager, thots, and other user-specific apps.
  6. Most importantly, active development is present on FileCloud Community Edition, including Forum support by FileCloud support engineers, bug fixes, and new features.

Requirements:

We recommend a dedicated machine for a computer that will run FileCloud Community Edition, either a VM or an old server in your home network.

  • OS Specs:
    1. Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019
    2. Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04, CentOS 7, RHEL 7
  • HW Specs:
    1. Intel quad-core CPU
    2. 16 GB of RAM or higher
    3. storage (physical disk, SAN, NAS, etc.)

What is Missing From a Regular FileCloud Server?

Most of the features listed below are enterprise-grade/business-oriented and are not often required by a personal or small business installation.

  • Data Governance (including Smart DLP, Smart Classification, Retention Policies, and the Governance Dashboard)
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Solr Search
  • Server Sync
  • Third-party integrations (AV, Salesforce, SIEM, etc.)
  • SMS Authentication
  • Multi-tenancy

Should You Switch from Tonido to FileCloud Community Edition?

See the comparison table below to help you decide if you should switch from Tonido to FileCloud CE:

comparison chart between Tonido and FileCloud Community Edition
General Recommendations:

If you currently use Tonido for media consumption, there are alternatives available that will help you achieve this in a better way (Kodi, Emby, Plex, etc.)

On the other hand, if you use Tonido to sync across devices, share files, and use it for more work-oriented tasks, consider switching to FileCloud Community Edition. It’s only $10/year for a license and gives you access to a robust file-sharing system with a strong Return-on-Investment.

Article written by Daniel Alarcon

FileCloud’s Version 21.2 Makes Work Easier with Compliance Center, Workflow Automation, and Integrations

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We’re always working to make FileCloud better for you. That’s why our 21.2 release focuses on ways to make your life easier.

Let’s get started looking at these new features.

ITAR Compliance Center

Our new Compliance Center is a useful and important tool for your compliance and IT managers. It helps you save time and money by making complex regulations easy to understand while connecting requirements with policies and settings that you can implement with just a few clicks. This allows admins to instantly note and fix compliance issues following FileCloud’s best practice recommendations.

ITAR (United States International Traffic in Arms Regulation) requires companies involved in the manufacture, sales, or distribution of defense-related articles to comply with certain guidelines to ensure that confidential information does not leave the US and is not leaked to criminals, civilians, or any potential threats.

Failure to comply with these regulations can involve civil or criminal penalties for companies and organizations. The good news is that with FileCloud’s new ITAR Compliance Center, it’s easier than ever to ensure your company is compliant.

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Figure 1: Compliance Center Overview Page

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Figure 2: Issue Preventing Compliance Screen

The tool also lets you archive event logs for easy reporting and auditing purposes and is easily customizable. Meaning, if you already have a solution for a regulation in place outside of your FileCloud environment, administrators can easily bypass the rule within the Compliance Center.

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Figure 3: Rule Update Screen in Compliance Center

With our new Compliance Center, you can continue to share your files with confidence, knowing that you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s when it comes to ITAR regulations.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation is one of the things we’re most excited about with FileCloud 21.2’s release! This new feature helps users work smarter by providing the ability to build simple to complex workflows that streamline important business processes.

Managers can create and share workflows for everything from simple tasks like signature retrieval to more complex work like contract reviews.

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Figure 4: Full Workflow Overview

As you can see, automating tasks is easy with our no-code design. Users can use the drag-and-drop tool to build workflows, and managers can share custom workflows with their teams to help prevent errors and accomplish important objectives.

Running workflows can be viewed in a dashboard so you can see work happening in real-time, correct any oversights in automation, and download reports with a click of a button.

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Figure 5: Workflow Dashboard
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Figure 6: Workflow Dashboard Activity

You can use this tool in many different departments within your company including:

  • Marketing collaboration and press and product releases
  • Sales contract review and client notifications
  • HR expedited onboarding and time-off and expense approvals
  • Finance forecasting and invoice approvals

Microsoft Teams Integrations

You asked for Microsoft Teams Integration, and we delivered! With FileCloud 21.2 you can now integrate Teams with FileCloud using the new app.

This allows your team to continue to collaborate using Teams, without sacrificing the security and customization you love about FileCloud. This new integration includes special features like:

  • Easily finding files and sending share links in the Teams message bar
  • Sharing direct links from your teams or network folders to your Microsoft Teams Contacts (no external FileCloud login required!)
  • A FileCloud tab within Teams’ sidebar menu (allowing users the same functionality as opening FileCloud in a web browser)
  • Accessing File Details (including metadata, comments, and version history)

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Figure 7: MS Teams Direct Link

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Figure 8: MS Teams Share Link
We created FileCloud so you could have secure and customized file sharing. With our Microsoft Teams integration, you can collaborate with confidence, knowing your files are secure and easily shareable.

OnlyOffice Integrations

We want you to be able to use the tools you’re familiar with, without having to toggle back and forth between different programs. That’s why FileCloud is now integrated with OnlyOffice.

Now you can edit, view, and collaborate on OnlyOffice documents, presentations, and spreadsheets within your FileCloud system.

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Figure 9: OnlyOffice Integration Web Edit

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Figure 10: OnlyOffice Team Collaboration

Access and collaborate with your team on your OnlyOffice files with a click while still using FileCloud’s secure and customized file sharing.

And don’t forget, FileCloud also allows unlimited File Versioning, so you can work on your OnlyOffice files with confidence, knowing you have a backup available with a click of a button.

Private Key Support for FileCloud Online

We’re always working to provide you with top-level enterprise security, and your files are now even more secure on FileCloud Online. With Version 21.2, FileCloud Online now provides customer-managed encryption in addition to Amazon S3-managed encryption. Create and manage your own encryption key or utilize the Key Management Service (KMS) in your Amazon Web Services account. Either option provides you with greater control and privacy when it comes to your data. This is a feature that is already available with FileCloud Server.

FileCloud uses Amazon’s S3 storage services, with built-in SSL encryption for data in transit and 256-bit encryption for data at rest. Admins can now configure different server-side encryptions for data at rest using Amazon’s S3 storage services and Key Management Service (KMS) with both FileCloud Online and FileCloud Server.

Any new files are quickly encrypted without any service interruption. Users can access and share these files with confidence, as the files will be securely encrypted and decrypted with the secure FileCloud Online environment, without the need for any extra steps from the user.

More Details…

We’ve shown you the things we’re most excited about with FileCloud 21.2’s release, but you can read more about each feature in FileCloud 21.2’s release notes.

As always, if you need help with integration or using any new features, our team is available for you.

Compliance Center Comparison – FileCloud vs. Microsoft 365

Compliance with government regulations is a critical element for businesses and organizations. These regulations aim to ensure operational integrity, safety, and ethical behavior, and have become wider-reaching thanks to technological advancements that have connected industries all around the world.

Many regulations specifically address security and privacy concerns related to the sharing of information, which extends to digital data shared over networks. High-profile regulations include:

  • European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), affecting data privacy of EU citizens
  • U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), protecting patient-information rights and privacy
  • Sarbanes-Oxley or the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, mandating accurate and reliable corporate disclosures for financial records
  • and the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which controls the manufacture, sale, and distribution of defense and space-related articles and services as defined in the United States Munitions List (USML).

These are only a few well-known regulations among many. For a company or organization to function properly, understanding relevant regulatory requirements is critical. These regulations protect individuals, companies, and governments from malpractice or malfeasance and help prevent injury and loss on small and large scales.

Failing to comply with regulations can lead to strict and significant financial penalties. For example, Google paid out nearly $43 million to resolve a GDPR case levied against them by France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL). Similarly, Airbus had to pay nearly $4 billion and Honeywell paid $13 million to resolve their respective ITAR compliance issues.

On the other hand, the complexity of the regulatory landscape makes it difficult for companies to implement solutions that address requirements. The solutions available (or developed in response) can incur heavy costs in time and resources.

In recognition of the struggles and challenges that come with compliance, software and technology companies are developing intuitive platforms and tools to provide additional support and clarity. The overall impact could lead to cost-savings of millions of dollars on penalty fees and restitution payouts.

These solutions are designed to support compliance and business managers as well as IT administrators meet regulatory requirements across an organization’s information storage and sharing activities, thereby promoting improved cybersecurity.

In this article, we will provide a functional overview of two solutions: FileCloud Compliance Center and Microsoft 365 Compliance Center.

 

FileCloud’s Compliance Center

FileCloud Compliance Center Dashboard view, with recent activity and issues summary

What is the FileCloud Compliance Center?

FileCloud’s Compliance Center is a new feature launched with the 21.2 release. This tool is designed to leverage the full strength of FileCloud’s existing comprehensive security and sharing features, such as smart classification, custom metadata, and data leak protection.

For example, metadata tags can be created for defense articles and technical data, which are then applied to documents using Smart Classification. DLP rules connected with the Classification Engine ensures that no files with this metadata can be publicly shared. These features are already available with FileCloud, but the Compliance Center organizes these features into special compliance configurations that apply sets of FileCloud features with the simple click of a button.

Currently, the Compliance Center includes a specific configuration for ITAR compliance, with other standards under development. FileCloud’s ITAR configuration connects admins with SSL, encryption, and audit settings to provide multi-tiered security protections. Informational rules like “Confirm all users are US residents” provide useful prompts for system admins to confirm regulatory requirements are met.

The FileCloud Compliance Center is particularly beneficial for IT administrators, as it provides an accessible platform for admins to learn about and implement ITAR requirements. It also enables easy reporting to upper management, CIOs/CTOs, and external parties, which saves the organization time and money.

View of the ITAR tab within the FileCloud Compliance Center

How does the FileCloud Compliance Center Work?

The Compliance Center is offered as an additional feature with an Enterprise FileCloud license for users and admins. Once set up, users will be able to view the Compliance dashboard like any other feature in FileCloud, by selecting the Compliance Center tab on the left sidebar.

Once inside the dashboard, users will be able to gain quick and vital information at a glance. Configurations have a status bar that shows how many FileCloud compliance rules are included in the set, how many are enabled, and how many are bypassed.

FileCloud includes the bypass option specifically so users and admins can examine compliance rules and only apply the ones that meet their needs. For organizations that meet regulatory requirements outside of the FileCloud environment, this flexibility ensures status reports are accurate and include only the necessary information.

FileCloud Compliance Center ITAR Tab view with dialog box for bypassing a rule

How can the FileCloud Compliance Center help meet regulatory requirements?

The FileCloud ITAR configuration is a repository for a wealth of information and support. Simply click on the tab at the top of the Compliance Center page to view more information about the rules, the FileCloud features connected with each rule, the status for each rule (compliant, failed, or bypassed), and select actions. These actions include an option to edit the rule (by adding custom metadata for example) or to view additional information through the info icon.

View of ITAR tab in Compliance Center, dialog box with information to update a rule

Configurations in FileCloud are designed to take into consideration the context of the regulatory landscape. In this manner, FileCloud provides vital support to compliance and business managers by connecting compliance requirements directly with powerful FileCloud features, along with explanations for how the feature meets the requirement and where users and admins can find more information on the requirements.

Furthermore, the configurations are designed to act immediately and keep a running track record of all the activity connected with compliance efforts within the FileCloud ecosystem. Admins receive regular email notifications on a 24-hour cycle specifically for any non-compliant rules in place. Admins can adjust their email notification settings in accord with their needs, but the system will continue to scan and update the Compliance Center every 24 hours.

Additionally, all information captured by the Compliance Center is recorded and updated in the dashboard. These activity logs can be archived and exported into non-changeable files for governance and retention purposes.

Pricing

FileCloud offers a strong ROI since the Compliance Center can be bundled with a FileCloud Enterprise license, already a high-value product. Clients can opt for a self-hosted Enterprise package (minimum of 50 users, contact for quote) or for FileCloud Online, hosted by CodeLathe (minimum of 5 users, $15/month/user).

There is no extra cost to add the Compliance Center to your Enterprise license, which provides competitive pricing and a sophisticated, feature-rich platform for secure enterprise file storage and sharing.

 

Microsoft 365 Compliance Center

Microsoft Compliance Center User Home Page, with left sidebar menu describing different cards within the platform.

What is the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center?

Microsoft 365 rolled out their own version of a Compliance Center in 2018, with several updates since. The tool started as a way to organize security and compliance features across Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows in a centralized platform. This platform supports admins in efforts to detect, classify, protect, and report on data and related activity.

In 2019, the platform was updated to reorganize features and applications that comprise Microsoft Threat Protection, as well as Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS). By consolidating the user experiences across Microsoft 365 applications, they created a consistent approach organized around specific concepts: Identity, Endpoints, User Data, Cloud App and Infrastructure.

The most recent iteration of the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center focuses on ease-of-use and compliance features by optimizing eDiscovery, endpoint DLP, audit logs, sensitivity labels, data classification and connectors, records management, insider risk management, and encryption.

How does the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center work?

The Microsoft 365 Compliance Center makes use of a “card” platform to present different aspects of security and compliance to users. The Compliance Manager is one card that acts as a sort of dashboard, calculating a risk score in a percentage and measuring progress toward recommended actions. The Compliance Manager also includes workflow capabilities and built-in control mapping that can help users respond to different compliance objectives, including:

  • Protect information
  • Govern information
  • Control access
  • Manage devices
  • Protect against threats
  • Discover and respond
  • Manage internal risks

Beyond the Compliance Manager, there are also cards for the Solution Catalog and Active Alerts. Users have the option of adding cards to the menu according to their needs and as Microsoft continues to expand the Compliance Center.

Microsoft Solution Catalog, linking users with Microsoft compliance features

The Solutions catalog card provides a resource for users to learn and implement solutions that are available within their specific institution and within their Microsoft subscription. These solutions are organized by section; the card itself is designed to serve as a quick-start guide for new users beginning to implement compliance and risk management solutions. Sections include:

  • Information Protection & Governance
    • Data Loss Prevention
    • Information Governance
    • Information Protection
    • Records Management
  • Privacy
    • Privacy Management
  • Insider Risk Management
    • Communication Compliance
    • Insider Risk Management
  • Discovery & Response
    • Audit
    • Data subject requests
    • eDiscovery

Each section and sub-section provides the user with a brief description of what the solution offers and how it can support compliance objectives. However, the user must know exactly which solutions are required to fulfill specific regulatory requirements.

The Navigation pane in the left sidebar menu provides direct access back to the Compliance Manager card, the Solutions catalog card, the Home screen, Settings, and Resources. This setup can be customized to suit user preferences and add tabs for common areas, depending on what options are available with the organization’s Microsoft subscription. Additional navigation options include Data Classification, Data Connectors, Alerts, Reports, Policies, and Permissions.

Navigation menu for Microsoft's Compliance Center, close-up view of left sidebar menu

How can the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center help meet regulatory requirements?

Microsoft 365 Compliance Center officially states they can support a wide variety of industry and government regulations (as does FileCloud). However, Microsoft does not offer specialized configurations built for each regulation.

Instead, Microsoft relies on the Compliance Manager, which helps users set up data security, classification, and share settings. The Compliance Manager can take inventory of data protection risks, provide managerial support to implement controls, inform users of regulatory updates and refresh certificates, and report directly to auditors.

The Microsoft 365 Compliance Center provides many of the same tools and features offered by FileCloud, but they are not organized into bundled settings or configurations like FileCloud’s solution for ITAR (and other regulations in the near future).

Setting up the Compliance Center in Microsoft 365 reflects that key difference in strategic approach between Microsoft and FileCloud. Compliance, data security, or IT admins are tasked with configuring risk management and communication policies, reviewing their organization’s DLP settings, enabling appropriate settings in Microsoft, and setting up information protection through Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Pricing

Microsoft 365 provides users with a large-scale suite of applications, which may include their Compliance Center. However, these plans may also provide users with more tools or platforms than they necessarily need, and the price point is also much higher. A Microsoft 365 enterprise plan that includes the Compliance Center can cost upwards of $32/month/user[4]. For an annual plan with 100 users, that adds up to $38,400.

Conclusion

FileCloud and Microsoft 365 both present powerful and innovative platforms that address the growing need for compliance support across industries. However, the two solutions diverge in their approach and ease of use.

Microsoft has a certain advantage when considering the Compliance Center as an app alongside the suite of apps that come with a subscription. If an organization is already paying for Microsoft 365, the Compliance Center may be a worthwhile add-on. This may be especially true for organizations that have a compliance officer or team that can work through the various cards and sections to implement Microsoft’s solutions.

FileCloud presents a much more accessible solution with their Compliance Center. By focusing on the regulations directly, FileCloud is able to provide unique configurations of FileCloud features, tools, and settings that cumulatively address compliance requirements.

Furthermore, these sophisticated configurations empower users by connecting compliance rules with specific FileCloud settings that can be easily viewed and distinguished within the configuration tab. The Action column provides users with easy access to customize rules and view compliance documentation for further education.

ITAR is currently the only available configuration available in the FileCloud Compliance Center. Additional configurations will become available as updates are made to the Compliance Center.

Considering the significant challenges of regulation across industries and governments, any tool must provide clear support to users and facilitates fulfilling compliance requirements. FileCloud’s innovative solution is one that stands to grow and change with the landscape while providing meaningful clarity and support.

How to Automate Business Processes

Business Process Automation text accompanied by image of metal cogs in a pile

What is Business Process Automation?

For as long as humans have worked, we have used innovation to make work easier and more efficient. Business Process Automation (BPA) is simply the newest name for this strategy and takes advantage of modern technological advancements.

In brief, process automation can refer to any series of automated actions that fulfill a specific goal. This can range from something as simple and personal as a behavioral strategy (e.g., a new perspective for responding to email) to more complex automation solutions in the form of specific software or hardware tools (e.g., workflow software or assembly line machines).

Automation provides incredible benefits toward operating a business or organization. This is especially true in light of the significant changes the global workforce experienced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, huge swathes of the population were working from home. Maintaining productivity became a topic for discussion across all levels, not just business executives.

Automation tools were necessarily involved in these discussions, particularly as organizations pursued solutions to make their IT infrastructure both secure and accessible to remote employees. These automation tools are designed to improve quality, reduce waste, and fulfill ambitious business objectives.

Automated processes support consistency and efficiency throughout an organization’s operations. These include regulatory and financial requirements, tax record maintenance, HR processes, client and customer relations, support ticket resolutions, and marketing and sales campaigns, among others.

Benefits of Automation

Studies have estimated that automating certain activities can reduce costs anywhere from 30% to 90% depending on the business model. Automation saves organizations both physical and logistical resources, which can lead to more agile growth in the industry. When mundane, repetitive, or otherwise tedious tasks are automated, the organization’s workforce can focus on innovation and quality across products and services.

Automating processes across an organization also ensures tasks and operations are consistent, which has an overall impact of reducing resource consumption and human error. As demonstrated by Ford’s assembly line for the Model T automobile over 100 years ago, automation leads to greater efficiency, less waste, and higher cost-savings.

Automation tools empower users by streamlining tasks and promoting focus on the type of unique, creative, or otherwise complex work that cannot be automated. This type of work is sometimes referred to as “deep work.” (The concept of deep work is explored in the AirSend blog post “How to Stay Productive While Working Remotely.”)

Visualizing the Impact of Automation

There are many examples of how automation has been adopted across various industries and departments. These examples are considered routine now, but their impact has been monumental for our modern way of life.

Supporting Customers

For instance, most products and services offered around the world have a customer service component to promote buyer satisfaction and loyalty by resolving issues. The organization, receipt, and response for these support requests or tickets is a cycle that can be automated through software and personnel training.

Software platforms and websites can accept, classify, sort, and direct tickets to service desks, where support employees review information in a concise and efficient manner, distributing solutions with greater speed and precision.

This example combines both behavioral and technological automation to remove a burden of effort from employees. They can then provide higher-quality, person-to-person support when communicating directly with a customer.

Maintaining Information

Automation software also plays a role in trafficking information and approval requests. Businesses and organizations rely on accurate, up-to-date information.

Reliable communication channels and data networks can ensure information is accessible to a workforce, but it can be a challenge ensuring the right information reaches the right people. Automating these channels and networks using workflows erases the burden of remembering, which is one barrier to meaningful productivity.

Executing Decisions

Furthermore, any decision-making processes that contribute to operations, finances, or high-level management often require several approval steps to ensure accuracy and accountability. Automated workflows can also support these operations by actively responding to changes, updating data repositories, and/or sending notifications to relevant parties.

More sophisticated workflow solutions can even route approval requests with notifications, accept the information update (of someone approving or denying), and continue the process without hesitation.

By automating the process of updating relevant parties with information and routing approval requests, decision-making processes become more efficient. Organizations can enact policies, finalize contracts, act on projects, and complete other objectives that contribute to long-term goals.

How to Utilize Automation

After considering both what automation is and how it can impact a business, it is important to consider how automation can specifically be implemented within an organization.

Automation succeeds under specific conditions. 1) Information is organized and accessible and 2) automation tools balance flexibility and structure. For example, automation tools or strategies must be able to assess and gather a wide array of information, determine the necessary action, and complete the action without encountering or producing errors.

To identity tasks suitable for automation, it’s useful to consider some factors:

  • Is the work inherently repetitive?
  • Does it involve many different people or groups of people?
  • Is the work time-sensitive or will it have a high impact on other systems and processes within the organization?
  • Does the work require documentation or audit trails to comply with regulations?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it may be beneficial to consider automation solutions.

Step 1 – Assess

Assess the situation you wish to automate and determine the “touchpoints.” This means any moment where someone needs to review or otherwise contribute to the process for it to continue. Creating a chart or outline using these touchpoints helps you trace the path of information, from the moment it enters the organization throughout processing until the information is archived or deleted.

Step 2 – Identify

Identify inefficiencies that slow or halt a process. By visualizing the process, you can identify points of overlap that can be streamlined or potential blockages that can be dissolved for better flow. This evaluation also helps you identify potential tools or support systems you may need.

Step 3 – Test

Test different solutions to determine which system best supports your operational needs. Be sure to track both successes and pain points. Not all tools are created equal, and not all businesses will benefit from the same support. It’s important to evaluate what works best for your organization.

Step 4 – Implement

Implement the selected BPA solution and fine-tune processes as needed. Business process automation is a significant investment in an organization’s growth and development. By finding the right solution, you can eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies, support deep work initiatives for your workforce, and coordinate between people, applications, and services.

FileCloud Workflows

FileCloud is an innovative file storage and collaboration platform that provides an all-in-one solution that incorporates the latest advancements in cloud technology, cybersecurity, and business productivity. With the 21.2 release, FileCloud users will be able to take advantage of workflows within the environment to automate their business processes.

Workflows in FileCloud are dynamic and intuitive. Users can create an automated exchange of data between other users and groups, both within and outside their organization. All steps in the workflow comply with pre-existing security and sharing policies set by admins. This hierarchy of security, sharing, and retention policies ensures that data is protected in all contexts.

The workflow’s drag-and-drop tool and no-code approach make building workflows easy and approachable. Users can also review the status of running workflows through the workflow dashboard. Managers and admins can stay on top of projects and processes through real-time reports and automated notifications that provide a summary of activities.

High ROI

The addition of workflows to the FileCloud environment complements existing features and tools available for users, business managers, IT admins, and CTOs. This powerful yet flexible cloud-agnostic solution scales with organizations and responds to changing industry requirements around the world, providing high value and an adaptive strategy.

In addition to workflows, FileCloud has invested in collaborative tools, such as Microsoft Teams and OnlyOffice integrations (newly released), file versioning, locking, and editing conflict management, and granular folder and file-sharing permissions. Built-in document view and editing make working in the FileCloud web application easy, and users can also take advantage of Sync and Drive and mobile applications to work offline or on the go. Endpoint backups preserve your files without the additional burden of manually uploading to the cloud.

Security is a high priority in FileCloud, with such protections as 256-bit encryption for data at rest, SSL/TLS encryption for data in transit, two-factor authentication, SAML and SSO options, embedded antivirus and malware protection, smart classification, data leak protection, and end-user device management (including remote-wipe), among many other settings. The 21.2 release also includes a new ITAR Compliance Center to support emerging regulatory requirements across governments and industries.

Customer service is another significant area of focus. FileCloud has some of the highest ratings across industry comparison sites in the market. Responsive sales and supports teams ensure clients have the exact configuration that meets their organization’s needs and industry requirements. A wealth of support materials, from webinars, articles, and software documentation to explanatory videos and training seminars with FileCloud specialists, provide users with the knowledge and confidence to wield the full strength of FileCloud.

Find out how FileCloud can help you automate your business processes today! Sign up for a FREE 14-day trial or schedule a demo.

A Deep Dive into Workflow Automation

 

Over the past few decades, organizations have faced the challenge of digital transformation. How do you transition from and improve a workplace previously dominated by email, phones, whiteboards, spreadsheets, and hand-written notes? Each of these tools is based mainly on human memory, increasing the possibility of human error. They can be challenging to use for collaboration and provide poor visibility by management, particularly in the remote or hybrid workplace that is becoming the norm.

Organizations can significantly reduce the reliance on outdated communications and tracking software by implementing workflow automation. Workflow automation improves the efficiency and productivity of organizations by streamlining business processes. It also ensures that a clear record of work tasks is maintained for easy tracking and auditing.

There is far less dependence on human memory, task tracking spreadsheets, and employee manuals. Instead, the structure of essential and ongoing processes is held in an accessible, central repository that can easily be accessed or distributed by anyone with the proper authority (using Role-based Permissions).

What is Workflow Automation?

In concise terms, workflow automation is the design, creation, deployment, and management of business processes based on preset rules. This allows work tasks to be automatically triggered between people, technology, data, and other resources.

Workflow automation can be used to standardize work. It allows for compliance policies and business rules to be met. It reduces or eliminates human error and deviation and provides transparency and accountability at all levels of the process. The tactical goal is to ensure that the appropriate workers are focusing on the correct tasks at the proper time and have everything they require to complete said tasks.

A History of Workflow Automation

  • The 1990s. The first workflow-based automation software solutions were created. This software replaced the paper-based workflow processes with electronic versions, allowing companies to replace paper tasks-routing activities with electronic-form processes.
  • The late 1990s. Business rules and tools for modeling allow companies to build, analyze, and visualize business processes. They can see graphical views of current organizational processes and compare them with prospective trial processes to make work more efficient.
  • From 2005. The current era of workflow automation begins with the introduction of business process management (BPM).

Workflow Automation’s Primary Benefits

There are several key benefits to automating workflows and processes:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • More accuracy
  • Real-time visibility of work
  • Individual accountability at the highest level
  • Ability to set meaningful KPIs and collect real-world data that can be used in process improvement
  • More data for better decision-making
  • Improvement in data security

Other possible benefits include:

  • Better customer experience and vendor relations with a reduction in wait times and errors and improvement in communication
  • More job satisfaction since employees are better able to prove and reap the rewards of high performance

In summary, workflow automation can provide a more consistent, positive experience for all your customers regarding the delivery of finished work products. It makes it easier to get work done and track what is being completed.

The ultimate goal of workflow automation is to give you an advantage over manually-driven competitors. This can be achieved by offering higher quality work, lower prices, and faster decision-making.

Statistics on Workflow Automation

Statistics can provide a wealth of information about how workflow automation is affecting organizations. Here are some statistics on the importance of process automation for digital transformation from a survey of 400 IT decision-makers across the US and Europe.

  • 97% of IT decision-makers agree that process automation is key to digital transformation.
  • 67% of businesses are currently implementing business process automation solutions that improve visibility across various systems.
  • 47% of IT leaders agree that the most significant ROI in automation is achieved within operations.
  • 36% have already implemented workflow automation technology.
  • 29% of organizations plan to implement low-code or no-code workflow automation software soon.

How Workflow Automation Can Help Departments

Automation can streamline the work of any department. Here are some ways that workflow automation software can help:

IT

  • Reduce time and energy spent on building tech processes for other departments by empowering others to build workflows with no-code, drag-and-drop workflow automation
  • Manage department assets and track usage trends
  • Assign escalations and tickets to team members based on availability
  • Avoid duplicate support requests
  • Easily execute stakeholder updates

Sales

  • Standardize processes to simplify list building
  • Ensure that all leads receive excellent treatment and never miss a lead because of human error
  • Get in-depth reports of ongoing processes

HR

  • Reduce paperwork and manage documents more easily
  • Streamlined approval process makes it easier to find, verify and hire candidates quickly
  • Improve and speed up onboarding and off-boarding experience
  • Increase the visibility of your workflow

Finance

  • More easily track expenses to avoid unwelcome expenditures
  • Build workflows for approvals and notifications of employee travel, budgeting, and reimbursements
  • Save time processing approvals

Marketing

  • Streamline content creation process
  • Improve quality by making sure the right people approve all content
  • Increase employee accountability
  • Nurture quality leads with a consistent and trackable process

How to Get Started with Workflow Automation

A workflow automation plan starts with a clear goal and ends in process evaluation. Below are the five steps that go into a workflow automation plan.

1. Identify a Core Process

The first step is to determine a process that is core to your team or department. Ask questions like “Is this process mature enough to automate?” and “Do I have the support of the team to automate it?”

2. Define the Objective

Automation has many benefits. It can increase ROI, speed to market, and team productivity. Clarify the expectations of your team regarding automation.

3. Build the Workflow

Next, it is time to build the workflow using your workflow automation platform. The general steps are to create a new workflow, assign rules and permissions for each step, publish the workflow, and share it with your team.

4. Team Training

Workflow automation will only succeed if its stakeholders are willing to use it. Share the benefits with process owners, show them what you have built, and encourage feedback.

5. Measure Performance

Automation will not be fully realized unless your business measures the differences it has made to pre-existing processes through reports or data analytics. How has workflow automation impacted your KPIs and ROI? That is the question you want to answer.

How to Choose the Best Workflow Automation Software

There are many choices in the workflow automation market. Some are universally applicable, while others cater to specific needs. No matter your situation, workflow automation software must be flexible, fast, and able to fulfill your specific requirements. Below are the most important features in workflow automation software.

Easy to Use

Seeing as automation is intended to make life easier, the product must be simple to learn and use. Look for a user-friendly interface, no-code solutions, and a drag-and-drop design.

Good Pricing

Some vendors charge thousands of dollars just to install workflow automation software. Consulting and implementation are not included. Say no to those vendors. As with any product purchase, avoid shady pricing models and look for something transparent and predictable. 

Customization

The ability to build custom processes is essential to reap the full benefits of automation. You need software that can manage everything from simple to complex workflows with many steps and decision branches.

Simple Tracking

Without the ability to review a process, you can’t improve it. The best workflow automation software tools provide built-in reporting that allows you to monitor and analyze tasks so you can refine your processes.

 

Workflow Automation with FileCloud

Below are some benefits of FileCloud’s workflow automation.

Excellent ROI

FileCloud’s workflow automation is integrated with all of FileCloud’s other benefits, including enterprise file storage, collaboration, flexible infrastructure (self-hosted, hybrid, or cloud), unmatched security and compliance, and award-winning support. Managers can replace unnecessary subscriptions like Nintex by using an all-in-one solution.

Ease of Use

The drag-and-drop tool enables users to create business workflows of all levels of complexity. Managers can easily create and share customized workflows with their staff to improve productivity, reduce errors, and simplify high-volume tasks. Additionally, it is easy for users to automate their work thanks to our no-code design. 

Real-time Tracking

Administrators and users can track every step of their processes with an intuitive dashboard that shows all running workflows. 

Get more information about FileCloud’s Workflow Automation >>>

FileCloud Single Sign-on with YubiKey and ADFS

What is SSO?

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication scheme that allows a user to log in with a single ID and password to any of several related, yet independent software systems.

True single sign-on allows the user to log in once and access services without re-entering authentication factors.

What is Two-factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA), sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication, is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. This process is done to better protect both the user’s credentials and the resources the user can access.

What is ADFS?

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), a software component developed by Microsoft, runs on Windows Server operating systems and provides users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across organizational boundaries.

What is a YubiKey?

Yubico offers different types of “YubiKeys”. The most recent release is the YubiKey 5 Series, which comes in USB-A, USB-C, Lightning, and NFC.

The YubiKey is a device that makes two-factor authentication as simple as possible. Instead of a code being texted to you or generated by an app on your phone, simply plug in your YubiKey and press a button. Each device has a unique code built into it, which generates additional codes that help confirm your identity.

YubiKey is used by leaders in the tech industry across widely recognized platforms and software services. These include Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, GitHub, Citrix, SalesForce, DropBox, Facebook, and Twitter, among others.

Set Up FileCloud SSO with ADFS and YubiKey as a 2FA method

  1. Add YubiKey as a two-factor authentication method to ADFS 2019 by following the steps described here.
  2. Find the GitHub Code here.
  3. Add custom attributes to Users in Active Directory by following the steps described here.
  4. Enable SAML SSO in FileCloud using the steps described here here.
  5. Set Up FileCloud SSO with ADFS using the steps described here.

FileCloud SSO with ADFS and YubiKey

When the user plugs in their YubiKey and presses the button to generate the token, the first 12 characters of the code are the YubiKey ID.
ADFS compares the first 12 characters with the YubiKey ID added in the custom attribute. If they match, ADFS sends an API call to a cloud API gateway from the YubiKey. This API call confirms whether the code is valid.

Once validated, the SSO session is confirmed. The user is redirected to their FileCloud dashboard. The whole process is easy, fast, and secure.

Article written by Wail Bouziane

Filecloud Ubuntu OS Upgraded!

Steps to Upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 LTS

Ubuntu 16.04 recently reached EOL, and some of the packages are no longer available in the repository. This creates an interesting challenge because those packages are necessary to run the upgrade.

To upgrade an Ubuntu instance from 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS (where the Filecloud server is running less than 21.1.x), follow the steps below:

Prior to running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you will need to back up the Filecloud server, as well as the  /var/www/html and /var/lib/mongodb paths. The chance of deleting this information during the OS upgrade is very high.

Run Backups:

  1. cp -rvf /var/www/html /var/www/html_backup
  2. cp -rvf /var/lib/mongodb /var/lib/mongodb_bkup

Perform Ubuntu Package Update:

Once the backups are complete, the next step is to perform the Ubuntu package update.

  1. apt-get update -y && apt-get upgrade -y
  2. apt-get dist-upgrade -y
  3. apt-get autoremove -y
  4. sudo reboot
  5. do-release-upgrade

NOTE: Select all the default options when prompted. Toward the end of the upgrade, you will need to restart your computer.

After Updating, Reinstall Packages:

After the upgrade is complete, you will need to reinstall certain packages, as the upgrade will have deleted them. To reinstall apache and php, please follow the steps below:

  1. LC_ALL=C.UTF-8 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php -y
  2. add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/apache2 -y
  3. apt-get install unzip curl rsync python -y
  4. apt-get install apache2 build-essential libssl-dev pkg-config memcached -y
  5. apt-get install php7.2 php7.2-cli php7.2-common php7.2-dev php-pear php-dev php-zmq php7.2-zmq php7.2-json php7.2-opcache php7.2-mbstring php7.2-zip php7.2-memcache php7.2-xml php7.2-bcmath libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-gd php7.2-curl php7.2-ldap php7.2-gmp php7.2-intl libreadline-dev php-pecl-http memcached php7.2-raphf php7.2-propro php7.2-mongodb php7.2-zmq -y
  6. a2enmod php7.2
  7. a2enmod headers
  8. a2enmod ssl
  9. apt-get -y install libmcrypt-dev
  10. cat <(echo “”) | pecl install mcrypt-1.0.2 2>&1
  11. service apache2 status
  12. Retrieve files from the backup (the OS Ubuntu upgrade from v16 to v18 will have removed them)
  13. rsync -avz /var/www/html_backup/ /var/www/html/
  14. chown www-data:www-data /var/www/html -Rf

 

Is your FileCloud version greater or lesser than 20.2? Install the cronjob using these commands:
Greater than 20.2 echo “*/5 * * * * php / /var/www/html/src/Scripts/cron.php” | crontab -u www-data –
20.2 or less echo “*/5 * * * * php /var/www/html/core/framework/cron.php” | crontab -u www-data –

 

If the above cronjob command fails, please follow the below method to troubleshoot the cronjob. Then run the command again.

  1. Check if /etc/cron.allow ; if www-data is present:
  2. vim /etc/cron.allow // Add “www-data” if not present.
  3. crontab -e -u www-data // Make sure that the crontab editor pulls up if it does it will work. exit editor.
  4. crontab -u www-data -l

Set Up PHP CLI:

Now we will set up the PHP CLI.

  1. sudo update-alternatives –set php /usr/bin/php7.2
  2. sudo update-alternatives –set phar /usr/bin/phar7.2
  3. sudo update-alternatives –set phar.phar /usr/bin/phar.phar7.2
  4. sudo update-alternatives –set phpize /usr/bin/phpize7.2
  5. sudo update-alternatives –set php-config /usr/bin/php-config7.2

Run the below command:

php -v // Make sure it shows the version to confirm it is working.
php -m // Make sure it shows the modules to confirm it is working

The expected output should be:

php -v

PHP 7.2.34-23+ubuntu18.04.1+deb.sury.org+1 (cli) (built: Jul  1 2021 16:06:47) ( NTS )

Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group

Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies with the ionCube PHP Loader (enabled) + Intrusion Protection from ioncube24.com (unconfigured) v10.3.2, Copyright (c) 2002-2018, by ionCube Ltd.
with Zend OPcache v7.2.34-23+ubuntu18.04.1+deb.sury.org+1, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

php -m

[PHP Modules]

bcmath

calendar

Core

ctype

curl

date

dom

exif

fileinfo

filter

ftp

gd

gettext

gmp

hash

iconv

intl

ionCube Loader

json

ldap

libxml

mbstring

mcrypt

memcache

mongodb

openssl

pcntl

pcre

PDO

Phar

posix

propro

raphf

readline

Reflection

session

shmop

SimpleXML

sockets

sodium

SPL

standard

sysvmsg

sysvsem

sysvshm

tokenizer

wddx

xml

xmlreader

xmlwriter

xsl

Zend OPcache

zip

zlib

zmq

 

[Zend Modules]

Zend OPcache

the ionCube PHP Loader (enabled) + Intrusion Protection from ioncube24.com (unconfigured)

 

Upgrade FileCloud:

Once Filecloud is reopened, you can run the Filecloud upgrade with this command:

  • Enter: filecloudcp -u

If this command does not work, use:

  • wget http://patch.codelathe.com/tonidocloud/live/installer/filecloud-liu.sh && bash filecloud-liu.sh

 

Conclusion:

With the Ubuntu OS updated, FileCloud can work even better than before! The FileCloud support team is also available to provide assistance or answer questions.

 

Article written by Nandakumar Chitrasuresh