Browsing Posts published by Anders Lofgren

Did you know that by 2014 employee-owned smartphones and tablets used for business will more than double to nearly 350 million (Juniper Research)? A mobile workforce can be a boon for employers in many regards—think productivity. If employees can access the network anywhere, anytime, on the device of their choosing, limitations of the traditional nine-to-five workday no longer exist. Not to mention the potential to work more efficiently, while cutting down on monetary and environmental costs.

But the thought of hundreds of thousands of devices accessing the enterprise network can be enough to keep IT managers and CEOs up at night—and with good reason. Between faulty hardware, hackers, and the occasional human error (lost phones, for example), enterprise mobility can expose an organization to security and compliance risks.

As BYOD shows no signs of slowing down, how can your organization equip itself to be on the cusp of this shift in the way business is done, while minimizing the potential threats?

Here are five tips for embracing BYOD, while also making sure your company isn’t vulnerable to any security risks:

1. Complete a full security audit – Have the IT department evaluate the corporate network for vulnerabilities that come with opening up the network to dozens (even thousands) of new devices, and update the security infrastructure accordingly.

2. Implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) – MDM can go a long way toward providing management and security for mobile devices. Companies should require that all employees enroll their devices that access the network in a corporate MDM system. By doing so, devices can be automatically configured for access to corporate email and resources. In addition, any necessary restrictions and policies can be applied using MDM, such as ensuring that devices require an unlock code to be accessed.

3. Use solutions that integrate with Active Directory, or a similar tool – For many regulated industries, tracking which devices are accessing the network is critical. With Active Directory integration, you can ensure a level of monitoring that meets the strictest of compliancy regulations—for example, knowing the details of exactly which devices are accessing the corporate network at all times.

4. Provide simple solutions to allow employees to access corporate content in a secure manner – File access needs to be managed and secured—and Mobile File Management solutions can help with this—but file access also needs to be easy for employees to use. There are many unsafe consumer grade file-sharing alternatives that employees can resort to if the solution provided by the enterprise isn’t user-friendly. An ideal solution is one that has the simplicity and ease-of-use provided by consumer grade solutions with enterprise grade security.

5. Role-based access to data – By employing solutions that integrate with Active Directory, or similar tools, enterprises can easily provide the right level of access. You can allow employees to have the same access and permissions as they do from their desktops and laptops, or have much tighter restrictions on mobile access. The right tool will give you the flexibility to choose.

6. Being prepared for the worst to happen – It’s inevitable that, at some point, employees will lose or break their devices. Make sure you have a plan in place so they know how to report it and get the device wiped and removed from accessing the network.

By embracing mobility with a solid plan in place, your organization can not only minimize the threat of security risks, but, more importantly, maximize the benefits of the mobile enterprise.

Today’ post on activEcho 2.5 comes from the activEcho Product Manager, Marcelo Andrieu. Thanks, Marcelo! – Anders

Today we are releasing activEcho 2.5. This is an exciting release as we have been working with many customers over the past few months to nail down their evolving requirements for file sharing and syncing. Many of these conversations are with our customers in healthcare, financial services, pharma, education, publishing, advertising, government, and legal. This is a fast-moving market and although customers were very happy with our 2.1 release, they always come up with new requirements! They learn and we learn together. So in line with this non-stop evolution and constant re-iteration of the product, this is what we’ve been doing to address their needs with 2.5:

• IT needs better storage management and control. In activEcho 2.5 we are adding storage quotas. For Active Directory users and ad-hoc users, IT can set policies and users can view quota status, receive alerts and purge unneeded content when demanded. This helps IT to keep storage demand under control as well as on budget.

• Users wanted more sharing and syncing options. So, we added “download only” and “read only” folder settings. Very useful for one-way document sharing and distribution, typical in many organizations. In addition, users wanted control on what to sync, so in 2.5 we also added the ability to define what folders are synced to Mac and PC desktops or just stay on the server for access via mobile devices or using a web browser.

• Compliance, security and content control. Organizations have been asking for the ability to take ownership or re-assign ownership of content when circumstances demand it. For instance, when an employee leaves the organization it seems reasonable to be able to make somebody else responsible for his/her content, projects and such. So we added a new administrative “change content ownership” feature to give IT that ability.

• Scalability and performance for large structures. We enhanced our Active Directory support, login compatibility and other parts of the product to ensure we perform at light speed even when dealing with tens of thousands of users in the system.

• And several other functions like more management options for mobile devices, tighter integration with mobilEcho and refinements to existing features.

We’re sure our customers will enjoy these new set of features. But we and our customers have short memories, so since 2.5 is out, we are already working on the next one. You can expect to see us rolling out new exciting features soon.

Yesterday we announced our new mobilEcho 3.7, which includes our much-anticipated Good Dynamics integration. There are a number of reasons why our work with Good Technology is very important to customers and I thought I would explain some of them:

1. Integration is good (pun intended) – Both Good Technology and GroupLogic are focused on providing customers with secure and managed enterprise mobility functionality. With Good Dynamics integration, customers can now have seamless and secure access to files while the Good Dynamics container provides a secure ecosystem of enterprise apps. Customers can enjoy both without any hassles.
2. FIPS-certified crypto – this is especially relevant for Federal customers here in the United States but other non-Federal organizations and companies take notice of this as well. And, this goes without saying almost, encryption on the device and in transit is paramount.
3. Support for BYOD – the combination of Good Dynamics and mobilEcho can accelerate BYOD initiatives as companies can now provide employees with a work container that secures files and content for the organization, while not impacting any of the employee’s personal apps and data. If an employee leaves, or a device is lost/stolen, the IT administrator simply wipes the mobilEcho app and/or all the other apps with the Good Dynamics environment remotely.
4. Ease of deployment – it’s easy to deploy mobilEcho within the Good Dynamics environment. This makes it as frictionless as possible.

We have already seen a tremendous response from customers on this and expect to hear more. If you want to learn more about mobilEcho 3.7 and the Good Dynamics integration you can watch this video. Or take a look at the data sheet here.

You can also learn more about Good Dynamics on Good’s web site here.

Another post from Marcelo Andrieu, Product Manager for ActivEcho. This one covers some of the discussions he is having with our customers – Anders

Every quarter we spend a whole day working out what will come in the next 2 or 3 releases of our products. With our recent introduction of activEcho in March, I am busier than ever talking to our customers to see what they are doing, what’s important and what’s not. They manage to get me down to Earth pretty quickly. It’s never boring. We talk mostly about features, use cases, security, performance, storage, deployment, trends. All very interesting things.

One theme that came up consistently in this round of discussions can be paraphrased like this: “so, if you had to rank what makes your IT life difficult, what would that be?” And the answers came back like this:

• Unexpected service disruptions
• Security policy changes
• User account management for applications and services.
• Client software updates

The one that really captured my curiosity was #3, user account management. Here’s what I see in the organizations I talk to:

The companies I talk to have a wide range of users; anywhere from 500 to 10,000 users. Some of those people work in teams, sometimes they interact with customers, vendors, partners and other outside constituents. They need to exchange document – big and small. Many try to send those documents using email. That can cause problems for IT. Storage, size restrictions and security are obvious issues. Then they try to provide other means: SharePoint, FTP servers, DropBox and others. But here’s the problem. More often than not, somebody has to take care of creating accounts, logins, assign storage, for internal and external users. Then, somebody has to “remember” to delete or disable those accounts that are not needed anymore. Simply put, you need a consistent, repeatable user deployment and management capability.

“How bad is it?” I would ask. The answer comes back something like this: “well, we’ll receive a request, it would take us a day or 2 to provision an account, then we try to keep track when that account is supposed to expire. There are other housekeeping task like protecting and deleting legacy documents, resetting passwords. In general somebody will spend about 2 hours a week taking care of all this.”
Waiting for “a day or 2 to provision the account” sounds pretty bad to me considering the crazy speed business is conducted at in the 21st century.

Think about it this way:

2 hours/week = 8 hours/month = 96 hours/ year. Hmmm… that’s more than 2 full weeks worth of work. I am sure companies could use that time for more strategic projects given a skilled IT person’s time and cost.

activEcho can help address this. activEcho can automate account provisioning and management by using Active Directory (AD) for internal users. For external users, activEcho provides policies and automation so users don’t need to request accounts every single time. IT sets and maintains the policies. Everything else just happens. That’s good for IT and makes life simple for happy and productive users.

This week’s post is from Marcelo Andrieu, who is the Product Manager for our new activEcho Enterprise File Sharing solution. Marcelo, thanks for the post! – Anders

For some reason in the software business people think about dot releases as if they are not that relevant. After all, what’s in it? they say. Maybe some minor improvements and bug fixes?

Well, that is certainly not true anymore. Several years ago we embraced the Agile development process. This means we are releasing versions all the time and we have a great deal of flexibility. We can rapidly change the scope and features of release to respond to what our customers need. Instead of 1 release every 12-18 months, we may have 4 to 6 in the same period within a year.

This brings us to activEcho 2.1, which we are releasing today. We have had numerous conversations with our customers from many diverse markets including healthcare, financial services, education, publishing, advertising, government, and legal. In addition we talked to the VAR and service provide community. And, as you can imagine, they are impatient! So we have rolled out some new features which we believe are important. :

• IT wanted more infrastructure and storage management and control. In activEcho, when a user deletes a document it’s actually “marked as deleted” but remains in the system to recover in case it is needed. With 2.1, IT can implement policies to purge deleted content after a period of time of their choosing. This helps keep storage under control. In addition, activEcho now has policies to define how many revisions of a document must be kept in the system. This not only helps with storage costs, but more importantly, it addresses key to compliance needs.

• Exporting event logs. IT needs to be able to not only view the event logs, but also be able to do something useful with it. With our new export capability, IT can click a button in their browser, save the log on to their desktop, and load it into Excel. Quick, easy, useful.

• Skinning and branding for the organization. Organizations like to “blend” solutions like activEcho with the look and feel of the corporate brand, etc. other elements. We already had “skinning”, customization and branding capabilities, so we added more of it plus a sophisticated interface to completely customize email notifications and alerts for users and administrators, embedding images, signatures, legal disclaimers and such. T

• And something for the endusers – very powerful and easy to use 1 and 2 way sync for mobile devices. We have also added a bookmarking capability, enhanced notification subscription options and easier access for Windows, Mac and web browser users.

This is just the beginning of the many new features we are bringing to activEcho and you can expect to see us roll out a significant number of new features as we continue to evolve our Enterprise File Sharing solution.

This week, mobilEcho’s Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, takes over the blog. Thanks, Brian! – Anders

At GroupLogic, we are constantly working to enhance mobilEcho’s ability to provide simple, secure, and managed access to your essential files and documents. We have received lots of feedback and have many great features and enhancements coming soon. A few of these were made available last week with the release of mobilEcho 3.6. This latest version of mobilEcho adds a number of powerful features:

- Bookmarking of frequently used folders for quick ‘shortcut’ access.
- Quickoffice® “Save Back” of edited documents directly to the mobilEcho location they were opened from, either on the device or the server.
- Server-based folders can now be selected for 1-way or 2-way syncing to the device, from within the mobilEcho app. (Don’t worry, IT is still in control. User-creation of sync folders can be disabled using mobilEcho client management policies.)
- iPad Retina display optimized graphics.

The free mobilEcho 3.6 app is available in the App Store and will appear in the App Store app on your iOS device as an update if you already have mobilEcho installed. The mobilEcho 3.6 server software is available as a free trial and as a free update for existing customers with current maintenance & support contracts.

We look forward to hearing more feedback. Please let us know what you think at mobilEcho@grouplogic.com.

Last week we introduced activEcho our new Enterprise File Sharing solution. We got a great response some of which you can see here. I also wanted to give some early feedback that we are hearing from our customer conversations in the last week which are really an extension of the comments we were hearing during our 3+ month long beta program. Today, I will focus on the on-premise deployment capabilities for activEcho customers. Customers keep telling us this is one of the biggest advantages of activEcho.

To start we can just take a look at what one of our customers, Ron Kuykendall, Chief Information Officer of Bank of the Ozarks, said (emphasis is mine) in our press release:

“Our users – including executives with iPads – are in need of a simple solution for sharing and collaborating on files and synchronizing those files across their desktops, laptops and tablets. Before we found GroupLogic, we looked at various cloud-based solutions – but they were very consumer-oriented and didn’t address our security and compliance needs. In particular, we just don’t want our data off-site where we can’t control it,” “GroupLogic’s activEcho provides the simple sharing and synchronization to make our users more productive – both internally and working with customers and partners outside the firm. And it supports iPad and other mobile devices. But, unlike consumer-oriented solutions that are out of our control, we can run activEcho on our own infrastructure, and we get the security, visibility and compliance capabilities that we need.”

For regulated industries, such as financial services, and anyone in a security or compliance sensitive organization, the ability to maximize their control is a key decision factor. The on-premise capabilities of activEcho provide customers the freedom to choose the most appropriate model for their organization. They can run it on-premise or in the cloud, in their own instance in Amazon, for example.

The reason why on-premise is so popular with these organizations is because it allows enterprises to have the right security and management in place. Said more simply, the enterprise remains in control.

This gives enterprises several things they are looking for:

1. Control – many organizations want to remain in control of their files. There are concerns about cloud from a security perspective (for example, Dropbox has had many publicized security issues in the last year), performance, and just a general concern about the stability of some of these cloud players. Many of them are new companies that have been around for less than 5 years and in some cases less than 2-3 years. So customers have to ask themselves, what happens to my files if this company disappears?

2. Security – with an on-premise solution many of the company’s existing security policies and infrastructure can be extended to activEcho. Customers tell us this is very appealing as they have invested substantial time and money to create the policies and infrastructure, so it’s ideal to leverage that investment for their activEcho deployment. In addition, activEcho adds a number of key security capabilities such as Active Directory integration, encryption, user whitelists/blacklists, remote wipe of activEcho on mobile devices, etc. that are independent of whether its run on-premise or in the cloud. You can get more details in this white paper.

3. Management – on-premise gives the enterprise control of the solution, including control of the servers, storage and the backup/recovery.

4. Leveraging Existing Storage Investments – Customers tell us they prefer to leverage their existing storage infrastructure which they have already acquired. This gives them better insight into usage but they also sleep better knowing that their files are on storage infrastructure of their choosing.

As I have pointed out in other blogs, we want to give customers the flexibility to choose the model that is right for them. For many organizations, on-premise is that right choice.

Today we are announcing activEcho, our new Enterprise File Sharing solution. In today’s enterprise, people are more collaborative and more mobile than they have ever been. Unfortunately, in some cases this has led many people to use tools and methods that are unsecure, unmanaged, unmonitored and putting enterprises at risk. For example, there are enterprise customers that are using consumer cloud services, such as Dropbox, to get access to their files on their iPads. This might be done unbeknownst to IT or IT has turned a blind eye to the problem. This is not acceptable to security- and compliance-sensitive corporations as well as regulated industries.

What’s required is a solution that provides the simplicity of consumer-grade solutions with the enterprise-grade security, management and flexibility required in today’s IT environments.  This is what hundreds of organizations we spoke to were demanding – secure Enterprise File Sharing and Syncing. We built activEcho based on this demand.

It’s all about letting people collaborate with others as well as allowing them to get access to their files across all their various devices – desktops, laptops, iPads, iPhones. But where activEcho differs from many other products and services is that it provides the features and functions that puts IT back in control.

activEcho is the only Enterprise File Sharing (EFS) solution that balances the end user’s need for simplicity with the security, manageability and flexibility required by enterprise IT.  And we do this in several ways:

  1. activEcho was built from an enterprise perspective – We have over 20 years of enterprise experience and hundreds of customers were spoken to in its development.
  2. Flexibility – we allow the enterprise to choose the infrastructure model that is best for them. They can run it on-premise or they can choose it run it in their own private cloud. Or they can run it in Amazon. The point is that IT remains in control and decides what is the best model for them. Most of our beta customers chose to run it on-premise and we believe that will continue to happen in security- and compliance-sensitive corporations as well as regulated industries.
  3. Secure mobile experience – activEcho’s mobile client is really easy to use but where it really shines is the functionality it provides beyond other solutions.
  4. Security  – activEcho provides many key security features that are requirements for many enterprises, including:
    1. Active Directory Integration
    2. Encryption of data at rest and in-motion
    3. Creation of user whitelists and blacklists to control who is sharing file with whom
    4. Full logging, tracking and history of operations
    5. Remote wipe capabilities for mobile devices
    6. Many of the features are administrator-configurable

There is a lot more obviously. We are really excited about this product especially the feedback we have received from our beta customers and some of them have already spoken with their wallets as we have closed several deals already on day one of availability. If you want to see for yourself you can download our free 21-day trial at our web site (www.grouplogic.com). Also a full list of feature/functions can be found on our web site.  In addition, you can watch this video which gives an overview of activEcho and the customer problems we are trying to solve.

Last week we introduced mobilEcho 3.5, the latest version of our Mobile File Management solution. In this version we introduced a number of new features including:

• Two-way syncing of files;
• HTTPS Reverse Proxy password and certificate authentication;
• Streamlined device enrollment process;
• Integration with Quickoffice’s “Save Back” feature; and
• Whitelisting or blacklisting of third party apps allowed to “Open In.”

One of the things we continue to hear from our customers loud and clear is the need for security. Many of the features that we have introduced with 3.5 have their origins in requests from customers that were security-related. HTTPS Reverse Proxy password and certificate authentication enables requiring two-factor authentication which is a frequent request, especially from financial services companies. Integration with Quickoffice and their “Save Back” feature allows a user to access a document in mobilEcho, use “Open In” to open the doc in Quickoffice, edit it, and then save it back to mobilEcho. This also sets the stage for some other cool things we will be able to do in the future. The whitelisting and blacklisting was yet another request by customers, many in regulated industries. The IT and Security departments want the ability to limit the apps that can be used to open a file from mobilEcho. Again, the demand from the enterprise is to ensure that mobile users are not employing non-sanctioned tools so that they can limit their security and compliance exposure.

This is not to minimize the introduction of two-way syncing or the improved enrollment process. For example, the one-way syncing feature we’ve had since last year has been extremely well received by our customers. One hailed as the feature that made mobilEcho a true “business platform.” With the introduction of two-way syncing the ability to collaborate on files is even greater with mobilEcho.

As I have noted in past posts, this is a continuing theme for mobilEcho and it will continue to be a theme for a long time. We have many more exciting features we will be rolling out in the next few months so stay tuned…

Today we announced a new version of our ExtremeZ-IP solution. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3 we continue to provide the only true solution for seamless integration of Mac Computers and Windows servers. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we continue to make performance improvements and other enhancements that make ExtremeZ-IP the cornerstone of any enterprise Mac and Windows server strategy.

Today, thousands of organizations are using ExtremeZ-IP to meet their business needs. Historically, these have been concentrated in what I would call core Apple strongholds – advertising, media and entertainment, print/publishing, graphic designers, other creative fields, and education – but over the last two years we have seen an increase in interest from non-traditional verticals. This is partially due to the BYOD/Consumerization trend where employees are now either demanding to be able to use Mac Computers at their work or IT departments that are seeing the benefits of allowing employees to choose their platform. ExtremeZ-IP makes this decision a lot easier by providing the seamless integration required to avoid unnecessary help desk calls, performance issue, file corruption issues, incompatibilities and to maintain the integrity of the Mac user experience. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we make this decision even easier.

Another reason for the growth of Mac Computers has been the halo effect of the iPad and iPhone. Clearly, these two products have given Apple unprecedented visibility, and many enterprises have taken a second look at their approach to Apple products. This InfoWorld article, amongst many others, lays it out pretty well from a numbers perspective. And certainly yesterday’s Apple results showed that Mac’s presence in the marketplace is accelerating.

Another interesting item that crossed my desk a few weeks ago was data combining iPad and Mac and showing how adding in iPad drastically changes how you look at Apple. I know this topic gets people all riled up on whether or not iPad is replacing or augmenting desktops/laptops. I don’t think it’s an either/or scenario. But there is no doubt it is having an impact. Far more interesting is that PC sales are decreasing and Mac sales are increasing. And it’s not a subtle difference; it’s very significant. This article from Fortune does a good job of showing the impact and the trajectory. Please note that the second graph is the correct chart and that this chart came out before yesterday’s results.

From our point of view, we are in the business of supporting new platforms as they get implemented in the enterprise. We have done that for over 10 years with ExtremeZ-IP and today we continued and enhanced our support. With the increase of Mac usage in the enterprise there are many more opportunities in front of us. With mobilEcho, iPad and iPhone can also now be integrated into any environment. At the heart of what we are doing its really not just about platforms, but really about giving users seamless access to files with a lot of value add functionality and an enterprise focus on security and management.

Stay tuned for more new stuff from us in the next couple of months. Things are going to be happening very quickly…