Browsing Posts tagged activEcho

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.

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.

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.