Browsing Posts tagged enterprise mobility

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.

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.

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 partnership with Salesforce.com and are pleased to report that mobilEcho is now listed on the Salesforce AppExchange Mobile. Over the past few months we have been working on an integration with Salesforce.com which will allow companies to empower their field sales force to take full advantage of their iPads and iPhones. mobilEcho users already have access to all the documents and content they need to do their jobs. This new Salesforce.com feature will allow mobilEcho to optionally require a user to log an activity in an Account or Lead when showing a customer a specific file using mobilEcho. So for example, a salesperson could be showing a presentation or data sheet and that activity can then be directly logged into Salesforce.com. This helps with productivity and it also helps enterprises get more accurate, up to date client activities.

This is especially relevant for regulated industries, such as finance, healthcare, pharma, biotech, insurance, energy, government and others, who want to be able to provide secure mobile file access for their field forces utilizing Salesforce.com. And it fits nicely into one of the mobile use cases we still see constantly: the remote sales force or service personnel.

Today we announced mobilEcho 3.0. This new release, which is available immediately from the Apple App Store (client) and our website (server), adds several critical components to mobilEcho. These components are a direct result of the feedback we have received from customers since the May launch of the initial mobilEcho product. This release not only greatly expands the number of devices we can run on; it also significantly expands the flexibility and the use of the product.

Let’s review a few of the key features:
• Now supports iPad and iPhone
o This has been something that has been requested by a number of our customers. mobilEcho can now be run on your iPhone. And we are not charging anything extra for this as we now license by user. So a user can have an iPad and iPhone and it’s one price.
• Comprehensive PDF preview and annotation providing users a completely secure method to review, comment, and annotate documents while meeting corporate security, compliance and governance standards (available on iPad only)
o This is a great feature for those security and compliance-aware organizations that do not want docs floating out of the security of the sandbox. This allows users to preview, annotate and provide commentary on PDFs and then put them back on the server.
• Direct access to the employee’s unique Active Directory assigned home directory.
o This makes the use of home directories much easier for IT and users. Enhances access to desktop documents.
• Support for automatic one-way sync from the server to the employee device, for easy access to the latest document changes when offline.
o This is a great feature for those one-to-many file distribution situations. The best examples are for a remote sales force where they need to access documents that are frequently changed. With the syncing capability, organizations can ensure that their mobile sales force, their service personnel or other similar groups, always have access to the most up to date information from their mobile devices.
• Centrally managed simplified device enrollment.
o With the larger installations (1000s of devices) this feature is imperative so that IT is not spending tons of time on deployment and implementation.
• Enhanced management features that include per-device status tracking, remote wipe and password reset.
o Again, functionality that will greatly simplify the management tasks for IT but also given them the tools that give them greater flexibility in their mobilEcho deployments.

There is more than this but I thought I’d just highlight some of the features that I think are most noteworthy.

And we are already working on our next release so we are very interested in hearing any feedback you may have. As I have mentioned before, our roadmap is guided by our customers and we are in constant discussions to prioritize the right feature/functions.

You can learn more about mobilEcho 3.0 at our webcast next week which is on Wednesday Nov 2 at 11 am EDT. You can register here.

As always, we look forward to hearing any feedback or comments.

Today we put out a press release on a customer success story with Bedford Industries and their implementation of mobilEcho. You can read more here. I spoke to Royce back in early September and one of the things that I quickly realized during our conversation was that Royce and Bedford’s experience with mobilEcho was exactly how we envisioned the product.

First of all, Bedford has been a long time GroupLogic customer using our ExtremeZ-IP solution to provide seamless integration of Mac clients in Windows server environments. So we had a happy longtime customer that was now facing the prospect of integrating iPads into their enterprise. mobilEcho and its Mobile File Managements (MFM) functionality was a perfect fit for their organization. They wanted to give access to files that sat on corporate servers to their salespeople. The same access that they had in the office they wanted to give to them when they were out of the office and using their iPads. But they wanted to do so in a secure manner and they wanted to have IT remain in control. mobilEcho was the perfect fit. I recall Royce telling me that the iPad was valuable on its own but mobilEcho made it even more valuable. And he cited examples where it’s already had an impact on business because now people in the field have access to information from their mobile device that they previously did not have.

We will be publishing more customer success stories over the next few months and I will write about them here as well.

Also, November 2 we will be hosting our monthly live demo and webinar. This one will be a bit different than the other ones as we will be talking about some new stuff that we are very excited about. You can register here or just visit our home page for the link .

Today we announced a new development and marketing partnership with Good Technology where GroupLogic’s secure Mobile File Management (MFM) solution mobilEcho™ will support integration with the Good Dynamics™ platform. Joint customers will be able to deploy mobilEcho within the Good Dynamics environment. This follows Good Technology’s announcement of their early ISV partners for their Good Dynamics platform.  Good Dynamics is a new security platform for mobile application development targeting developers of both enterprise and consumer applications. We are one of the early adopters of the plaform, and are already working closely with them to ensure that mobilEcho runs simply and securely within the Good Dynamics environment.

There are several reasons why this relationship, and others like it, is important for enterprises. First, this announcement, and others, show that what has appeared to me to be a fairly fragmented market with many, many vendors is further embracing the notion of the ecosystem and its importance. Enterprises do not want 10s (or even 100s) of disparate pieces of mobility software running in their enterprise and on their mobile clients. They want integration which simplifies management and maintains security. Second, it reinforces the idea that Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile File Management (MFM) are complementary and the foundation of any enterprise mobility strategy. This is what we are hearing from customers every day especially those enterprises that are starting to take a long term view of what they want to do with mobility and the significant impact that will have on how their employees use mobility in their every day worklife. Said more simply, we are only at the beginning.

If you are interested in seeing more on what we are doing with Good Technology and Good Dynamics, we also did a video showing how mobilEcho works within the Good Dynamics platform. This was shown last at the CTIA show in San Diego at an event that Good was hosting. It can also be seen here on our website.

You can also read our press release on our web site at http://www.grouplogic.com/about/press/

Also, if you want to learn more about mobilEcho we are doing our monthly live demo and chat tomorrow (wednesday October 12) at 11 am. You can register here.