Browsing Posts tagged enterprisemobility

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.

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 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 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 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.

There is no doubt that security is one of the key topics raised by customers when discussing their enterprise mobility strategies. One of the first things I would say about mobile security is that good mobile security starts with good overall security. What I mean by that is that mobile security has to be viewed in the greater context of an overall security infrastructure within an enterprise. Why? There are several reasons, but scaling and streamlining management is one, setting a universal set of policies is another (although there needs to be flexibility here), and to address the notion that a security plan is only as good as its weakest link. So you can’t view mobile security in isolation, especially given the current and projected proliferation of these devices and their increasing usage.

From a mobility perspective, many of these discussions start with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions such as those from Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others. However, there is also a need to provide secure Mobile File Management (MFM). Just like enterprises need to provide simple and secure file access to their desktop and laptop users, they also need to do that on mobile devices. This means an MFM solution requires several things:

1. Providing encryption in-transit as well as on the device
2. Integrating with existing security infrastructure, such as Active Directory
3. Giving IT the management capabilities to turn functions on/off to meet corporate security policies. For example, the ability to turn on/off the “open in” function.
4. Remote wipe so that the application and its data can be permanently deleted if the device is lost, stolen or compromised.
5. Having control of the file servers/storage resources themselves.
6. Ability to audit both management and user activities.

And there is much more of course but those are some of the basics to think about. If you are interested in hearing more about mobilEcho, we are holding a live demo/webinar/chat on October 12 at 11am Eastern (4pm GMT). The registration is here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/523964858 . This is a general overview of mobilEcho but highlights many of the enterprise security features as well.

We have been holding monthly webinars and live demos on mobilEcho for a few months now, and we have received a tremendous response (even for what would be considered down months in July and August). One of the things we learned pretty early on is that there is no substitute for seeing the product in action and that is why we these live demo sessions have been so popular (and why we do the 21-day free trial). Our mobilEcho Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, runs through a few quick slides then spends the majority of the time demo’ing the client and management capabilities of mobilEcho. And we answer questions via chat. Hope you can join us.

You can follow me on Twiitter @andersgl and you can follow GroupLogic @grouplogic.

In my last post, I talked about Mobile File Management (MFM) and why I thought it was important (Essentially, it makes up for the lack of an iPad file system, amongst other things). One question that comes up occasionally with our customers is, “how are you different than mobile device management (MDM)? Do I need both?” They are, in fact, very different; addressing very different needs. I would also say that they are very complementary solutions and for an enterprise, they are both core to any enterprise mobility strategy.

Just by way of short definitions. MDM helps organizations to manage, secure and monitor the mobile HW and OS. MFM provide secure and managed access to corporate files and content. I am sure some would quibble over these oversimplified definitions but I am just trying to put a general framework around it. The point is that they are not competitive and address very different customer needs. In discussions with customers we will naturally hear about their use of various MDM vendors such as Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others.

The point I am making is that as enterprise mobility continues to grow there are a number of core functions that need to be there. Some of them are obvious (ex. Email). Others are not as obvious yet. But it is very clear from the conversations we have with enterprise customers that there needs to be a whole ecosystem of functionality around mobility In other words, a group of core applications that are applicable to just about every enterprise user and organization. This is obviously still evolving although some of the pieces already exist but it is fragmented. My expectation is that enterprises will be looking to address necessary management and security functions in a number of different areas. MDM and MFM are but two critical areas, and from my perspective, they are completely complementary.

One of the things that we are always being asked for internally is use cases. With mobilEcho that has not been a problem as we are constantly talking to our customers and potential customers about their enterprise mobility strategies and how they use (or would like to use) mobilEcho. Since a lot of this is the great new frontier with iPads and other devices, use cases have either run all over the place or are very industry, or company, specific. However, early on we did start seeing a few consistent themes that kept popping up. In the next few weeks, I will start outlining these on this blog to give you some insight into the kind of requests we are getting. Obviously this is a bit of a moving target as new ideas are always coming up.

What prompted this was that my wife came back from the hairdresser and told me that they gave her an iPad to look at while she was waiting. I suppose this is an obvious substitute for the magazines that always sit around in places where you have to wait (doctor, dentist, barber, etc.). But it made me start to think about some not-so-obvious uses of enterprise mobility and mobilEcho. I have some ideas on this that I will share after we have presented the main use cases we are seeing today.

One thing to remember is that we provide simple, secure and managed enterprise Mobile File Management (MFM). This is targeted at companies that have security, compliance, governance and management needs.  These use cases are from companies that care about these important factors.

The four primary use cases are as follows:

  1. Empowering Decision Making with Anytime, Anywhere Access – this was initially focused on execs who were bringing iPads into the office and demanded that IT support them. I think this has broadened well beyond execs at this point.
  2. Field Personnel Retrieve Secure Access to Critical Documents, Improving Productivity and SLA Compliance  – this is an obvious one where remote personnel need access to product documentation, for example, and needs online and offline access. This can be further broken down into Field Support and Field Sales which have some different needs.
  3. Driving Team Collaboration with Mobility – general team collaboration extended beyond the desktop/laptop to mobile devices.
  4. iPad Accelerates the Paperless Office Movement – the initial focus here was on board meetings with the ability to allow access to information and then wipe it afterwards. But this has far greater applicability beyond the board. I have even heard of companies where they will provide all documentation via iPad for their annual sales meetings. This includes giving all the sales reps iPads. Apparently cheaper than printing. So it also has a green angle on it as well. The related use case is in the education market with things like digital textbooks.

So in the next few weeks I will publish these on our blog and then also make them available on our website (www.grouplogic.com). And as I mentioned I have also started to keep track of other use cases that have come up or we have thought of that are not yet fully baked that we’ll present here for discussion.

Also, you can follow me on twitter @andersgl.

When we started developing mobilEcho last Fall, one of the basic “givens” that underscored our efforts was that we know who we are: GroupLogic is an enterprise-driven company delivering enterprise-class products regardless of size. Whether it’s the the large financial services or pharma company with 1000s of iPads or the SMB looking to support 25 iPads, these organizations can be sure that critical corporate assets are protected and properly managed. That’s what we did, and will continue to do with all of our products.

Specific to mobilEcho, our core message is grounded in the value propositions of Simple, Secure and Managed. It’s designed to be simple for the end-user, secure to protect the organization’s critical assets, and managed so IT can easily and quickly deploy and maintain the system without incurring escalating costs. Further enhancing these core tenets, we are announcing today several new key enterprise-level components with mobilEcho 2.1. With this new release we are adding support for Microsoft DFS and Network Reshare capabilities to make Mobile File Management (MFM) even more simple and manageable by enhancing scalability and ease-of deployment.

In our discussions with some of our larger customers we have found that both of these functionalities are critical. Here is why:

  • DFS – Support for Distributed File System (DFS) means mobile users can now access files and resources located in consolidated DFS storage. Many larger enterprises use DFS and this is just a basic requirement for them.
  • Network Reshare – Network Reshare allows a single mobilEcho server to give access to files on additional file servers. This presents several opportunities. First, it gives you great scalability as it simplifies the deployment of mobile access to many servers. Second, it simplifies the overall management in enterprises where there are 10s to 100s of servers (or NAS devices) and/or they are geographically dispersed. Third, network reshare allows you to set up a proxy server within your firewall DMZ, giving you much greater security. Finally, with network reshare, organizations can now gain mobile access to SMB/CIFS capable non-Windows servers, such as Linux servers, and NAS devices, such as NetApp, EMC, IBM or others. This greatly expands flexibility for an enterprise.

As I mentioned, mobilEcho 2.1 is already available and we will be hosting another demo webinar in two weeks where we’ll walk you through all the client-side and management features of mobilEcho. We have found that these demos are invaluable for enterprises in truly understanding why Mobile File Management (MFM) is critical to their enterprise mobility strategy. If you are interested you can register here. If you just have some questions you can also contact us at mobilEcho@grouplogic.com.

Today, we made a major product announcement at TechCrunch Disrupt with the introduction of mobilEcho, the industry’s first mobile file management (MFM) solution. We believe mobilEcho is a game changer for the enterprise and the evolution of mobility. Enterprises  can now take advantage of all the productivity and user benefits of iPad without worrying about the security and management of enterprise files by implementing  mobilEcho. With the simplicity demanded by end-users, and the security and management required by enterprise IT, mobilEcho provides organizations with the foundation for their mobile file management strategy.

Here’s how mobilEcho works: enterprise IT can now provide secure access to enterprise file servers for any iPad user, eliminating the need for work-arounds that compromise the security of critical corporate assets and files. Time-sucking and security-violating actions like emailing files to yourself or uploading critical files into unsecure, third-party consumer cloud storage systems are no longer necessary to address the demand for access to corporate files and content.

With mobilEcho, IT managers simply install software on the file server, configure user permissions based on Active Directory, and—voila!—your entire enterprise is ready to go within minutes. It’s that simple. Then, the end-user downloads the mobilEcho client from the AppStore to the iPad, and instant, secure access to the file server is now available.

Here’s what iPad users AND IT Managers can do with mobilEcho:

  • Access, Browse, Preview, Cache and Search Files on Corporate File Server through a familiar, PC-style intuitive application interface making it simple to use with virtually no end-user learning curve;
  • Encrypt and securely transfer files to and on iPad, ensuring corporate assets are not compromised in transit;
  • Remotely wipe mobilEcho configuration and resident  files in the event of a lost, stolen or compromised device, protecting corporate files;
  • Integrate easily with Active Directory, enforcing user access rights and file permissions;
  • Configure and deploy both server and client software in less than 10 minutes ensuring IT can get up and running quickly;
  • Enforce unique application requirements, including turning off or on features based on the enterprise’s unique security requirements, including the end-user’s ability to email files, view files in third-party applications and store files on-device.

So why is this so cool?

When I joined the company back in August we started right in on developing a new product strategy. It was clear to us that iPad was already having a major impact on the enterprise. Today, that seems a bit more obvious than it was back then. What’s cool (and completely different) with mobilEcho is that it is inherently designed to address a key concern weighing on the shoulders of EVERY IT organization considering using iPad in their operations – security and management. And, of course we also wanted to make it simple for the enduser. But make no mistake, it is a product designed based on the requirement we heard from 100s of IT folks.

Without a doubt, mobilEcho enhances the capabilities of iPad as an enterprise platform—whether an enterprise is deploying them for a specific work process like sales, field service, asset management, executives, or, basically, any employee OR wants to support employee-owned devices that are being brought into the workplace (like it or not).

mobilEcho gives users access to all of their files- something that’s a “given” with a laptop. Also a “given” with a laptop?  Storing files locally on device to view offline. BUT, not so with iPad. mobilEcho solves all these problems with a simple to use (and familiar) interface for the enduser as well as security and management controls  for the enterprise and IT organization.

And we’d love for you to try mobilEcho. So we are offering a free trial of mobilEcho. You can download the mobilEcho server here: http://www.grouplogic.com/enterprise-file-sharing/ipad-file-system/free-trial.html. And then you can download the mobilEcho client app from the Apple AppStore (also free). I think you will find that mobilEcho can become a cornerstone of your enterprise mobility strategy.

We will be at TechCrunch for the next few days, talking to people about mobilEcho, as well as checking out some of the other exciting companies introducing products. I will be back later this week to let you know what we heard and saw.

Anders Lofgren, VP Product Management