Top 5 SharePoint Migration Costs

SharePoint Migration Planning

Many companies are considering migrating Windows File Shares to Office 365 SharePoint for department shares and OneDrive for user home drive files.  What are the SharePoint Migration Costs?  As organizations contemplate moving files shares to SharePoint/OneDrive Online we need to consider the potential security, time constraints, risks and cost impact. While SharePoint is great for collaborating on documents with teams inside or outside of the company, can it completely replace on-premises file server shares and be used as a file share alternative? What are the hidden costs of migrating to SharePoint?

SharePoint Migration Costs

1. SharePoint Migration Costs

Migrating organizations to SharePoint is a complicated, challenging endeavor.  Many organizations may not realize it but SharePoint is not a File Server – it’s designed to be a collaboration portal. Migrating file shares to SharePoint involves months of planning to sort and identify data to move from a pool of file shares that can go back years, if not decades.  To migrate files to SharePoint, Files must converted to remove characters not allowed in SharePoint (~ ” # % & * : < > ? / \ { | }.) and mapped to SharePoint libraries to stay within the SharePoint storage limits using specialized tools that must be purchased at an additional cost.  The internet is rife with stories of SharePoint migrations gone awry when not executed with careful planning and due diligence. The process grows even more complicated when migrating organizations with highly sensitive data, such as government agencies, with a host of stringent compliance regulations to meet. Companies will need to budget for these hidden development and deployment costs when comparing SharePoint to other enterprise file sharing solutions. In addition, most organizations do not have the specialized skills to successfully execute a SharePoint migration and will need to budget for a Microsoft certified consulting provider to assist in the design and migration.  For organizations with many terabytes of file shares who simply desire to move to the cloud it may make more sense to migrate them to AWS or Azure file shares where NTFS permissions and files names can be retained and where storage limits are not an issue.

2. Vendor Lock-in and Data Sovereignty

Even if the organizations SharePoint data can be placed in-country to meet storage location compliance regulation requirements what format are the files stored in? Are the files in a format that can be accessed even if SharePoint or the Internet is unavailable? What happens if the organization wishes to move their files out of SharePoint?  If the files are stored in SharePoint proprietary format what will be the costs to export, migrate and convert them to a new vendor format or back to native NTFS file shares?  In the case of SharePoint and OneDrive all files are migrated into Microsoft SharePoint databases with their own set of permissions that cannot be easily exported back to their original NTFS format since all metadata is lost on import. Office files may also be altered so that all external links to other files are no longer valid once they are moved outside of SharePoint/OneDrive. While tools exist to migrate files to SharePoint, once migrated, all metadata is lost making it complex or impracticable to export files back to File Shares or other systems. Organizations will want to think carefully about the implications of moving files to the Microsoft SharePoint proprietary format & cloud platform as they may find that if for any reason they desire to move to another platform the future costs of any migration will far outweigh any short term costs savings.

3. Long Term Archiving & Backup Costs

Traditional file shares can be easily encrypted and stored offsite indefinitely in their native NTFS file format, then easily restored at any time in the future regardless of any technology changes. With SharePoint, entire systems must be restored, or with SharePoint Online, deleted files are only retained for 90 days meaning additional archiving services must be purchased and paid for perpetually which store SharePoint into long-term archives. These backup and storage costs will lead to additional support and subscription costs on top of Office 365 subscription costs.  To meet compliance and archiving requirements the costs of maintaining duplicate systems for backup and data retention will need to be factored into any overall cost estimates.

4. Future Subscription Price Increases

If files are stored in SharePoint online that are difficult or impossible to export, what leverage will the organization have in future licensing pricing negotiations?  With all files migrated, exporting and migrating to new systems may be impractical leaving the firm with no leverage on price negotiations and subject to any future price increases.  While this might not be an issue for smaller firms, it’s common for larger enterprises, educational institutions and governmental agencies to negotiate hefty Microsoft licensing discounts.

5. Training & Productivity Costs

Users are trained to easily grab their files from a mapped drive. With SharePoint, files are stored in libraries that are accessed using a web-based interface or from within apps only. The interface looks nothing like Windows File Explorer. While there are 3rd party tools to that can map SharePoint drive letters, they are slow, require additional administration and they do not support Two Factor Authentication thus they cannot be used in secure environments. With SharePoint, files are stored in libraries where they are best managed by applying metadata tags to each file.  To find documents in SharePoint, users will need to be retrained to apply tags to each file leading to initial frustration, lost productivity, and additional user support costs.  The costs of keeping employees trained on SharePoint with its many advanced features and document management requirements can be significant.  In addition, most organizations find that they need to maintain an internal group of highly paid document management admins to enforce file storage policies and keep their SharePoint libraries from turning into a mess of disorganized files haphazardly placed in libraries or folders with no classification.  This administration requirement further adds to ongoing costs.

 

Cloud Storage Gateway

What is a cloud storage gateway?

Need to access file storage in the cloud?  A cloud storage gateway might be just what you are looking for.

Cloud Storage Gateway

As noted by Gartner: “Cloud storage gateways refer to the physical/virtual appliances or installable software that resides in an organization’s enterprise data center or public cloud network that provide users and applications seamless access to data stored in a public or private cloud. Users and applications typically read and write data through network file system protocols, such as Server Message Block (SMB) and Network File System (NFS), or through hosts that are connected using internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI).”

 

The MyWorkDrive Cloud Storage Gateway is unique.  Although files can be accessed in a cloud like manor, no actual files or user credentials are stored on the MyWorkDrive  virtual Appliance.  The MyWorkDrive Cloud Storage Gateway server acts as a bridge to files and proxies all requests for authentication and file transfers through the internet and translates them to native SMB and LDAP requests internally.   This provides for secure and scalable access to cloud storage without the need for VPN or complex file syncing software.

cloud storage gateway

The MyWorkDrive Server software is a hybrid cloud storage gateway solution that gives you secure file share remote access to file shares stored in the cloud or on-premises where they live.   Businesses use the MyWorkDrive Cloud Storage Gateway to connect to their files stored in the Azure using Azure Files, AWS using FSX or On-Premises using a single network port – HTTPS port 443.   Without a cloud storage gateway the customer would be required to use VPN to access cloud storage-based file shares – exposing the internal network and cloud storage to security vulnerabilities with lateral access.

Benefits of MyWorkDrive

MyWorkDrive’s secure access to cloud file storage is made possible by our server software, which provides a secure tunnel for access to local and cloud storage online and in Office 365 while continuously saving any changes back to cloud storage.  MyWorkDrive automatically detects internet connections and continuously monitors connections to ensure changes made from the cloud are written to local storage in real-time.  No files are ever stored in the cloud, ensuring employees have fast, reliable remote access to the latest files from any device and any location while maintaining security and control of company data.

MyWorkDrive lets you add cloud functionality to your cloud storage based file shares wherever they live.

  • Easy secure gateway to cloud storage using a Web Browser, Mapped Drive or Mobile clients in the cloud.
  • Reduce VPN Support Costs while increasing Security.
  • Stop Data Breaches with built in data leak prevention.
  • Collaborate on files in Office 365 while keeping files in your own cloud storage in native NTFS format.
  • No SQL Databases to manage, backup or license.
  • No migrating files or backups to new systems.

MyWorkDrive 6.1 Data Leak Prevention Mapped Drive Client Support Released to Preview

We are excited to announce the availability of of our new Data Leak Prevention (DLP) view of files in the MyWorkDrive mapped drive clients.  With this preview release, users will be able to view and edit files online directly from the mapped drive client while still being restricted from downloading as configured on the MyWorkDrive Server.  This feature eliminates training requirements for end users and the need to login from the Web Client by using a native view of files and folders in both Windows Explorer and macOS Finder – while adding DLP security features to protect sensitive data.

  • Prevent downloads of files and folders while still displaying files and folders in a traditional mapped drive client interface.
  • View, or Edit files online while blocking download, clipboard, printing, upload or renaming of files.
  • Watermarks and user details displayed and logged on all viewed files.

Check out our video on this ground breaking feature available only from MyWorkDrive!

 

In addition to our new Mapped Drive DLP viewer options we added these new 6.1 features and updates:

  • Native File Explorer Shortcut support
  • Locked Files Display Page
  • Improve Share Setup and Validation
  • Add import permissions button to existing shares to update permissions
  • Add import metadata url to Manual SAML
  • Improved support to manually support multiple SAML providers (author doc)
  • Web Client now uploads in 50 MB Chunks
  • Clustering Improvements to automatically share logo, SAML configuration
  • Clustering support for DUO 2FA
  • Mapped Drive Bulk Upload Report Export to CSV
  • Mapped Drive Client Windows Updated Driver Fixes
  • Support for Enhanced DUO Security Login “Modern Auth” Workflow (6.1 clients required)
  • Improved PDF Online Viewer Multi-User Performance
  • Add Support for viewing password protected PDFs in Online Viewer

Numerous other enhancements and fixes – Release notes are here.

Version 6.1 Preview Webinar

Join us: Thursday April 22nd, 2021

Start Time: 9:00 AM PST, (12:00 PM EDT, 5:00 PM UTC)

Register using this link:

https://www.myworkdrive.com/news/myworkdrive-version-6-1-preview-webinar

Can’t make that time?  Register and we’ll send you the video link.

 

6.1 Preview Download

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What is the future of Remote Work?

With the ending of the Covid Pandemic what does that mean for Remote Work?

In our Remote Work article, we reviewed the latest trends and work styles for remote work pre-pandemic.  During the Pandemic, remote work has become not only more common but a necessity.  Many companies were forced to “go remote” in a very short window of time.  Organizations need secure file share remote access solutions to help them quickly enable and support remote workers without opening security gaps or compromising compliance.  IT departments remain under incredible pressure to maintain the business productivity for their newly expanded remote workforce.

As we enter the post-Covid-19 era, now is a good time to review the current and future state of remote work.  For many companies, the pandemic only accelerated existing trends toward more flexible work options that included at least some remote work.  Employees like the freedom to set their work and home life schedule as they see fit.

Is Remote Work here to stay?   Will we be returning to the office full or part-time?  Are salary rates affected for remote employees?  Let us review the current findings.

 

Read more

Egnyte Alternative

Egnyte

Egnyte Alternative

With MyWorkDrive, enterprises can simply and easily provide secure remote file access to their users in minutes without migrating files or managing complex infrastructure.  Unlike Egnyte, MyWorkDrive integrates exclusively and natively into an existing Windows File Share infrastructure.   MyWorkDrive is built from the ground up to integrate exclusively with Windows Active Directory and NTFS File Shares with no changes to work processes or traditional mapped drives clients.

MyWorkDrive gives your enterprise secure file share access without VPN using your Windows File Shares & Active Directory infrastructure. Remotely edit and share files simply and securely. No Vendor lock-in, No syncing or migrating to a cloud needed.  MyWorkDrive is used by Enterprises, Government and Education with 5 start reviews Worldwide.

Web File Manager alternative to Egnyte

Access your file shares remotely using any web browser with our Web File Manager.  Our Web File Manager is the most elegant and user friendly in the industry loaded with the features users need with nothing to install.

Mapped Drive vs Egnyte Sync Client

Connect to your files remotely using our MyWorkDrive Mapped Drive Client which allows users to securely map a drive to their work files from anywhere without Sync or VPN.   Optionally enable our Two Factor Authentication and SAML/SSO for additional security and compliance.

No migration to Egnyte

Unlike Egnyte, MyWorkDrive works side by side with Windows File Shares in place – at no time are any files stored on the MyWorkDrive servers.  Enterprises can deploy MyWorkDrive without fears files being stored in proprietary databases or cloud storage providers.

No databases

Unlike Egnyte, MyWorkDrive exclusively uses existing active directory users, group and NTFS permissions to provision users.  No files are stored in any databases, Moved to the Cloud, nor are any additional administration of users, database backup software licenses or management needed when integrating MyWorkDrive.

Network Share file locking

With our native file locking integration, users can continue to use traditional mapped drive clients and files are properly locked alongside our Web, Mobile, or Desktop clients. With Egnyte, clients must be migrated to Egnyte only clients to properly lock and interact with network shares alongside other users.

Mobile Office Document Editing

Only MyWorkDrive has the ability to edit documents in native Office Apps for iOS mobile stored on Local File Shares.

Reduced Administration

Egnyte imports Active Directory users and groups into a database and requires manual management of license keys. With MyWorkDrive, Active Directory is native and licenses are automatically provisioned and deprovisioned as users drop off after 30 days.

Better Web Browser Client

With MyWorkDrive users view and edit files in our beautiful Windows file explorer style interface, greatly reducing training and support costs.

Security

MyWorkDrive exclusively uses built-in Windows NTFS and Access Based enumeration security for Windows shares that run under the user’s login context, as such no login information or access to files are ever stored in a database or used by MyWorkDrive.

Egnyte Alternative

Administrator of organizations using Egnyte to access file shares remotely, should strongly check out MyWorkDrive as a viable alternative.  MyWorkDrive is known as a VPN alternative where you can cloudify the existing file shares located in your own data center, grant users remote access permissions and manage multiple devices easily utilizing existing NTFS permissions and an enterprise’s current IT infrastructure with your existing windows active directory.

MyWorkDrive allows secure file remote access without VPN, syncing, or migrating to the cloud or new systems. Your files, your data, and your data center become your own private cloud instantly allowing users to remotely edit and share files simply and securely side by side with your existing mapped drive users without migrating files or storing them in the cloud.  With MyWorkDrive you can can take advantage of our advanced features including encrypted view, data leak prevention, duo authentication, and more.  With MyWorkDrive support costs are dramatically lower than Egnyte products – Users simply access files using our Mapped Network Drive Client or Web File Manager Client with no training needed!

 

Mapped Network Drives without VPN

Mapped Network Drive without VPN

 

With Many employees working remotely from home, the need for seamless mapped network drive access to Windows File Shares has increased ten fold.   This has created a huge support burden on IT staff to manage corporate PC’s remotely, secure internal networks and train users on how to use VPN.

MyWorkDrive alleviates these security and support concerns with our Mapped Network Drive Client.  The MyWorkDrive mapped drive client allows employees to have the same user experience that they previously only had when working in the office or connecting from to VPN from a Corporate PC.

In addition to alleviating the IT help desk from supporting VPN and end user PC’s, the MyWorkDrive mapped drive client improves security – Only port 443/HTTPS is opened to your MyWorkDrive Server with no direct VPN access to your internal network or file shares.

How it works

With MyWorkDrive it’s easy to push out network mapped drives – no complicated login scripts or VPN’s needed!   Simply point to your existing network shares from your MyWorkDrive Server.  MyWorkDrive automatically imports existing Active Directory Users and Group Permissions and even displays User Home Directories.   MyWorkDrive also allows you to push out drive letters for each share – matching your in-house user experience.   Users simply login to your MyWorkDrive Web Site URL using their existing Active Directory credentials or SSO login.   All network mapped drives are displayed automatically.

MyWorkDrive Mapped Drive Features

Our Mapped Drive Client adds additional security and application level protection controls that aren’t available with traditional mapped network drives over VPN.

DLP Protected Mapped Network Drives

View and edit files online directly from the mapped drive client – while still being restricted from downloading as configured on the MyWorkDrive Server.  This feature eliminates training requirements for end users and the need to login from the Web Client by using a native view of files and folders in both Windows Explorer and macOS Finder – while adding DLP security features to protect sensitive data.

  • Prevent downloads of files and folders while still displaying files and folders in a traditional mapped drive client interface.
  • View, or Edit files online while blocking download, clipboard, printing, upload or renaming of files.
  • Watermarks and user details displayed and logged on all viewed files.

Using our latest version yet?  In our January 2021 Server Release we increased our already fast access speeds by up to 500% when using the MyWorkDrive Mapped Drive client.   Server directories with 1000’s of files and folders load in seconds!

With MyWorkDrive employees can work safely from home with a mapped network drive experience without the support or security concerns of VPN.

 

Upgrade Alert Notification

 

MyWorkDrive received notice from Cloudflare that Argo Tunnel agents older than 5.5.2020 will no longer be supported as of March 20th.   This requires all MWD customers to be running a minimum of MWD Server 5.4.3.2 or higher.  Cloudflare is required to Open MyWorkDrive documents in Office online and is also used by customers running under *.myworkdrive.net (Cloud Web Connector).

MyWorkDrive servers running version 5.4.3.1 and lower are impacted by this requirement and will not be able to connect to Cloudflare tunnels until they are upgraded after March 20th.

It is urgent that customers upgrade their MyWorkDrive Servers to a minimum of latest 5.4.3 or 6.0.1 (recommended) ASAP.

Download all versions here.  The upgrade only takes a few minutes.  It is no longer necessary to restart the MWD Servers when upgrading.  The upgrade support guide is available here.

 

As always, our upgrades are provided without charge to currently licensed clients. If you would like assistance planning or executing your upgrade, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

 

Zero Trust VPN Alternative for Accessing File Shares

According to Gartner, by 2023, 60% of Enterprises will phase out most of their remote access VPN solutions in favor of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).  Security cannot be guaranteed by VPNs since open network ports can be compromised and exploited.  With VPN, hackers can get gain access to internal corporate networks where many Enterprises are vulnerable to ransomware encryption and other business ending catastrophic attacks.  What was slowly becoming a reality to adapt to the new Zero Trust landscape has dramatically increased since the pandemic hit – with remote workers creating a logistical nightmare for IT Departments around the world.  Network security and remote file share access is essential part of doing business as well as data integrity and governance.  So, what is the answer when you must adapt quickly and cost effectively?

Read on…

Cloud Security Risks

IT Department burnout is real while having to constantly play catch-up with threats, maintenance protocols on VPN updates, mobile device management, and securing remote access to files and file shares.  Constant vigilance is pushing budgets to the brink and hardware based VPNs are obsolete – they harken back to a time when only a small percentage of employees worked remotely or when key staff were the only ones allowed to access the network remotely.   Now entire organizations have their workforce running remotely with institutions in the Educational, Healthcare, Government, and Financial sectors operating with a remote first mentality while being consumed on two fronts – data security and data governance.

 

So, what is Zero Trust or ZTNA?  Otherwise known as a Software Designed Perimeter or SDP, ZTNA is defined by operating on a trust model where trust is never implicit, and access is only granted with a need to know basis or with a least privileged basis defined by worst case scenario policies.  Certain technologies allow for this model and enable Enterprises to operate without key vulnerabilities.  In other words, nothing is safe, remote access to files is risky and you should never trust anyone to always follow the protocols set forth. Assume that everyone in the organization, even the CEO can potentially become an unwitting hacker without even knowing it and the best security policy is having an ironclad technology that is based on the philosophy that no one can be trusted with remote access.  Think of it like this- a front door can have a security card, and everyone can have a work ID to get in the door but what if someone has a stolen ID? Once that thief is in then they can do whatever they want.  Though cyber threats are the futuristic menace we live with in the here and now, the concept is not new.

 

To rob a bank, you can knock down the door with guns, masks on or you can put on a suit and embezzle from the inside.  You can even drill a tunnel straight into the safe that has thick walls. As long as there have been banks there have been thieves who have dug a tunnel right into the safe room where the money is hidden.  Not all enemies show their malicious intent at the front door.

 

With VPN bad actors can be free to move laterally or access and exfiltrate data from all sides.  Zero Trust is not about making a system more trusted, Zero Trust is about eliminating trust altogether.

 

The evolution of security- The concept of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) was solidified in 2010 by John Kindervag who at the time was a VP and Principal analyst at Forrester Research. The most often used phrase used to describe the ZTNA approach is ‘Never Trust, Always Verify.’

 

https://securityboulevard.com/2020/09/ten-years-of-zero-trust-from-least-privilege-access-to-microsegmentation-and-beyond/

 

The big question for Chief Technology Officers and Chief Information Security Officers regarding security is if your more secure today than yesterday?  Despite more awareness, despite more offers and companies jumping into the market with solutions, the answer that most security IT officers say is NO—no we are not more secure, we are not fully prepared for an entire workforce to be accessing files remotely and sharing files securely.

As a decision maker you may be spending time and resources implementing anti-malware, focused on protecting emails from phishing, dealing with compromised possibilities with encryption, DDOS, and so much more. Yet you might have only a few people “standing guard” i.e. running the network behind it—this often is a losing battle.

 

Security must evolve because threats are evolving even faster.  VPN technology is 30 years old.  If you are relying on VPNs to keep your network security locked up and remote access to files, then you are doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  The constant menace of security threats must be mitigated against the necessity of accessing files remotely. Implementing Zero Trust Network Access does not mean implementing zero worry but pursuing a strategy that does not have to rely on VPN’s is long overdue and smart to pursue.

VPN’s are showing their age. Concepts of credentials and trust birthed out of the needs of 90s-era technology attributes are like trying to chase a corvette with a Model T. It cannot be done but unfortunately many Enterprises are still stuck in this methodology and still wondering how to get out of it quickly without compromising their entire network.

Data Loss Prevention

 

As ZTNA becomes the gold standard in network security then what is needed to provide that level of security and create a sanctuary of data shielded from threats without breaking the bank and wasting precious time with data migrations to some other cloud based platform.  Just like fortifying a bank from thieves and bad actors, you may install cameras and implement background checks for safekeeping against an inside job and you can hide the cash and assets behind steel and cement and fortify against outside attacks but how do you handle the cash and access the cash without losing it?

 

This is where MyWorkDrive can help.  Secure remote access to files and file shares without having to use VPNs, manage SQL databases, no migrating files or backups to other systems and NTFS security integration is a phenomenal proposition.  Add to the list of cost savings and resource planning, IT professionals can also manage permissions easily and quickly.

 

MyWorkDrive is easy to setup, and even easier to manage.  The tool allows file share remote access using any web browser with MyWorkDrive’ s File Manager, Mobile Device, or Mapped Drive app.  Instantly create your own private cloud and collaborate without sync or migrating your files. Enjoy rapid deployment with more security, simplified setup, and no expensive hardware, all under your control.

 

MyWorkDrive’ s native Windows Active Directory integration only takes you a few minutes to deploy. Easily publish existing Windows Shares and who can access them. Mobile device management becomes a breeze and all data compliance concerns taken care of.  MyWorkDrive lets you add cloud like functionality to your own file server shares.  No SQL Database to manage, backup, or license.  Publish windows file shares using active directory out of the box. No migrating files or backups to new systems. 100% Native Windows File Share and NTFS Security Integration.

 

MyWorkDrive’ s secure file sharing software is the only solution that enables enterprises to remotely edit and collaborate on documents within a browser window or Office Mobile apps on iOS or Android, using Office Online while keeping files stored on their own company’s server.  In other words, collaborate in Office 365 but keep your files local.

 

A remote workforce can access files remotely from anywhere anytime without VPNs.  That is Zero Trust Network Access in less time and under budget.

Navigating Secure Remote File Access During COVID

A real world story Navigating Secure Remote File Access During COVID..

 

Late in the afternoon of March 11th of this year I was working on the 6th floor of a tall office tower in Los Angeles. That day staff was called into the large conference room for an unscheduled impromptu meeting. Earlier that day the World Health Organization had declared that the corona virus quickly spreading around the globe was indeed a pandemic. We had been told via email the day before that we should all be prepared to be able to work remotely if safety necessitated it. At the time we had about 450 people on staff located at about 30 offices throughout the country including a large headquarters in DC. The Los Angeles based staff numbered about 40 people and we took up the entire 6th floor.

We filed into the conference room, took our seats, and the Operations Manager told us what we had been dreading for the last several days. Until further notice, we were to take our laptops and chargers home and immediately begin an indefinite period of remote work. We were to check our email the following morning on how to proceed and next steps. Since we already were adept at zoom meetings and conference calls because of our various locations dispersed in different time zones, remote work did not seem that daunting at first, really at all.

No commuting, no parking, no spending extra money on lunch, and not having to get dressed up each day seemed very appealing. I saw how stressed out our IT staff looked and knew it was not going to be an easy task to get everyone connected easily and securely. The senior management staff (including the Executive team based in DC) were used to having remote access set up for them before leaving the office.  With Covid, given the sensitivity of certain meetings and communications, secure remote access had to be instant, perfect, and seamless.  Across the country these fire drills were taking place at many organizations big and small.  Several tech giants led the way by declaring early on that their workforce could work remotely indefinitely or at least until early 2021 until further notice.

Almost overnight, anyone working in the cyber security and remote access space had to make their services easy and fast or become irrelevant. Platforms and cloud software like Box, Slack, Okta, Google Drive, Dropbox, MS One Drive, and more became the go to tools to stay connected and continue collaborating.  Zoom experienced major hiccups as schools and college campuses scrambled to teach classes online.  To lockdown our meetings we had a secure zoom plugin installed into our Outlook mail accounts where we could set up a meeting and invite attendees with a single sign on. A web browser became a catalog of bookmarked tools to access everything we needed to collaborate on.  With Okta we had a layer of protection, but we still had to navigate between various platforms to retrieve files, work on them, try to save them and share them but not in real time.  Efficiency and productivity were lost but more than that it was apparent how unproductive and inefficient our usual modes of communication and collaboration had always been once the spotlight was put on them.

Slack was used for quick messages and quick video calls and various groups were started that were mandatory that you belonged to so managers could share pertinent information about the priorities we were focused on. Other Slack groups were started that were voluntary to join for morale boosting and team building to share fun facts, pics, and inspiration. We all settled into our new routines and new wardrobes where the top half was all business, and the bottom half was all Sunday afternoon.

Most of my work was previously done over the phone, in email, or on a zoom call so my transition to remote work was straightforward regarding what apps and software I needed to stay productive. My job was focused on outreach and relationship building. Zoom fatigue is a real thing and it must be mentioned that it was quite strange at first to go from in person meetings to video meetings exclusively. With a regular in-person meeting you are focused on multiple things and can move around.  In a video meeting you are looking directly at the person albeit on a screen, but it can be exhausting to make eye contact continuously and to be face to face for any length of time especially in a professional setting where you must maintain a certain demeanor and focused delivery.

Our IT staff had remote desktop management set up and could log in to troubleshoot any issue reported to the support desk. We were managing the new normal but again, what was standard operating inefficiencies around workflow, soon became glaring roadblocks of work stoppages when it came to file sharing. Remote file sharing and file access was cumbersome and there was no ability to edit in real time with someone. Box was used as a database.  With most of my colleagues we could share secure links to files that other staff could access if we required them to do so or rather if they felt inclined to do so depending on their title and seniority.  Working from Outlook to Box still meant having to go hunt and peck for something hoping it was put in the right place, hoping you could edit it and then save a newer version to collaborate on later while over the phone or on a video call.

The key point here is that we could only collaborate on what we had already uploaded to Box.  I always wondered from a management perspective if there were some files that should not be there for security or sensitivity reasons?  If you are using Box or some other file repository, who is auditing usage?  Who oversees making sure the files uploaded and saved there are still relevant and pass the muster?

When you are working remotely, connectivity is constantly needed, and I am not talking about Wi-Fi. A virtual meeting can instantaneously turn into an exercise in futility if you are not able to share your screen or have access to email or be able to access a file that you need to cross reference in the moment.

Collaboration is critical.  Fast forward past March as the economy took a downturn and layoffs were imminent, many organizations needed to get back to basics quickly. Senior management from Enterprises to non-profits were and still are crunching numbers on what their core competencies are and how to best sustain viability.  Efficiency is top priority while budgets get squeezed and previous fiscal year goals start to become insurmountable.  To say we are in unprecedented times is a huge understatement.  This is a particularly challenging time for hospital systems with a record number numbers of patients being admitted –  Healthcare being only one sector in our economy.  Now in November 2020, we are hearing about cyberattacks against vaccine makers and distributors and EDD benefits getting hacked.

In the Education sector, College campuses are desperately trying to provide the quality standard they are famous for while locking down their systems from ransomware as students login from home.  Computers can make our lives easier.  For example, stay at home orders necessitate online shopping for everything from mayonnaise to laundry detergent.  You can check the status of your order with a click of a button while also checking on quantity on hand and delivery date.  Sharing information and collaborating on key items is what makes work fun.  Otherwise you are working in a silo and when doing it remotely, it can be an isolating feeling and hard to pace yourself.  But computers connected to a cloud do not necessarily make your work life easier.

What to do?

Well it depends where you are sitting. If you are the decision maker then you need a bird’s eye view on everything but also be able to drill down to detail in a heartbeat.  You want cross channel transparency with a Dashboard that allows you to not only keep your finger on the pulse but to be able to measure and quantify all company data as needed.  You can have reports funneling information up to you, but you should be able to refer to anything anytime anywhere from any device.  If you are a Director of IT or senior leadership on the information technology front, then you know your first critical priority is security. There is no quick and easy fix. Or is there? Read on.

Either you are uploading your files to someone else’s cloud platform or you are not. Either way you still must securely access those files remotely. This is where MyWorkDrive can truly help. I like to call it:

Connect and Collaborate without Compromise

Gartner described an emerging cybersecurity concept last year as Secure Access Service Edge or SASE. They were describing the future of network security in the cloud. But how can the cloud be totally secure? After all, the cloud is just someone else’s server.  Your files living on your server rack is your cloud.  You can have a hybrid cloud or private cloud but at the end of the day what do you want to spend your budget on? Migrating files or getting work done?

Time and money are everything when it comes to budgeting and strategic goals. Time IS money. During this time in history it is critical to not waste time. Especially if you must factor in any transferring of on-premises files to a cloud platform you might be choosing. Migration to a cloud can take precious staff and resources away from what you really need to do now.

But for your workforce, easy to use, easy to set-up, and no steep learning curves are usually their top priority. A migration plan still must have everyone on board and trained. Again, that takes time and costs money. If you are working for the government, any government, or a law firm, or any organization that promotes confidentiality, security, and trust, you can’t afford to rely on even the big guns of shared drives and collaboration software. We have all seen instances of data leaked when a phishing Gmail mistake turned into a companies latest news headline.  If you are in the Financial sector, then you have even more hoops to jump through to ensure customer privacy and security.  GDPR (Government Data Protection Regulation) was instituted in the European Union in 2018 and similar to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) here in the United States, this means that legally, companies and organizations are required to protect a customer’s data and keep it private.  How best to have secure remote access to files and file share in this world of constant connectivity and collaboration especially on multiple devices?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What kind of budget do you have to digitize and/or migrate your files to the cloud?
  2. Can you afford the time it takes to transfer these files and still stay productive and competitive?
  3. Who will decide what files get transferred to the cloud?
  4. Can you afford to pay for a cloud service?
  5. What happens when you want your data back?

So here we are 9 months into the pandemic with no sign of it slowing down as major cities across the United States start issuing stay at home and lockdown orders.  For the workforce lucky to have the option to work from anywhere, it is more critical than ever to have secure remote access to files and file sharing across the enterprise for all users.  No files to migrate to someone else’s cloud platform. No work stoppage. Permissions instantly set up who can access what and when.  No huge learning curve, easy to set up and easy to use including a secure mobile app for work on the go. Best of all, no VPNs to manage and maintain.  Using your already existing Windows File Shares and Active Directory Infrastructure, you can have it set up on your desktop quickly.  No vendor lock-in, no syncing, no migrating.

Remotely edit and share files securely. Meet all your compliance concerns and requirements and prevent data breaches and data leaks. Secure files anywhere anytime from any device.  Sounds impossible?  Sounds like a miracle.  No, it sounds like MyWorkDrive.

 

Download Free Trial Here

Version 6 Client Apps Now Available for Download

We are excited to release Version 6 Mac & Mobile clients.  Version 6 Server added major new features including; Granular Permissions on shares, Multiple Domains Support, Teams App Support and External Guest User folder sharing.   The version 6 Windows Client remains in preview with a production release date expected in the next 2-4 weeks.

MyWorkDrive Client Version 6 Releases

Teams Integration Client

Now certified by Microsoft and available in the Microsoft Teams Store (version 6 server required)

 

MacOS Version 6 Client

Bulk Upload

Multi-threaded upload/download

MacOS Notarized Install

Block/Allow List Support

Release notes are here.

 

Mobile Version 6 Client

Supports DLP Restricted View of files without permitting download

Increased Photo Uploads

iOS 14.2 and new Device Hardware Support

 

MyWorkDrive Server Updates

Version 6 is a major Server update.  Customers are advised to test version 6 server in a separate or standalone environment prior to upgrading as downgrading to prior versions is not supported.  Updated Version 6 Server is available for download.  All customers are advised to upgrade their MyWorkDrive servers to the final version of 5.4.3.17 or latest updates to version 6 to take advantage of important fixes, improvements and enhancements.

Release notes are here.

 

Click here to Download MyWorkDrive Server Updates.  If you would like assistance planning or executing your MyWorkDrive Server setup, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Questions? Need a trial extension? Contact sales@myworkdrive.com

MyWorkDrive Announces Availability in Azure Government Cloud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUST 17th, 2020 (San Francisco, CA)

MyWorkDrive, the secure remote file share access for Enterprise, is please to announce our availability in Azure Government Cloud.   MyWorkDrive allows agencies to provide secure file remote access while remaining compliant with various governmental data security regulations including FIPS, FINRA and GDPR.  MyWorkDrive is now available as a Azure Virtual Machine Image and has been certified for SAML Authentication for Azure AD Single Sign On allowing organizations to leverage Azure AD Two Factor Authentication and security services.

CEO Dan Gordon says- “We are excited to receive this approval for our Azure integration from Microsoft so that we can make it even easier for Public Sector Agencies who have been asking for it in Azure Government Cloud to instantly deploy our file share remote access software.” 

MyWorkDrive, a San Francisco based security software company has worked hard perfecting their product offering to meet stringent data security standards and regulations. The company is very happy to offer their Public Sector customer base the ability to deploy our solution in Azure Government Cloud.

MyWorkDrive ensures sensitive files remains on location, are never synced or migrated to any device and access is only allowed through a secure tunnel.  Using built-in Data Leak Prevention features all files remain secure.

Achieving HIPAA, FNRA, FIPS, GDPR, and CaCPA2018 compliance is critical for today’s cloud connected remote workforce when accessing file shares.   Governments and public sector agencies are secure using MyWorkDrive Remote File Access Mapped Drive, Web Browser, or Mobile clients anytime from anywhere.  With MyWorkDrive customers have access to enhanced security and Data Leak Prevention features without having to maintain VPNs or migrating their file shares to the cloud or new systems.

MyWorkDrive is redefining Enterprise File Sharing and Content Collaboration for critical sectors including Healthcare, Education, Government, and Financial institutions. MyWorkDrive employs the 5 C’s of success as an alternative to standard file share cloud services: Compliance, Control, lower Cost of Ownership, Cloud Capabilities, and instant Collaboration.

About MyWorkDrive

MyWorkDrive provides a software-only, on-premise data center solution for secure private cloud remote file sharing access from anywhere for any device. Users gain access in minutes without Sync, VPN, RDP or migrating data. MyWorkDrive is for IT leaders looking for a cloud-like file sharing solution that has ransomware protection & DLP, facilitates data governance compliance (FIPS, HIPAA, FINRA, GDPR), enhances Office 365 real-time online collaboration, with a lower total cost of ownership.  MyWorkDrive is privately held, based in San Francisco, California and a product and dba of Wanpath LLC.  Visit us at https://www.myworkdrive.com.

What is Remote Work?

With the increase in remote work where people and businesses need to work remotely, how do they do it?

Remote employees work either from home or outside of the traditional working environment, such as at an office or on a specific job site. It increases morale and encourages successful completion of tasks and goals in a much more efficient, timely, and cost-effective manner while also protecting the health of employees.

All remote work can be summed up into two distinct categories:  

  • A fully remote job allows an employee, whether they be part-time, full-time, or on a freelance basis, to work 100% from home without needing to commute to an office location.
  • A partial remote job offers employees some remote work capabilities but does not allow the employee to engage in their work without visiting the office or job site at least some of the time.

So how does a company decide whether they should go the fully or just the partial remote job route? This largely depends on the type of job, but the tree deciding factors usually are:

  • Travel is a necessary part of the job.
  • Staff meetings and face time is required.
  • Certain aspects of a particular job cannot be done from home or outside of the office.

Whether full-time or part-time, one thing is for sure, remote work is no longer considered a trend but is now a fully viable option, as is confirmed by numerous studies and statistics, which we will address right now. Read more

MyWorkDrive Version 6.1 Preview Webinar

Register here to join our resident experts on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 at 9 am PST for a webinar where we will preview the upcoming MyWorkDrive version 6.1 secure file remote access features. Save your spot now for this very popular discussion!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

During this webinar we will demonstrate the upcoming version 6 features:

  • Mapped Drive DLP Viewer
  • Native File Explorer Shortcut support
  • Locked Files Management
  • Improve Share Setup and Validation
  • Import permissions button to existing shares to update permissions
  • SAML Support Updates
  • Clustering Improvements
  • Support for Enhanced DUO Security Login “Modern Auth” Workflow (6.1 clients required)
  • Improved PDF Online Viewer Multi-User Performance

Can’t make that time?  Register and we’ll send you the video link.

MyWorkDrive Software available during COVID-19 outbreak at no cost to state & local governments

With our success in helping 1000’s of students, faculty and staff with our free Education Offer, we have now extended this offer to new Local and State governmental customers as well.

As more governmental employees work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive. MyWorkDrive is a popular file share remote access solution allowing governmental organizations to securely access on-premise windows file shares using just a Web Browser, Desktop or Mobile client.

Effective immediately we are offering extended use and setup assistance of our MyWorkDrive Enterprise Server File Share Remote Access software with unlimited user logins to new governmental customers at no cost.

  • Unlimited MyWorkDrive Server User Logins
  • Server Setup Assistance
  • Extended Trials up to 60 days

We’re committed to supporting our users and customers during this challenging time and are we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote file access work easier for governmental employees throughout this period.

Get Started

Sign up for a Trial on our website.
https://www.myworkdrive.com/account-signup/

Download MyWorkDrive Server Software and activate your trial.
https://www.myworkdrive.com/support/server-setup-guide/

Once you are fully functional, let us know and we will extend the fully functional license up to 60 days.

Contact Sales@myworkdrive.com for additional details or support@myworkdrive.com for setup assistance.

MyWorkDrive Version 5.4.2 released to production

We are excited to announce version 5.4.2 update of MyWorkDrive server and Windows client is now available for production use. With this release, MyWorkDrive now supports larger size limits on the Web client, faster logins on large domains and and upload speed improvement on our Windows Mapped Drive client.

Install Server Software

Server

  • Support for file downloads larger than 3 GB
  • Faster logins on large domains
  • UI improvements across all clients
  • Mapped Drive permissions improved messaging

Numerous other enhancements and fixes –Release notes are here.

Windows Mapped Drive

  • Mapped Drive permissions improved messaging
  • Warnings when paths too deep improved messaging
  • Improved login/logout performance
  • Upload speed improvements by up to 500%
  • Support for editing Open Office Documents

Numerous other enhancements and fixes – Release notes are here.

Mac Mapped Drive 

We are continuing development of our Mac Mapped Drive client.  The components used to create virtual drives in Mac OS are no longer supported by Apple or the open source community, requiring extensive reprogramming.   We have added additional resources to complete this effort however we do not have a timeline for an updated release.  The Web Client is fully supported on Mac’s.

Upgrading

As always, our upgrades are provided free of charge to currently licensed clients. If you would like assistance planning or executing your upgrade, please contact support@myworkdrive.com and we’ll be happy to assist you.

 

Questions? Need a trial extension? Email us at sales@myworkdrive.com or Phone: 877-705-4997

 

MyWorkDrive Software available during COVID-19 outbreak at no cost to education

As more educational employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive. MyWorkDrive is a popular file share remote access solution allowing education institutions to securely provide their students and faculty access to on-campus windows file shares using just a Web Browser, Desktop or Mobile client.

Effective immediately we are offering extended use and setup assistance of our MyWorkDrive Enterprise Server File Share Remote Access software with unlimited user logins to new Educational customers at no cost.

• Unlimited MyWorkDrive Server User Logins
• Server Setup Assistance

We’re committed to supporting our users and customers during this challenging time and are we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote file access work easier for educational employees, educators and student throughout this period.

Get Started

Sign up for a Trial on our website.
https://www.myworkdrive.com/account-signup/

Download MyWorkDrive Server Software and activate your trial.
https://www.myworkdrive.com/support/server-setup-guide/

Once you are fully functional, let us know and we will extend the fully functional license up to 60 days.

Contact Sales@myworkdrive.com for additional details or support@myworkdrive.com for setup assistance.

Securely Share folders with Guest Users using MyWorkDrive & Azure B2B

Need to share files and folders with external parties but don’t want to move files to the cloud?   Check out our new article and script to leverage Azure AD SAML B2B to allow external file sharing with MyWorkDrive!

https://www.myworkdrive.com/support/external-guest-folder-sharing/

MyWorkDrive Version 5.4.2 released to preview

We are excited to announce version 5.4.2 update of MyWorkDrive server and Windows client is now available for preview. With this release, MyWorkDrive now supports larger size limits on the Web client, faster logins on large domains and the imminent release of the preview of our updated Mac Mapped Drive client.

Install Server Software

Server

  • Support for file downloads larger than 2 GB
  • Faster logins on large domains
  • UI improvements across all clients
  • Mapped Drive permissions improved messaging

Numerous other enhancements and fixes –Release notes are here.

Windows Mapped Drive

  • Mapped Drive permissions improved messaging
  • Warnings when paths too deep improved messaging
  • Improved login/logout performance
  • Improved refresh of file locks
  • Support for editing Open Office Documents

Numerous other enhancements and fixes – Release notes are here.

Mac Mapped Drive (BETA releasing soon)

  • Improved support for editing larger office files
  • Faster upload/download
  • Stability improvements to handle Mac OS and OSX fuse updates
  • Minimum Server version 5.4.1.13 required

Numerous other enhancements and fixes – Release notes are here.

 

Questions? Need a trial extension? Email us at sales@myworkdrive.com or Phone: 877-705-4997