Always On VPN Concerns
Windows Server 2016’s new “Always On VPN” provides new options for remote access to internal network resources. With Windows 10 Virtual Private Networking (VPN), you can create Always On VPN connections so that remote computers and devices are always connected to your organization network when they are turned on and Internet connected.
Requirements to Deploy Always On VPN
Is the new Always On VPN more secure or easier to administer and use than Direct Access or 3rd Party VPN’s? We looked at numerous blog articles to gather the requirements to deploy Always On VPN. Here are potential items that may lead to additional support costs and security concerns that enterprises will want to be aware of.
- AO VPN cannot be managed natively using Active Directory and group policy. It must be configured and managed using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Microsoft Intune, or PowerShell.
- AO VPN works only with Windows 10. It is not supported for Windows 7 or other operating systems.
- While AO VPN does add extensive filtering options, no additional blocking technologies exist to prevent viruses or malware, such as crypto locker, from encrypting files.
- A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is required along with Active Directory Certificate Services to authenticate clients.
- Like Direct Access, AO VPN requires two network adapters with one directly connecting to the external perimeter network.
- Remote Client Computers must be joined to the active directory domain.
- The IT Department will need to maintain an additional fleet of corporate laptops with VPN pre-configured for each potential remote user eliminating the BYOD option.
- Windows 2016 Server infrastructure is required.
Browser Based VPN Alternatives
Techtarget.com encourages companies to consider Web Based VPN Software Alternatives – “Browser-based remote access services offer both cost and ease-of-use advantages. Web browsers are already present on nearly every computing device, public or private, large or small. Web-based solutions use this browser and dynamically downloaded code to avoid installing and configuring VPN client software on the worker’s device. This approach facilitates remote access from just about anywhere and can significantly reduce per-user VPN administration costs. Savings are even greater for companies that eliminate corporate laptops by leveraging existing desktops for Web-based remote access.”
MyWorkDrive.com’s browser based file access software helps companies reduce their VPN support costs while reducing their security exposure risks. Users simply open a browser to access their work files using their existing Windows Active Directory credentials from any device. Once logged in, they can access company shares and home drives, and edit/view documents online. For security, all MyWorkDrive clients also have DUO Two Factor authentication. Even if only half of a company’s employees are directed to use MyWorkDrive’s Browser Based File Access client, they can achieve annual savings of up to 50% while improving security when compared to traditional VPN alternatives.
Total Cost of Ownership
Businesses of all types utilize VPN software solutions to provide remote access to their employees. How do we quantify the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of supporting VPN software? Why is TCO Important?
Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com) defines TCO as the total cost of using and maintaining an IT investment over time. TCO calculations include a combination of direct costs (hardware, software acquisition, management, and support) and indirect costs (end-user training and downtime). TCO is often overlooked and unbudgeted, presenting an incomplete projection of overall IT costs.
Most organizations look at their direct costs and setup labor only at the time of purchase. However, research shows that a system’s software & hardware costs typically represent less than 20% of its TCO, with ongoing technical support, maintenance and labor costs accounting for the remaining 80%. These ongoing VPN Software support costs represent the largest piece of the TCO pie and should, therefore, warrant the highest levels of scrutiny.
Consider the following chart that demonstrates the potential annual costs of supporting VPN clients for 1000 Users:
Direct VPN Costs
Hardware & Software Costs
A business of 1000 employees can expect to pay between $6000-$8000 for a dedicated VPN device with a hot spare + Annual Maintenance.
For large enterprises, VPN services can take up to 40 Hours for procurement, basic setup, and deployment.
Ongoing VPN Maintenance
VPN Devices require continual updating and refinement – expect ongoing maintenance, after hours updating and security patching.
Plan on providing technical support time to setup VPN Software on end user devices at a minimum of 30-60 Minutes per device with basic training for initial setup and an average of 15 Minutes/User per month for ongoing support.
Add costs for supporting various two-factor solutions – Some solutions allow use of third party services (at an additional cost), requiring additional configuration while others such as Microsoft VPN can utilize machine certificates which require additional support hours to manage and setup.
By default, an end user’s Windows network is routed through the office VPN network. As a result, this leaves the internal network open to Malware such as Crypto Locker and exposes the network up cybersecurity threats.
IPsec type VPN’s are blocked at many locations resulting in calls to the help desk to resolve connectivity issues and results in lost employee productivity.
Potential File Corruption
Minor network fluctuations can disconnect the VPN clients potentially corrupting open files resulting in support costs for restores and lost work.
The IT Department will need to maintain an additional fleet of corporate laptops with VPN pre-configured for each potential remote user.
Browser Based VPN Alternatives
MyWorkDrive acts as the perfect VPN Alternative solution
MyWorkDrive’s browser-based file access software helps companies reduce their VPN support costs while reducing their security exposure risks. User’s simply open a browser to access their work files using their existing Windows Active Directory credentials. Once logged in they can access company shares, home drives and edit/view documents online. For security, all MyWorkDrive clients also support DUO Two Factor authentication.
Even if only half of a company’s employees are directed to use MyWorkDrive’s Browser Based File Access client they can achieve annual savings of up to 50% while improving security.
PPTP VPN SECURITY RISKS
PPTP VPN Security Risks
PPTP is Microsoft’s VPN implementation that has been around since Windows NT. Users tend to like using PPTP as it’s typically configured on Windows Desktops with a shortcut that remembers username and password for quick access. When coupled with proper name resolution (historically WINS) and now DNS, users can easily browse the network for shares and printers. On the back-end, Windows Server PPTP is configured by the system administrator with the Routing and Remote Access role (RRAS). While the tools used to manage and deploy PPTP Systems have changed with each new version of Windows it’s universally agreed that PPTP is insecure as compared to modern alternatives and adds additional indirect support costs even when upgraded to support SSTP.
The PPTP protocol itself is no longer considered secure as cracking the initial MS-CHAPv2 authentication can be reduced to the difficulty of cracking a single DES 56-bit key, which with current computers can be brute-forced in a very short time (making a strong password largely irrelevant to the security of PPTP as the entire 56-bit keyspace can be searched within practical time constraints).
The attacker capture the handshake (and any PPTP traffic after that), do an offline crack of the handshake and derive the RC4 key. Once the RC4 key is derived the attacker will be able to decrypt and analyze the traffic carried in the PPTP VPN. PPTP does not support forward secrecy, so just cracking one PPTP session is sufficient to crack all prior PPTP sessions using the same credentials.
PPTP provides weak protection to the integrity of the data being tunneled. The RC4 cipher, while providing encryption, does not verify the integrity of the data as it is not an Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data (AEAD) cipher. PPTP also doesn’t do additional integrity checks on its traffic and is vulnerable to bit-flipping attacks, e.g. the attacker can modify the PPTP packets with little possibility of detection. Various discovered attacks on the RC4 cipher (such as the Royal Holloway attack) make RC4 a bad choice for securing large amounts of transmitted data, and VPNs are a prime candidate for such attacks as they typically transmit sensitive and large amounts of data.
Security experts have reviewed PPTP and listed numerous known vulnerabilities including:
MS-CHAP-V1 is Fundamentally Insecure
Tools exist that can easily extract the NT Password hashes from MS-CHAP-V1 authentication traffic. MS-CHAP-V1 is the default setting on older Windows Servers
MS-CHAP-V2 is Vulnerable
MS-CHAP-V2 is vulnerable to dictionary attacks on captured challenge response packets. Tools exist to crack these exchanges rapidly
Brute Force Attack Possibilities
It has been demonstrated that the complexity of a brute-force attack on a MS-CHAP-v2 key is equivalent to a brute-force attack on a single DES key.
Additional Support Costs
Beware of the additional support costs commonly associated with PPTP & Microsoft VPN Client.
- By default, an end user’s Windows network is routed through the office VPN network. As a result, this leaves the internal network open to Malware and slows down all internet for all users at the office.
- PPTP is typically blocked at many locations due to the known security issues resulting in calls to the help desk to resolve connectivity issues.
- Conflicts with office internal subnets at remotes sites can block Microsoft VPN routing resulting in no connectivity and again leading to additional support costs.
- Minor network fluctuations can disconnect the Microsoft VPN client while in use corrupting files leading to restores and lost work.
- The IT Department will need to maintain an additional fleet of corporate laptops with Microsoft VPN preconfigured for each potential remote user.
- Crypto Locker type malware are free to encrypt files over the VPN tunnel.
MyWorkDrive as a Solution
MyWorkDrive acts as the perfect VPN Alternative solution
In contrast with MyWorkDrive, the security risks of supporting Microsoft PPTP or SSTP VPN’s are eliminated:
- Users get an elegant easy to use Web File Manager client accessible from any browser.
- IT Support costs are eliminated – users simply log on with their existing Windows Active Directory credentials or use ADFS or any SAML provider to access company shares, home drives, and edit/view documents online.
- Mobile Client’s for Android/iOS and MyWorkDrive Desktop Mapped Drive clients are available.
- Unlike VPN block file types and receive alerts when file changes exceed set thresholds to block ransomware.
- For security, all MyWorkDrive clients support DUO Two Factor authentication.
Many companies are migrating to Office 365. SharePoint Online is included with most subscriptions for free. Often, IT professionals are asked to evaluate moving their company file servers to SharePoint Online. While SharePoint is great for collaborating on documents with teams inside or outside of the company, can it completely replace an on-premise file server for larger firms?
Here’s the list of the top 10 reasons we compiled on why SharePoint is not a file file server:
- Speed – Nothing can beat the speed of local network file server access. While Internet speeds are measured in Megabits, local network speeds are measured in Megabytes. A local network connection is at least 10 times faster than any Internet connection. For example, a fast 100 Mbp/s home Internet connection only equates to 12.2 MB/S. In the office, networks are typically 1GB – a whopping 125 MB/s!! For large files access, nothing beats a local area network connection.
- Simplicity – 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. The interface looks nothing like Windows File Explorer. Alternatively user can access file using the OneDrive for Business client which requires user training and intervention to sync and to locate the shares they need.
- Storage Capacities – Even the smallest companies have easily terabytes of data. SharePoint Online has a 1TB limit on each library, a 5000 item display limit, a 15GB file size limit and a maximum 100,000 file sync limit. Even if you did store this much data, or files this large, accessing them over the Internet may be unworkable (see Reason #1).
- Migration – Migrating to SharePoint from legacy file shares takes careful planning. All permissions must be manually recreated on the SharePoint sites along with equivalent folder structures. File names on local shares allow special characters that are not allowed in SharePoint (#%&) that must all be renamed before migrating them.
- Backups and Disaster Recovery – With traditional file shares, they can easily be replicated to multiple sites, backed up and archived for compliance going back many years. With SharePoint, restoring old data involves multiple databases and entire SharePoint farms that may be no longer supported. SharePoint Online only keeps the latest 90 days of deleted files – backups requires additional 3rd party subscription services that charge for ongoing backups and retrieval.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Sharing files using traditional file shares can be deployed to users in minutes or made available using VPN or SSL VPN products like MyWorkDrive.com with a simple File Explorer-type web page. With SharePoint Online deployments are complex, data is scattered across libraries and scripting tools and services come with high price tags. Users must also be trained on how to share and access data. This all leads to additional IT support and training costs.
- Ownership of Data – Many firms have compliance regulations preventing them from moving files to the Cloud or legal concerns as to who has access to their company data. Moving data to Sharepoint Online requires careful compliance and legal review.
- Fragility – SharePoint systems are complicated and fragile. Any Windows update can take down the entire SharePoint farm. File Servers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are dead simple to manage, patch and restore in an emergency. Even with Sharepoint Online, syncing issues on a single PC can corrupt or remove data across multiple users.
- File Locking – Databases, Engineering CAD files and Accounting applications are designed to run locally at Gigabit speeds and have the ability to lock files in a multi-user network environment. These types of files cannot be stored or accessed using SharePoint.
- Archiving – Traditional file shares can be easily encrypted and stored offsite indefinitely, 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 additional archiving services must be purchased and paid for perpetually which store SharePoint into long-term archives leading to additional support and subscription costs.
Bottom line – SharePoint is not a file server, it’s a collaboration portal. Microsoft has a great support article here on this topic and they recently released File Share Syncing to Azure at the 2017 Ignite Conference (see our earlier blog article here) which makes it clear Microsoft will be supporting File Servers for many years into the future.
With MyWorkDrive our customers get the best of both worlds, local file access and secure remote access with cloud features – learn more..
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IIS SSL by default leaves older versions of SSL2, SSL3 and TLS enabled for compatibility. MyWorkDrive has been engineered to support TLS 1.2. Disabling insecure and weak ciphers is necessary to comply with security best practices including PCI, HIPAA, FINRA and GDPR.
While registry entries can be set manually, a great free tool exists for this called IIS Crypto by Nartac Software.
To lock down your Server’s IIS SSL ciphers, download the tool and apply one of the templates – at a minimum we suggest the “Best Practices Template”.
The PCI Template 3.1 provides the most complete protection however some software may still require TLS 1.0 communication (MyWorkDrive does not). One option is to apply the template settings to the Server only by unchecking “Set Client Side Protocols”. This ensures only the “Server” portions are locked down and any client software ( e.g. Backup Software) continues to run.
After you have run the IIS Crypto tool and applied a minimum of the best practice template and restarted your server, you may wish to verify that your server responds on only the more secure IIS SSL cyphers.
There is great free SSL scanning tool at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/ that’s also built into the Nartac IIS Cryptol software that gives you a rating on how secure your SSL connections are. Simply input your https web address and run the test.
You should get a Summary like this:
It takes innovation, forward thinking, and a willingness to be just a little bit disruptive in a space that can at times be very traditional. The tech industry calls it, “digital transformation.”
What is “digital transformation?”
Digital transformation takes place when companies adopt a technology that changes the course of their workflow – making their workflow better, easier, or more efficient. This use of information technology to “transform” how businesses work is now one of the main focuses of Microsoft and its partners.
Intivix leaders, Rob Schenk and Dan Gordon, were pleased to have had MyWorkDrive mentioned during a session at an industry conference hosted by Microsoft called Inspire. At Inspire, Microsoft gathers its partners and resellers from around the globe to update them on the latest Microsoft offerings and industry trends. It is a great opportunity for technology providers to network and to interact with those who are innovating within the industry. According to Microsoft, Inspire is where “the world meets to transform business.”
Like many industry-specific conferences, Inspire is made up of many sessions and workshops.
At a special workshop called, “US14p The Art of the Possible: Digital Transformation for US Partners”, the Intivix team received commendation from Microsoft speaker, Sri Ganapathy for their work in developing MyWorkDrive.
Sri Ganapathy is a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft. It is Sri’s job to advise and encourage those that sell Microsoft’s products and services to follow the example of industry leaders. At this significant workshop, Sri Ganapathy made the point that technology providers should be moving their concentration from services that they want to offer to their clients to developing solutions to their client’s challenges that they can then promote across that particular industry vertical.
Some solutions that have been developed – such as MyWorkDrive – address business challenges across multiple industry verticals.
MyWorkDrive is an application developed by Intivix that allows companies to leverage their existing storage infrastructure while providing cloud availability features to that storage – allowing companies to move to the cloud at their own pace.
MyWorkDrive gives employees cloud access to their work files without VPN, syncing, or storing data in a public cloud.
This is different than VPN or file sync solutions. VPN and file sync are challenging in that they require employee retraining, are expensive to maintain, present an element of data-loss risk, and do not always conform to compliance standards. MyWorkDrive is the answer to all of these problems.
One of the outstanding features of MyWorkDrive is the solution’s seamless integration with Microsoft Office 365 online. With MyWorkDrive, employees can directly edit their Office documents in Office 365 online and collaboratively edit in real time without moving the files to the cloud. Once they are ready, employees can share Office 365 documents externally using OneDrive without compromising security.
Some of the other significant benefits of MyWorkDrive are:
- The ability for a company to move to the cloud at its own pace
- The advantage of leveraging existing infrastructure, Active Directory, and File Permissions
- Two-factor authentication
- Single Sign On (SSO)
- Mapped Drive from anywhere
- Mobile App for working away from the office
Because of the business problems that MyWorkDrive solves for companies across multiple verticals, Microsoft chose to highlight the MyWorkDrive solution within their presentation on innovative approaches that are driving business transformation today.
Rob Schenk, one of the partners at Intivix, said, “We were grateful for Microsoft’s recognition of MyWorkDrive. We’ve worked hard on it. We’re especially proud of MyWorkDrive because it combines fresh elements in file sharing that aren’t available in this configuration anywhere else. MyWorkDrive solves the user problems that were inherent in older file sharing technologies, and as a result, provides significant efficiencies for the end user.”
To find out more about MyWorkDrive and what we can do to improve your file access workflow, contact us now at 877-705-4997 or [email protected]
Reasons Why You Need MyWorkDrive For Your Hybrid Cloud
- Access your Work Files without storing data in a public cloud
- Direct Office File Edit & Collaboration in Office Online
- Publicly share files using OneDrive integration without compromising security
- Restrict Downloads to ensure compliance while still allowing viewing and editing of documents online
- All Data Remains on your Server
Our Hybrid Cloud Solution
- Install MyWorkDrive Server Software on a Windows Web Server
- Point to Existing Shares, Users & Groups
- Access Your Files – Use our Web File Manager, Mapped Drive application or your phone to access your files
Customer Qualification Criteria
- Customer size is 50+ employees. Industries applicable: Financial, Healthcare, Government, Public Sector, Utilities & Education
- Customer usually has an investment in Microsoft Technology and Office 365
- Customer wants Hybrid Cloud Implementation with an ability to access and interact with files stored on their on-premise server
Increase User Productivity & Security
- Drive Office 365 Adoption
- Reduce Support & Training Requirements
- Eliminate VPN Security Issues
- Add Two Factor Authentication
- Single Sign On
Hybrid Cloud the best of all worlds
Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, colocation infrastructure, private cloud and third-party public cloud services with orchestration between all the platforms. The hybrid cloud model empowers you to protect your most valuable data on your terms; you are the one who decide where your data is stored, and how that data is protected from external and internal threats. For the purposes of this blog, hybrid cloud includes the following:
• On-premise infrastructure connected to cloud resources
• Colocation infrastructure connected to the cloud
• Managed colocation/hosting infrastructure connected to the cloud
• Cloud resources connected to other cloud resources
With the speed of business increasing every day, the one constant is change; changing business models, strategies, infrastructure, and technologies. New concepts such as AI, Analytics, Edge Computing and multiple Cloud models are opening up a sea of new opportunities. This new paradigm is forcing businesses to seek new possibilities. When businesses adopt these new, but rapidly maturing technologies, they create additional demands on the existing infrastructure. This in turn impacts your end-users and changes the way your business functions.
These ‘breakthroughs’ will enable your business to achieve competitive advantages, but will also challenge traditional ways of business growth using IT. Enterprises need ways to bridge current infrastructure with future technology investments to connect, innovate and grow. A hybrid cloud model provides the most stable infrastructure foundation for such future growth.
Reasons to deploy a hybrid cloud
The primary benefit of the hybrid cloud model is agility. The need to adapt and change direction quickly is a core principle of a digital business. Scalability and speed to market are sub-benefits of agility, crucial elements of successful IT services delivery. You might want to combine public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises resources to gain the agility you need to develop and sustain a competitive advantage.
Most Enterprises currently use a combination of public and private clouds to access, store and manipulate their data. Public clouds store enterprise data on servers owned by third-party providers, reducing maintenance and operational costs for the business. Whereas a private cloud is operated and managed in your datacenter. This means that you control the security and infrastructure, but managing these on-premise datacenters can be costly and resource intensive.
The hybrid cloud model suggests an elegant solution. Combining the advantages of all cloud models into a single entity that can merge the public cloud solution with collocation infrastructure, on-premise infrastructure and a private cloud platform. By spreading computational and data storage across all resources allowing you to optimize your environment and streamline your day-to-day tasks.
You decide what data is stored on public servers while ensuring your proprietary information is protected in your private cloud. Leveraging both public and private clouds for optimum security and maximum scalability.
Improved Security Capabilities
When you need enhanced security and ultimate control for business-critical apps and data, incorporate a private cloud. Store your most sensitive data on dedicated hardware while running your front-end applications in the public cloud — creating a seamless, agile and secure environment, while benefiting from the public cloud’s cost efficiency and on-demand scalability.
Milind Govekar, managing VP at Gartner research firm, states that “Hybrid cloud computing can maximize cost-efficiency, particularly capital expenditure, through competition and automated arbitrage.” Cost savings can be found in many hybrid cloud use cases such as temporary/burstable resources, cloud storage, data/application segmentation, and scalability needs. Additional cost-efficiency gains can come from reducing operational and maintenance expenses. Fewer on-prem servers means less energy consumption from powering and cooling the servers, reducing energy costs. Less on-prem means less to manage, which can lead to a more efficient use of staff resources.
Reduce your Total Cost of Ownership, match your cost patterns to your revenue/demand patterns and transition from a CapEx cost model, to an OpEx-based model. Hybrid cloud allows you to take advantage of emerging cloud technologies, while still retaining your legacy applications within your corporate data centers.
Hybrid cloud is an excellent way for a company just starting in the cloud to mitigate risk. It allows you to start testing non-critical workloads to prove the concept before moving the more critical applications in to the cloud. Beware, hybrid cloud can significantly increase the complexity of your company’s network infrastructure as well as increase security risks. It might be a good idea to use a consulting partner if you are not experienced in clouds technology. Using a hybrid cloud model can reduce the risk of vendor lock-in and create a migration path if a better opportunity comes along.
The public cloud’s pay-as-you-go scalability, is ideal for heavy or unpredictable traffic — and can reduce IT costs. For rapidly growing companies, scaling on-prem IT infrastructure can be expensive and inefficient. With a hybrid cloud model, you can tie on-premise to the specific cloud resources you need for rapid growth, implement automation rules to instantly obtain future resources whenever/however you need them. Larger cloud providers have data centers around the world with mind-boggling hardware capacity, I.e. with hybrid cloud you have unlimited resources at your disposal, on demand.
Hybrid cloud enables a variety of choices as to how you are able to deliver IT services. Hybrid cloud means you can take advantage of the best advantages each delivery method has to offer (public, private, co-location, in-house, etc.) while mitigating the risks of choosing just one.
A common cloud issue is latency, a network issue resulting in slow or poorly performing applications. Implementing a direct connect private network hybrid cloud strategy can dramatically improve the overall user experience. When you pair hybrid cloud with load balancing you can reduce distance-based latency by insuring the infrastructure is delivered as close as possible to the end user.
However, just choosing to go hybrid cloud, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed these benefits. Depending on your company and its inherent complexities, executing your hybrid cloud vision could be a complex undertaking and is best accomplished with an experienced partner.
Now that you have data in the cloud and on premise, how are you going to access those files? MyWorkDrive allows you to access any mapped drive from anywhere safely and securely, using Microsoft Office or Office 365 you can open those files and do anything you could do sitting at your desk. Your data stays behind your firewall and only the keystrokes travel up and down MyWorkDrive’ s encrypted tunnel. None of your data is exposed to the wild. Freedom!
Cloud adoption is continuing to pick up speed, with businesses of all sizes moving towards hosted technology solutions. The numerous benefits of making the switch to the cloud appeal to a wide range of industries, and leave many businesses eager to leave their on-premise solutions behind. However, there have been a few hiccups along the way for a lot of these businesses, especially where their important apps are concerned.
The cloud’s versatility and flexibility make it an ideal platform for many of the resources and tools businesses rely on, but the fact of the matter is that no two businesses have the exact same needs or existing infrastructure. Certain compliance or regulatory guidelines can also limit a business’ ability to leverage the cloud successfully.
Requirements that dictate where and how data can be stored – such as restrictions tied to certain government contracts – can make transitioning to the cloud a more difficult process. But that’s not to say that the cloud isn’t an option.
A typical cloud migration sees an infrastructure move from on-premise systems and servers to a cloud platform in stages, offering an incremental upgrade that won’t hinder operations by taking huge chunks of your IT environment offline or leaving your staff to relearn a bevy of basic tasks in a short amount of time. Businesses that have restrictions placed on certain data or applications can still move other pieces of their operations to the cloud without jeopardizing compliance.
Client data may need to be restricted to a secure on-premise server, but internal back-office data and applications such as accounting, human resources, and legal can be moved into the cloud. Your business can still move from legacy systems to software as a service (SaaS) and benefit from the cost savings, mobility, and scalability the cloud has to offer while still meeting your obligations to your clients.
This balancing act of sorts between on-premise and the cloud isn’t limited to compliance restrictions. Those providing municipal services such as the Department of Transportation can redistribute resources in a way that makes growth and innovation a smoother process. Back-office functions can be shifted to the cloud along with other non-critical applications in order to allow mission-critical data and programs to be stored and maintained on secure on-premise servers and systems. A hybrid on-premise/cloud solution can also be used in this scenario to support better scalability and allow for the adoption of platform as a service or infrastructure as a service down the road.
While most cloud providers offer built-in cyber security measures as part of their offerings as well as round-the-clock monitoring and maintenance of your virtual servers to prevent intrusions or data loss, some data can be considered too sensitive to trust to the cloud. For some businesses, the fact of having to collaborate with an outside provider to manage IT security is something they’re simply not comfortable with. For others, it may be slightly more complicated. Applications that, for example, control municipal resources such as traffic lights or waste water release require a level of protection from potential hackers that is, for the moment, better provided by an on-premise system.
Data that needs to be accessed quickly and at a moment’s notice may also be a poor candidate for cloud storage. Despite the extremely high up-time guarantee offered by most cloud providers, there is always a chance that access could be delayed by a minor service disruption, whereas data stored on-premise would remain accessible.
For many businesses that either cannot or are not comfortable with trusting their mission-critical data and applications to a cloud solution, the cloud still offers an invaluable service – data backup and business continuity.
Your day-to-day operations might function based entirely on an on-premise infrastructure, but data and applications that are backed up to the cloud provide businesses with the ability to work around disruptions that would otherwise see their operations grind to a halt. In the event of a fire, flood, or storm that leaves your office inaccessible or damages your on-premise hardware, the cloud allows for offsite disaster recovery.
Businesses that are fully open to moving to the cloud may find themselves facing challenges of their own. Adopting a cloud solution based entirely on functionality without considering connectivity or security can lead to major headaches. It’s important to remember that while there are numerous applications designed to work in the cloud – or designed specifically for the cloud – not every legacy application can integrate with cloud technology seamlessly, or at all.
Taking the time to plan out your cloud migration carefully will give you better results, and save you the cost and frustration of having to revert back to on-premise solutions. When done right, most businesses that adopt cloud technology stay with it long-term. Knowing which applications are best suited to the cloud, which applications need to be moved together to boost performance, and how your team relies on and uses resources will help your cloud migration to be a successful one.
The key to benefiting from the cost savings the cloud can offer is being smart about how and when you begin to move away from on-premise solutions. A business that is relying on onsite hardware that is ten years old and in need of constant maintenance will likely see a huge boost in productivity and efficiency along with a reduction in IT costs by moving applications out of their on-premise data center. A business with relatively new technology powering its infrastructure wouldn’t see as dramatic a change in performance or cost, but could still benefit from the added accessibility and speed cloud-based applications can offer.
Something else businesses considering the cloud should keep in mind is their IT department. There is a common misconception that by moving part or all of their infrastructure off-premise, the need for IT personnel decreases. The reality is that your technology is still there. While the day-to-day maintenance tasks associated with onsite technology may not demand the level of attention they once did, your cloud solutions cannot run or maintain themselves. There will be new challenges for your IT staff to take on, and new uses for their skills. Your IT staff can now focus on leveraging your technology to increase performance and productivity, staying on top of upgrades and innovations, and helping your team to make better use of the resources available to them.
There is no right or wrong way to go about implementing cloud technology that applies to everyone. Each business has its own unique needs and goals. Figuring out whether the cloud, an on-premise solution, or some combination of both is the right fit for your business requires taking a look at what your business’ requirements are and discussing your options with your IT department or IT provider.
Version 3.1 Released!
We are happy to announce the release of MyWorkDrive version 3.1 with numerous new features and improvements including:
- Data Loss Prevention
- Public File Sharing link functionality using Office 365 OneDrive integration
- MyWorkDrive Mapped Drive and Mobile Client updates
- DUO Two Factor Security in Web, Mobile or Mapped Drive Clients
MyWorkDrive is the ONLY Microsoft Office 365 Partner that allows you to collaborate with and edit office documents online in Office 365 while keeping files stored on your own server.
See our Server Setup Guide for more information. The latest release allows you to trial all features including enterprise functions during your trial. Existing customers may upgrade in-place.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) allows you to prevent downloading and external sharing of files made available in MyWorkDrive. Details are in the DLP Support Article Here
Questions? Need a trial extension? Email us at [email protected] or Phone: 877-705-4997
In today’s working world, whether your business is large or small, you require remote access to your files. You may rely on a Virtual Private Network (VPN), with syncing to do this. Regardless of the solution type, you just need to access your files from any location in a secure, reliable, cost-effective way. This is the genesis of MyWorkDrive. It allows you to work from anywhere, and access your files without the need for a VPN, or syncing files.
You need reliable, fast and secure access to your files from anywhere, without the worries about:
- Ransomware, like Cryptolocker, that can access your network via VPN.
- Costly sync/share solutions that expose you to data vulnerabilities if a laptop is stolen.
- Cloud solutions with bandwidth constraints and support issues.
- Putting all of your data in the cloud—You may just want an incremental move due to regulatory issues, or just because you’re not comfortable with this.
With MyWorkDrive, you have fast, easy and secure remote access to your organization’s files using YOUR server storage:
- No more privacy worries about data being stored in the cloud, or not syncing to your remote computers.
- No more downloading and syncing all your data to access files. (This doesn’t work if you maintain a lot of data.)
- All your files remain on your local server when large files or data sets are needed, and available at Gigabit network speeds though the same mapped drives you already use.
MyWorkDrive provides a Lightning-Fast Web Browser, Mapped Drive and Mobile Access to your work files without all the administration hassles and time wasted waiting for connections. Plus, it offers native or Office 365 integration without the need to download files to your system.
How MyWorkDrive Works
- You simply log in to MyWorkDrive with your network credentials. Or you can opt for Single Sign On (SSO) ADFS with Two-Factor Authentication Security.
- Permissions can be set for each user to designate what access they have to files. Plus, you’ll have a log of all file access for security and control.
- All files remain on YOUR server, and under YOUR control.
- Documents can be edited directly from MyWorkDrive without downloading them, and then saved securely.
- Your employees can co-edit documents in Office 365 in real time. And when one person needs to work on a file, it will be locked until they have completed and saved their work, notifying others if they try to work on it at the same time.
- Users can find files easily with an Integrated Search function and shortcuts to folders
- Take advantage of Drag & Drop for file and folder uploads.
- Enjoy Mobile Support for iOS & Droid with File Upload/Download and Viewing capabilities
- MyWorkDrive provides Multi-Language support.
Both large and small organizations have benefited from increased security, productivity and efficiency with MyWorkDrive. They enjoy private and simple file access from any device.