Top 5 File Sharing Content Collaboration Risks

Organizations of all sizes are reviewing the impact of moving files to the cloud for content collaboration.   We put together these 5 risks of cloud based content collaboration.

Content Collaboraton

  1. Security– The number one risk facing any Enterprise that decides to put most, if not all their critical digital assets on a third-party cloud provider’s platform is security. ‘The Cloud’ after all is just some other company’s server.  Depending on the line of business or sector you are in, your Enterprise may use a mixture of several platforms for content collaboration among Enterprise users.  You may employ a mixture of private, public, and hybrid cloud services for day to day operations.  If you run an eCommerce business maybe you rely solely on AWS while managing your own Exchange server.  If you are a healthcare conglomerate you may use a mix of cloud providers that are HIPAA compliant as well as critical data hosted on-premise but managed by third party vendors.  Some financial firms and legal firms still use Google docs for content collaboration on cases and logging client attorney privileged information. Governments and Educational institutions are still relying on some mixture of on premise main frames with various communications living on cloud-based services and hybrids of networks having to be supported, updated, and maintained for running operations.  What happens when cloud providers are hacked?  Whether it’s malware, ransomware, data breaches, or outright data theft, the news is rife with scary headlines about data integrity loss and massive breaches whether it’s voting machines, financial records, personal information like social security numbers and credit cards, or private conversations that have severe repercussions.  The DNC, Sony Pictures, Equifax, and the Pentagon are just some of the victims of security breaches and data theft.  Worrying about security with cloud computing is not just worrying about identity theft, it’s also a matter of national security.
  2. Secure Access– most often you log in to content collaboration platforms with a username and password. These identifying factors are stored in the cloud computing service you are using and paying for on a monthly or annual basis.  Some providers give you the option of two factor authentication and it’s highly recommended to employ it for an added layer of security.  Setting up a text to your phone with a code to add when logging on is a great way to protect your login information.  But what happens when these third-party cloud providers get hacked?  Suddenly your user data and passwords are not controlled by you anymore and depending on the time it takes for disaster recovery or prevention and data loss mitigation, you are no longer compliant and you no longer have access to your most critical personal information.  Not being able to see your bank balance is one thing but also not being able to see your medical test results or purchase history is at best totally annoying and at worst, completely debilitating.  We have grown accustomed to even the most trusted partners sending an ominous message requesting you change your password immediately and we have learned the hard way to not trust that initial message as it may have come from a nefarious source.  As we have seen repeatedly, password change requests are often phishing from bad actors.  Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are added layers of what any IT Department must consider and factor in when maintaining and mitigating security risks.  The CEO wants to access files from their phones from any remote location and the CRM wants to be able to update customer accounts on the fly so there is no such thing as just a single point of failure across a network anymore.
  3. Data Ownership and Control– once you upload your data to the cloud, you are essentially giving up control and ownership of your data and critical files. For any kind of real content collaboration you are reliant on your files always be there and always being accessible.  You usually have to sync your files before you can share.  Enterprise File Sync and Share platforms are made to house your company assets whether you are a graphic design firm having to share images with clients or a company that relies on google drive as some of kind of data room to house passwords, share reporting across multiple stakeholders and locations or edit and collaborate with several different types of files whether it be Profit and Loss files, Excel spreadsheets or project management assets.  All these files may be yours or a mixture of yours and your various clients but at the end of the day you are not in control of these files and assets.  They are housed elsewhere and relying on VPN or remote access logins and licenses that are complicated in scope and cumbersome in any kind of recovery.
  4. Migration– data migration to the cloud is a huge project for most Enterprises. First, decisions have to be made around what will be migrated and synced and shared to the cloud. Folders and files have to be cleaned up, backed up, and servers that need to be decommissioned because they are too full, too old, or too vulnerable for whatever reason need to have their housed data live somewhere before they are sent to the hardware graveyard.  An entire Enterprise has to be restructured, analyzed, and strategized around best practices moving forward. How will be files be organized and what departments have access to what data ongoing are only part of what needs to be folded in as CTOs and CISOs draw up migration steps.   FNRA, HIPAA, and GDPR are only some of the regulations and compliance rules that dictate how data must be treated and shared in this modern digital age.  There may be a public server being utilized in any size Enterprise that allows departments and offices across geo locations and time zones to be able to access files and update them and share information but who decides what stays and what goes and how public that public server will remain.  Most companies need to stay agile to maintain growth and productivity and efficiencies can be lost during migration periods as files go missing or access is denied or remote VPNs no longer are happening the same way.  If a user base is not totally tech savvy then learning curves and new ways of conducting business have to be factored in as data migration projects kick off.
  5. Cost of Ownership– Step 4 reminds us that migrating to the cloud can be just as costly and cumbersome as relying on the cloud for normal operations. Most cloud service providers for content collaboration average about $20/license per month and that’s an average.  There are also added costs of support sometimes and premium services charged depending on the sector and needs of the business ongoing.  VPN maintenance ongoing for most Enterprises comprised of 500 to 1000 users cost on average around $288,000 per year.  Enterprises need to keep costs down as competition and innovation rule the game and company growth is paramount.  If you have to add yet another expense line item that includes IT budgets then productivity is compromised as any Enterprise may rely on several cloud providers for normal operations depending on where accounting, reporting, customer service, critical files, and more are housed. Access to all and communication between them is silo-ed and mutually exclusive depending on the nature of your business and how fast you have been growing.

MyWorkDrive is the answer to all these risks.  Security, secure remote access, migration, cost of ownership, and data control and ownership are all mitigated and risks diminished whether you maintain a private, public, or hybrid solution to content collaboration and cloud computing.  You don’t have to migrate, you pay less for each license, you are guaranteed secure access with tried and true NTFS permissions and no one single point of failure.  Your users can access data rooms from a mobile phone and edit instantly online.  No more having to sync in order to share. MyWorkDrive also offers Duo authentication and has been certified as a trusted partner with various vendors including Azure and Office365.  Stay agile and stay secure and keep your cost centers down as you seek to make your Enterprise stay competitive, relevant, and productive in this digital transformation age.  If your organization is a government regulated Enterprise or involved in Healthcare administration or a financial institution then all the more reason to check out MyWorkDrive.  No more VPN headaches and ongoing maintenance and renewals.  No more complicated remote logins or confusing approved access.  MyWorkDrive is easy to install, easy to login, and easy to start working immediately.  No more headaches around what to do with what file and what stays and what gets erased.  MyWorkDrive is a secure way to remote access your most important files and edit and collaborate online instantly with whoever you give permission to.  Using a secure browser login, a mapped drive from a network desktop, or a mobile login on an iPhone or Android keeps you connected, collaborating, and productive without massive costs, security risks, or migration worries as all data stays on your own servers under your control.

 

 

RSA Conference 2018 Takeaway: Cloud Computing Is Not Secure

Data security and privacy compliance regulation was top priority at RSAC2018 because of the EU’s GDPR deadline looming next month on May 25th. Last week San Francisco’s Moscone’s Center was host to the security show of all shows, RSA2018 with over 500 vendors and 40,000 attendees from all over the world.  One thing became very clear from all the exhibitors, keynotes, speakers, special programs, and podcasts – if you rely on the cloud then protecting your data and securing it is critical for file sharing.

As the only file sharing/file remote access software solution vendor at the RSAC show, MyWorkDrive had amazing feedback and an overwhelmingly positive response exhibiting and providing demos at our booth of our latest version release.   RSAC Broadcast Alley was host to MyWorkDrive’s CMO, Jackie R. Bruckman and MyWorkDrive’s CEO, Dan Gordon recorded live discussing all the ways MyWorkDrive can help Enterprise in all sectors stay secure and compliant.

MyWorkDrive met with decision makers and security professionals from all over the world and has been busy on-boarding new clients this week immediately following the show.   MyWorkDrive had an overwhelmingly positive response demonstrating our secure file share remote access solution at RSAC2018 for enterprises .   The overwhelming take away was that many Enterprises need MyWorkDrive to simplify their data security compliance for safe file sharing while making users more productive and reducing costs of support or migrations to new Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) systems.

The Cloud is only someone else’s server after all and it’s time for many sectors to think outside the cloud.   Windows file sharing with NTFS security is tried and true and may not be as glamorous but we are empowering Enterprises across the globe to make the right decision about their most critical data while making users more productive and eliminating the security risks of cloud storage.

Cloud Computing and File Sharing in 2018

Cloud Computing File Sharing

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) are now known as Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP).

“Gartner, the revered US based research firm, defines the Content Collaboration Platform (CCP) market as a range of content-centric platforms enabling secure file productivity and content collaboration for individuals and teams as well as supporting the creation of a modern digital workplace.”

Big names in the file share space have rebranded themselves to sound more productive and efficient but there is still an issue of clunky, cumbersome, and costly migrations and no instant access until syncing has happened. Even Sharepoint is being marketed as a web based collaborative platform.

Cloud Computing and File Sharing in 2018

It happens to all of us, from the board room to the mail room, you are on deadline and need to share a report update with a remote user across the Enterprise. You have been told by Legal and by IT to not send it via regular email. What to do?

Depending on who you talk to there are several different answers to that question. Production may tell you to just use Dropbox but then the important document is in Dropbox’s cloud and you have to login and sync and your recipient needs a Dropbox account to view it.

The Legal department says they just use Google Drive or Box. This is still uploading the document to a third-party cloud provider where the company loses control of their data and the recipient has to have a compatible account to view the document or be granted editing capabilities on the other end.  You still have a need to collaborate in real time. Google Drive may be free but you have to sync first to share it and migrate your data losing control, legal retention and ownership.  Box and other services are also an option but again require extensive planning, migration and cost $15 per user or higher.

Your CRM department may tell you how great Huddle or other web platform products are but again, you have to sync and migrate in order to share assets and the cost can go up to $15 to $20/user.

Stop wasting time and money and worrying about productivity and the cost of VPN support and maintenance and get MyWorkDrive. MyWorkDrive is easy to install, fast to implement, you don’t have to migrate your data, you will have secure access for any remote user with permissions, and cost effective especially for large enterprises.

Don’t migrate. Collaborate with MyWorkDrive anytime anywhere. For More Info: MyWorkDrive

Are you ready for GDPR Compliance?

EU GDPCompliance Deadline Fast Approaching

GDPR Compliance

Is your company’s data ready to meet the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance deadline on May 25th?  The EU has mandated that companies must comply or be fined heavily.  The pending GDPR compliance deadline isn’t on everyone’s minds like things were during the Y2K doomsday prophecies around 18 years ago.  But the first American company to be levied a huge fine will make headline news.  Data protection compliance on any level can send shudders through the global marketplace as viruses, data breaches, malware, and ransomware become more virulent and ubiquitous.  The simple mandate from the EU is to protect your data. Achieving that mandate quickly is not that easy if you have multiple stakeholders and headquarters and devices to manage.  The cost of ownership maintaining VPNs and Firewalls and hardware upgrades and the daunting project of migrating data to a cloud-based service to be compliant takes precious resources.

Don’t waste time and money. Get compliant with MyWorkDrive.

MyWorkDrive will ‘cloudify’ your data center and with a mapped drive you can access your files securely from anywhere anytime on a desktop, browser, or mobile app. Set permissions and Instantly collaborate, edit, and share your files with who you want to share with in real time.   No need for VPNs, migrating, syncing or sharing first.

All 28 EU countries are moving forward with enforcing compliance by May 25th, 2018.  GDPR compliance is a regulation where the EU will strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union.  The fines for not being compliant could reach 20 M Euros or 4% of global annual turnover for some companies. GDPR compliance should be taken extremely serious by any company doing business in this global marketplace. Have you identified your company’s risk level?

Contact MyWorkDrive now for a free trial and more info.   We have proudly partnered with several institutions including major universities, healthcare providers, City governments, tech and financial sectors.  We are ready to work for you.

Contact: Jackie Rednour-Bruckman Chief Marketing Officer MyWorkDrive jrbruckman@myworkdrive.com

MyWorkDrive is a product and dba of Wanpath LLC, founded in 2014 and based in San Francisco, CA. For Enterprise and Standard Edition visit MyWorkDrive

 

MyWorkDrive redefines Enterprise File Sharing

enterprise file sharing

MyWorkDrive is an innovative solution that is redefining how Enterprises access files and collaborate.

With MyWorkDrive, file sync-and-share systems are not needed; nor are outsourced cloud services.  MyWorkDrive uses your cloud and your data center as its collaboration hub.  With a simple set up, you are securely connected with a mapped tool that also works across all iOS and Mac platforms.  MyWorkDrive is a hybrid solution that allow users to instantly connect and edit online without having to first migrate or sync data.

The latest reports from Forrester Wave Research on “enterprise file sync-and-share” (EFSS) platforms confirm that by providing a viable, stable, and secure alternative, MyWorkDrive is poised to capture market share from powerful players like Google, Citrix, Dropbox, and Egnyte.

Referencing the highly respected Forrester report, a recent post in StorageNewsletter differentiates EFSS providers by the following key criteria:

  • Improved business agility
  • Lower aggregate costs
  • Fast and simple implementation
  • Ease of collaboration
  • Simplicity of maintenance
  • Strong user support (especially mobile and remote)

During 2018, 74% of global senior technology executives plan to implement, upgrade, or expand file share solutions to reduce risks associated with sensitive data.  Current file storage platforms are burdensome, expensive, and have significant hardware and mobile-device support requirements.  Thus, many enterprises are moving towards cloud platforms for sync-and-share file sharing to increase productivity and reduce costs…but cloud platforms require migration of data, extra maintenance and their own security mechanisms that carry significant viral and malware infections risks, as we all have recently witnessed with massive data breaches across all sectors.

From the financial sector to government to education and beyond, enterprises require a viable and secure solution that will enable their users to stay connected, stay secure, and stay productive on a global scale.  MyWorkDrive is that solution.

Furthermore, a critical deadline looming:  as of May 2018, the EU–via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)–mandates that all customer/user data must be highly secure.   It is imperative that enterprises become compliant with GDPR security standards as soon as possible.   MyWorkDrive  is the answer.

MyWorkDrive will enable enterprises across the global marketplace to access and manage their data securely, instantly, and remotely on virtually any device or platform.

 

8 Security and Support Concerns to consider before deploying Microsoft’s new Always On VPN

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.

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.

  1. Always On 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

  2. AO VPN works only with Windows 10. It is not supported for Windows 7 or other operating systems

  3. While AO VPN does add extensive filtering options, however no additional blocking technologies exist to prevent viruses or malware such as crypto locker from encrypting files

  4. A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is required along with Active Directory Certificate Services to authenticate clients

  5. Like Direct Access, Always On VPN requires two network adapters with one directly connects to the external perimeter network.

  6. Remote Client Computers must be joined to the active directory domain

  7. 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.

  8. 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.  User’s 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, home drives and edit/view documents online.  For security all MyWorkDrive clients also supports 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.

 

Secure File Sharing

Secure Access to Windows Shares — Online Access & Secure File Sharing

Secure File Sharing

MyWorkDrive allows secure file sharing without the risks of cloud storage or migrating files to unproven sync and share systems.   In just minutes, you can activate a web client portal for secure file sharing, branded with your company logo, color scheme, and URL.   Access to files are based on Active Directory permissions out of the box.   Should you wish, additional security features can be easily activated including;  Data Loss Prevention and Two Factor Authentication.

Our MyWorkDrive secure file sharing server is the only software that exclusively uses security based on NTFS permissions.   There are no overriding logins, databases, service accounts or services that can be leveraged to gain unauthorized access.   When a user logs into MyWorkDrive they gain access to only files and folders as defined in NTFS.  Even if an administrator of MyWorkDrive were to attempt to provide access to shares using MyWorkDrive, no additional access could be granted since authentication runs under the users security context when they log into the system.   MyWorkDrive integrates with Microsoft Server Access Based Enumeration to provide visibility to files and folders based on NTFS permissions.   NTFS security is the tried and true backbone of companies secure file sharing networks since it was released in over 20 years ago.

 

Consider the risks of competing data base driven sync and share companies that use their own security mechanisms.  It was recently revealed that a leading secure file sharing firm utilized an alternative access mechanism that exposed customers sensitive data between accounts… this from a company that bills itself as a security-minded firm, stewards of sensitive and confidential information.

 

More than just secure file remote access…

 

Enjoy the ease and convenience of cloud file access with proven best-in-class security and the advanced file sharing features that you need to run your business without VPN, syncing or storing data in a public cloud.  Securely share files and stay in compliance with MyWorkDrive enterprise features including:

  • Integrated tools for secure file sharing made easy with OneDrive
  • Online document access built-in, so you can edit documents in Office 365 without migrating them or storing them in the cloud.
  • Mobile apps for secure file sharing on-the-go
  • Support for Windows Server file encryption of documents in transit and at rest
  • Extensive logging lets you know who accessed or modified files – All user access is logged and searchable to meet your compliance requirements
  • Granular user permissions based on Windows Security let you control access to every folder

Quantifying Technology Costs of VPN Software

VPN Software Costs

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 represents 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:

VPN Software Costs

Hardware/Software and Labor Support Direct Costs:

  • Hardware & VPN 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.
  • VPN Software Setup Costs: For large enterprises VPN services can take up to 40 Hours for procurement, basic setup and deployment.
  • Ongoing Maintenance: VPN Devices require continual updating and refinement – expect ongoing maintenance, after hours updating and security patching.
  • User Support: 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.
  • Two Factor: 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.

Potential Indirect Costs:

  • Internal Systems open to potential compromise – 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 cyber security 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.
  • 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

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.  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.

 

10 Reasons why SharePoint is not a File Server

sharepoint file server

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 might not be a good fit to replace your file servers:

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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).

 

  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.

 

  1. 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 lastest 90 days of deleted files – backups requires additional 3rd party subscription services that charge for ongoing backups and retrieval.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

Microsoft Azure File Share Sync – seamlessly extend file services across servers and cloud storage

Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure File Share Sync at it’s 2017 Ignite Conference.  This technology extends file services from on-premise to Cloud Storage on Azure File Shares and across windows servers in multi locations.   Microsoft engineers interviewed customers and confirmed that Windows File Shares are still in use for a multitude of reasons.    The customer pain points identified include speed of access, control of data and large storage capacities.   Azure File Share Sync addresses these concerns.

Watch the Microsoft Ignite Session Herecloud storage

Some of the key features and include:

  • Bi-Directional Sync – from Windows Server to Azure Cloud Storage with write back capabilities
  • Multi-Site Sync – Sync a share across multiple Windows Servers through Azure File Shares to Cloud Storage with the ability to cache and edit data in real time at each site.
  • Backup of Azure File Shares to Azure Backup
  • Tiering of data – set the maximum data storage capacities for each Windows server and only replicate the most recent data to each server with the balance stored in Azure File Shares in the cloud.

The MyWorkDrive team is very excited about this announcement as it will give our customers the ability to setup a MyWorkDrive server in Azure, sync files to it and use it access file shares remotely or during a disaster.   Using MyWorkDrive, windows file shares can be accessed from any location worldwide over https (Azure File Sharing  only supports access over smb port 445 which is typically blocked from most remote locations).

This technology also provides a seamless way for MyWorkDrive customers to migrate their servers completely to Azure Cloud Storage and remove them from on-premise entirely utilizing MyWorkDrive to map drives or access them using our Web File Manager.

 

Harden IIS SSL for Compliance and Security

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”.

IIS SSL

 

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:

SSL Scanner

MyWorkDrive Recognized by Microsoft as an Industry Leader

What does it take to be a Microsoft Partner that leads the way in digital transformation solutions for business?

Secure File Access

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 sales@myworkdrive.com

Striking The Right Balance Between Cloud And On-Premise

Cloud or On-Premise

 

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!

Install Server Software

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Download MyWorkDrive Version 3.1 upgrade or Trial for 30 days now

Download Mapped Drive and Mobile Clients

 

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 sales@myworkdrive.com or Phone: 877-705-4997