October 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Why do enterprise files have to be so difficult to access and use when I’m on a tablet or phone, while I have no trouble with my personal files?
The mobile revolution was a consumer revolution that has now invaded the enterprise. Sure, there are now countless business drivers for mobility, no one doubts the many virtues of enterprise mobility, and few are opposed to the idea of mobility in enterprise. It’s just that we in enterprise IT cannot forsake our responsibility to protect the data we are entrusted with, while too many people, when wearing their consumer hats, care not enough about the privacy and security of their own data.
Mobile enterprise applications soon came to the rescue of employees trying to be productive in a business environment (and we get more every day), and enterprise grade security and control followed (thankfully that evolution did not end with standalone MDM). And it’s great to finally have multiple mobility vendors willing to collaborate on a standard approach to enterprise control of mobile apps – #appstandards. This is great progress. But…
Why can I still not easily access and use the files that are the lynchpin of my enterprise productivity? It’s because those files are still housed in SharePoint, and Windows File Shares, and other legacy file systems that most enterprises still rely on to keep and secure critical company data. There are two common responses to this:
- Leave the files in enterprise storage and don’t worry about the mobile users.
- Migrate all files to a cloud file store service that mobile users can access.
There are problems with both approaches. Clearly mobile users are not well served with the first option, so the data stays safe, but productivity continues to decline. There is also an unintended consequence that users will simply use consumer-grade cloud file services to make enterprise files handy, completely compromising and circumventing all precautions and policies intended to keep files safe.
The second option may not be an option in industries with strict data regulations. Even as regulations will eventually evolve to address this, I have not spoken to a single enterprise that is excited about a massive data migration project. They are costly in time and money, and certain to impact user productivity.
Here is my proposal to satisfy all enterprises, regardless of what your current situation is. This two steps that follow are currently only supported by a single product, Unifyle by Primadesk, and can be implemented in about an hour. Unifyle brings access to all enterprise and cloud file stores into a single console, either through a mobile app or in a standard browser. With unified access and mobile controls and convenience, IT admins and users can both be happy.
- Add the best cloud file service features to enterprise files without moving them. So you don’t want to move your files? Fine. Leave them all right where they are and simply add all of those fantastic cloud features so that users have great mobile access, can easily share and edit files directly on their mobile devices, and save them right back where they came from. Because the files stay where they are, and are still protected by existing authentication and security measures, files are just as safe as they have always been. Additionally, users have no need to violate corporate policies by moving files into DropBox. So files are actually safer.
- At some point you may still want to take advantage of all of that cloud space out there for your files. Once you are comfortable with the security of your chosen solution and you want to reduce your capital expense for storing too may files, this may be your next step. With existing enterprise files and new cloud file services both visible in a single console, migrating files is as simple as dragging and dropping from one folder to another. It just doesn’t get any easier than that. Migrations can then happen over time, as convenient for users, and it is not necessary to spend a fortune on a massive project or disrupt productivity at all.
Regardless of where you are in your thinking or process, these are the absolute simplest options for mobilizing files without compromising security or taking on a huge project. It takes less than an hour to install and configure Unifyle, giving users mobile and PC access to all enterprise and authorized cloud file sources. Now who wouldn’t be willing to invest an hour to solve the last biggest challenge to enterprise mobility if they knew about it? Well, now you know.
August 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
For a young company, we’ve accomplished a lot, and we continue to push hard to make Unifyle better every day. We’ve heard your requests and are proud to announce the release of a bunch of new features. Most of these are brand new, but some will sound familiar if you have been using them during beta testing. Anyway, let’s get started. I’ll introduce these in three categories: 1) Admin, 2) Collaboration, 3) User Convenience
First, we have some features to help the ADMINS, making their lives easier and the company’s data more secure:
- AD Child Domains are now supported, giving larger companies greater flexibility in setting up Unifyle.
- Restrict Cloud Accounts by Domain allows admins to prevent users from adding personal cloud accounts to their Unifyle dashboard. In other words, they will be able to connect a box account using their firstname.lastname@example.org email, but not email@example.com. When turning this feature on, common personal email domains are automatically blocked. Additional domains may be whitelisted in case the company has multiple domains or wishes to support partner accounts.
- Restrict Sharing to Specific Email Domains controls who users are allowed to share files with. The default restriction when this option is activated allows sharing only with those users whose email shares the same domain as the Unifyle installation. Admins may whitelist additional domains as they desire.
- Encryption is not new, but also helps admins keep data safe. Any data source may be encrypted using Unifyle’s built-in encryption or a 3rd party solution.
USERS get some exciting new features to help with their work, starting with features to help them to collaborate with others.
- Collaboration Folders may be shared with other Unifyle account holders, giving them full access to all of the files in that folder. Remember that the files don’t move, so they are not copied and everyone is working with the same source files. Unifyle does not manage versions or check-outs at this time. Folders shared with others who are not account holders remain as upload folders only.
- Edit Shared Files is also available for those with Unifyle accounts. Instead of just having access to view and download shared files, Unifyle account holders may edit and resave the files as well as the file owners.
USERS also get a number of features designed purely for productivity and convenience, like synchronizing files for offline use.
- PC Sync Tool is now available to synchronize files from any or multiple file sources so they may be accessed when not connected to the Internet. A common use of this tool is to sync the Favorites folder. This avoids syncing large numbers of files that may not be needed, and allows the user to pick and choose files to sync from various cloud and enterprise sources.
- Favorite File Sync for Android is a new feature for Android users who may wish to be productive while offline, for example when on an airplane.
- Download Folder as Zip allows users to download an entire folder of files all at once. The Zip file is created automatically and downloaded to the user’s device. Note that subfolders are not included in the zip file at this time.
- Outlook Plugin is a convenient way to insert share links into your emails. With a button in the tool bar of Outlook, users never have to email attached files ever again, and it is really easy to use.
- Cloud Account Statistics is a convenient way to see exactly how much space you are using in one of your cloud accounts and how much space is left, directly from the Unifyle console.
Stay tuned for more great features to come. And email us if you have suggestions.
And if you have not yet voted in the Citrix Video contest, go now and VOTE FOR UNIFYLE!
August 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s too early to vote for your favorite presidential candidate. But it’s the right time to vote for your favorite Citrix Ready partner video. Just go here: http://www.citrixreadyprogram.com/spotlight_contest_video/vote/
Yes, it’s that time of year again where the public gets to vote on their favorite Citrix Ready partner, based on what they can do for the Citrix community and whether they have a good video explaining that. Unifyle was selected as one of the 10 finalists because we add great value to a wide range of Citrix environments.
Here at Primadesk, we think our Unifyle video has a great chance to win this year. Our video makes it very easy to understand how Unifyle adds tremendous value to any Citrix user, making their files both safer and easier to use, regardless of where you are or what device you are using.
I think, of all 10 video finalists, Unifyle has the farthest reaching advantages, across the most Citrix products. The video highlights integrations and advantages with XenApp, XenMobile and ShareFile. Of course, Unifyle also works great with XenDesktop and any other product you may want to use. But who has gone farther to add specific integrations to make your work life better?
So go HERE now and watch our video. If you agree that we offer great value to the Citrix community of users and IT professionals, please vote for our video, and tell you friends as well.
July 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
Enterprises interested in supporting a mobile workforce figured out a while ago that they needed Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), even if it wasn’t always called that, and they didn’t really know precisely what they needed at the time. But they needed something. As the evolution and adoption of EMM has increased, so has the realization that it is not enough. The first goal of EMM was security, the second productivity. This is why stand-alone MDM failed – all security, no productivity.
Where are the files?
Aside from reading and responding to corporate email, most productivity requires access to documents – reading, editing, sharing, etc. And enterprises are still figuring out where is the right place for those documents. For security sake, many businesses, especially those in regulated industries, are inclined to leave them right where they are, inside the firewall in traditional and dependable file shares, like SharePoint and a multitude of Windows File Shares. Others, often with some trepidation, are moving into the cloud or to some alternate on-premises solution. No sane IT administrator looks forward to a data migration project; they are long, expensive, complicated, and nobody looks forward to re-training users. So why do they do it.
What is the role of EFSS?
Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) offers improved access to files from any device, including mobile devices, with different solutions offering different pros and cons. But it is essential for users to have universal access to ALL documents, regardless of where they are, and it is essential to IT that this access be controlled by an EMM solution and not by randomly by the individual. EMM solutions rely on a managed ecosystem in order to have the proper visibility and control over user activities. But participation is still inconsistent, and certainly not universal. For example, XenMobile users can work with Box in the Worx environment, but will have to go outside of XenMobile if they use Office 365 because Office 365 is not part of the Worx Verified program. This diversity of solutions and lack of universal adoption across all EFSS and ALL EMM introduces unnecessary complications for both users and IT.
Integrate, Unify, Simplify
A better approach, especially for those with files in multiple locations, is to work with a virtual file manager that aggregates access to all EFSS solutions AND works with all major EMM solutions. Then users will have simple and secure access to any file in any system, and all transactions remain within the control and visibility of the company’s EMM.
Unifyle is the only such solution that I am aware of today. Unifyle is partnered with Citrix (XenMobile), VMware (AirWatch), Symantec (Sealed), CA EMM and MobileIron. Add to that a multitude of connectors for both enterprise file shares and cloud-based file storage solutions, and there is no reason for any user to access any file that isn’t accessed within the safe confines of their EMM solution.
And perhaps the best part for all involved is that everyone files can remain right where they are today. There may be other reasons to move files around. But secure mobile file access should not require a file migration project.
July 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
Unifyle has already proven its mettle for convenience, being the only Enterprise File Sync and Share solution that gives you all of the benefits without migrating any files, and unifies access to everything in a single dashboard, on your mobile device or in your browser.
Data security is also of paramount importance, regardless of where your files are. No one questions that encryption is the way to secure files at rest, and we are starting to hear of some of the cloud providers offering encryption. Box, for example, is now offering companies the ability to encrypt files using their own keys. This is smart for security, but kills some of the functionality normally provided by Box, like SEARCH, because Box can no longer read and work with the files. Plus, each provider will eventually have their own strategy for encryption, leading to a potential nightmare of key management and logistics.
Consolidating security offers similar benefits for security as consolidating access offers for productivity. If all of the functionality, like search, share, edit, etc. are all consolidated in the same location as encryption, your files can be secure without losing any convenience or productivity. One dashboard will hold the key (on-premises) and also provide unified search, secure sharing (even shared files can remain encrypted), and access to local editing.
Unifyle offers customers the ability to add encryption to ANY connected file source, and still give full functionality. Admins can use the same approach to encrypt any or all file sources with just a switch, completely independent of the storage location. Direct access to the cloud service will show only unreadable files. Using existing encryption solutions from Symantec and others, or Unifyle’s built-in encryption, customers have both flexibility and ease of management.
And if IT managers really want to get crazy, Unifyle makes adding anti-virus just as easy.
June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
Like everyone else in business, I just want things to work, including when I’m on my tablet or phone. Recent evolutions have helped by bringing us mobile business apps for just about anything you may want to do. And when there aren’t mobile apps, we can easily tap into some VDI or XenApp environment to get the functionality we need. But here’s the problem…
I can’t get my files in and out of the apps!
I still have to jump through way too many hoops to get my files into those apps, work with them, and then get them back where they belong. At work, my files are in SharePoint and various Windows file shares – completely out of reach when I’m mobile. So I do what most of us do, copy the files I need into my personal Dropbox account so I can get the files where I need them to be productive. Of course I then have to reverse the process to put them back, having already violated all of the data safety policies of my company. Files seem to be the final frontier for business mobility.
Many businesses are looking to migrate their data to the cloud (those that can even seriously consider the option), in hopes of solving these access and productivity issues. But nobody I know is excited about the process, the cost, the time, or the lost productivity of such major migrations.
Fortunately, there is now a way for these companies to skip the migration and headache, and it works for companies that can’t even consider the cloud as well.
Unifyle is a relatively new product that finally takes this challenge head on. Here is the basic idea:
- Leave all of your files where they are.
- Install some software in your datacenter (100% on-premises).
- Tell users about the new secure, mobile-friendly portal for all files.
It takes less than an hour to install and configure, giving users mobile and PC access to all enterprise and authorized cloud file sources. Now who wouldn’t want to invest an hour to solve the last biggest challenge to enterprise mobility if they knew about it? I can’t think of anybody either.
April 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Unifyle recently reached another milestone, with both iOS and Android apps now verified as Citrix Ready®. Unifyle successfully completed the battery of tests to validate its compatibility as a joint solution with a variety of Citrix products, including ShareFile, XenMobile and XenApp.
Unifyle uniquely extends the productivity for Citrix customers by making all files accessible without the need to move or migrate anything. Worx customers can have unprecedented access to SharePoint and other file stores, without having to make unsecured and unsynced copies. XenApp Customers can open files directly in applications hosted on XenApp, then save back to the original source, without ever bringing the file to a remote device.
For those not as familiar with Unifyle, it is a virtual file management and access solution that makes existing enterprise file shares behave like they were in DropBox, so they are easy to access and use from outside the firewall and from mobile devices. Unifyle becomes a single dashboard for ALL of your files, including cloud services that are allowed by IT. With this powerful solution, businesses can:
- Add cloud-like features to your existing corporate file stores.
- Extend access to all file shares to mobile devices.
- Search, manage, edit and share files securely from anywhere.
- Integrates tightly with all existing corporate security measures.
Anyone with a mobile initiative that could benefit from better access to enterprise files should check this out.