What It Feels Like to Take Control of Your Files

by Tom Scearce on March 3, 2015

Post-10---ControllerOver the last several weeks, we’ve examined the risks of using the public cloud in the enterprise workplace. From unauthorized file access to regulatory noncompliance, the potential scenarios vary from dire to more dire – and it’s up to decision makers to take control of their organization’s enterprise file sync-and-share (EFSS) procedures.

But what does it feel like to have that control? If you’re currently trying to figure out how and where users are keeping their files, regaining control may sound like a faraway fantasy.

You can do it, though. Really! And you know what? Taking control feels good. If you don’t believe it, just ask the following managers and IT professionals, all of whom addressed employee use of the public cloud and put their file use processes back on track.

Taking control feels… secure.

“Our data is local, secure, on campus, and on American soil,” Brian Verkamp, IT Director at the University of Cincinnati.

The University of Cincinnati, like many higher education institutions, is subject to a smorgasbord of regulations. From HIPAA to FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), various laws require the University to know where its files are – and who can access them – at all times.

Faculty were requesting Dropbox-like functionality, so the University chose Filr as its EFSS solution. Since the information security department “frowned on” the idea of offshore data storage, keeping data on-site was an imperative as well, not to mention the safest option. In this sense, too, choosing Filr made perfect sense.

To pinpoint which users had rights to various areas of the system, the University also took advantage File Reporter. Together, both applications recognized the Group and Directory rights setup by IT, so the data security the University needed was firmly in place.

Control = convenience.

“It’s the missing piece to the puzzle – Filr gives us the convenience of the cloud with the security of being,” Kelly Kovnesky, Supervisor of Network Operations for the Mukwonago Area School District.

With users looking for something “like Google Drive,” the Mukwonago Area School District knew convenience would be just as important as security when choosing its EFSS solution. After all, users are accustomed to the convenience of consumer cloud services. Give them something clunky, slow, and inflexible, and they might start relying on workarounds (e.g. apps with the functionality you deny them, like Google Drive).

When the District’s Operations Supervisor refers to the “missing piece” of the puzzle, she’s referring to mobile file sharing. Before Filr, it was difficult for users to share files securely with mobile devices. Now that mobile EFSS is a competitive imperative, she and her colleagues couldn’t be more relieved to have a solution in place.

Better control means better efficiency.

“Now many of our departments […] save precious time by using their smartphones or tablets to get the information they need to do their jobs. […] And, we’re addressing one of our mayor’s strategies to be an efficient local government,” Carolyn Hogg, CIO, City of Fresno, California.

Whether warranted or not, people love to complain about inefficient government bureaucracy. But what if your local government was efficient? It would be a beautiful thing!

That’s precisely what the City of Fresno was looking for when it transitioned to a new EFSS solution. Previously, employees had to return to the office from the field just to add data to the system. There was no secure way to transfer the data via mobile devices, and that had to stop.

By including Filr among its suite of mission-critical applications, the City of Fresno is giving taxpayers more value for their money. If nothing else, more efficient government is something everyone can support.

Given the gains in security, convenience, and efficiency, it’s little wonder so many organizations strive to regain control of their EFSS situations. Having control feels good. Your users are happy. IT is in the driver’s seat. Sensitive data is safe. It’s a tough scenario to top – but we think you can get there, too.

4 Benefits of Automating File Management Tasks

by Tom Scearce on February 17, 2015

Post-9---SkeletonIn an effort to address an array of file-related challenges, many organizations automate file management tasks. Automation can enhance security, free up IT resources, and help you achieve order and control in an otherwise inadequately regulated file transfer environment.

Let’s take a closer look at how automating file management can improve IT processes. Here are four fundamental benefits of ditching manual file maintenance in favor of automation.

1.   Save administration hours

Your IT staff is busy. From assigning, maintaining, archiving, and possibly even organizing storage for every user in your organization, there’s little time to do much else. Other larger, more consequential IT projects may require their attention, but right now they’re busy helping the user on the third floor who can’t find the documents he just saved in his home folder.

What if IT didn’t have to deal with these issues? They could apply their talents to more meaningful tasks like preparing a realistic budget for the coming year or training recent hires on the new enterprise application you just implemented.

Automating file management means every aspect of the user and group file lifecycle is completely taken care of. IT barely has to think about it anymore, so your organization can gain back the thousands of hours lost to tedious administrative tasks each year.

2.   Enforce data use policies

Whether for intellectual property (IP) protection or regulatory compliance, your organization has data use policies it needs to enforce. Only specific users and groups should have access to sensitive data, and automating file management can establish access requirements on the fly.

In addition to restricting and allowing access, automation can manage file renaming, remove disallowed file types from collaborative directories, and adjust rights as roles change. All of this can be set up to align with the data use policies your organization already depends on. It’s like putting compliance on autopilot.

3.   Curtail the use of unauthorized applications

By automating rules that prevent users from moving sensitive data out of their allowed directories, you can further ensure that your organization safeguards intellectual property from unauthorized access. After all, there is a high cost for allowing or ignoring applications like Dropbox at work. Automating file storage can keep employees from putting files there in the first place.

For example, a nurse at a health care institution might need to send patient information to another nurse or doctor in a different department. It would be easy to add the patient file to a shared Dropbox folder, but when the nurse tries, the organization’s file management rules prevent moving the file.

The result: patient data isn’t compromised and the organization maintains HIPAA compliance.

4.   Manage staff turnover

It’s easy to think of file management as a process that occurs during an employee’s tenure at a company. But what happens to that person’s files when he or she leaves? Hint: They don’t disappear into thin air; at least, not without a little help.

Divvying up a former user’s files among other staffers, reassigning rights, and archiving or deleting the user’s data was once a manual IT process. However, an automated file management arrangement can ensure that the individual’s files – sensitive or otherwise – are archived or deleted within a specified time period after he or she leaves. Thus, turnover isn’t such a chore for IT to manage.

With Novell Storage Manager, organizations from the health care, finance, and education sectors are taking advantage of automated file management. In the process, they’re freeing up valuable IT resources and protecting their sensitive data from unauthorized access.

File management automation isn’t just an IT improvement – although it definitely benefits IT personnel – it’s a transformation that helps you better serve users, clients, and partners. And, as we all know, it’s by helping those people that you achieve positive ROI.

Passing the Audit: Which Reports Demonstrate Compliance?

February 3, 2015

Come audit time, many organizations must demonstrate that data security protocols align with regulatory standards. In an era when consumer applications in the public cloud are hijacking enterprise file sync-and-share (EFSS) processes, how can you ensure your organization will pass a compliance audit? While requirements vary by industry, there are a few data-related standards that […]

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How to Make a Business Case for Secure EFSS

January 20, 2015

When properly implemented and managed, secure enterprise file sync-and-share (EFSS) applications can improve project management and empower your workforce. Unfortunately, making the business case for secure EFSS isn’t always easy – especially when users and management aren’t aware of the risks existing applications pose. Don’t get discouraged, though! The arguments in favor of change are […]

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3 Ways to Crank More Value Out of Existing IT Infrastructure

December 9, 2014

From an IT manager’s perspective, there’s only one thing better than investments in valuable new infrastructure: getting more value from the IT assets you already have. Unfortunately, finding ways to harness that value isn’t always obvious. If you’re like most organizations we work with, you’re probably not sure how much of your utilized server capacity […]

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Micro Focus International Completes Merger with the Attachmate Group

November 20, 2014

NEWBURY, UK – 20 November, 2014 – Micro Focus International (LON: MCRO) today announced the completion of its merger with the Attachmate Group under the terms of the definitive agreement disclosed on 15 September, 2014. Micro Focus International is a global leader in infrastructure software that understands the technology needs and challenges of the world’s […]

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Avoid These Unexpected Compliance Challenges

September 23, 2014

 For a variety of industries, data security must meet rigorous compliance standards. Regulations vary, but one truism among all regulated industries is that confidential business data should reside on secure servers that unauthorized parties can’t touch. But even organizations striving to stay compliant are tempted by file sharing applications hosted in the public cloud. With […]

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The Attachmate Group announces intention to merge with Micro Focus

September 15, 2014

The Attachmate Group a privately-held software holding company owned by an investment group led by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital, Elliott Management and Thoma Bravo, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Micro Focus. The transaction is expected to close on November 3, 2014. It is subject to customary closing […]

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Give Users the Productivity Tools They Want and Secure Your Data Too

September 9, 2014

 Applications like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox combine an intuitive look and feel with convenient, cross-platform compatibility. Users can access files from any device, 24/7, which makes the apps great for small business and personal use. But for large organizations with a need for top-notch data security, the same applications present a dilemma. With growing […]

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Drinking your own champagne (or eating your own dog food)

August 16, 2014

 By Stuart Meyers, APAC Regional Product Manager, Attachmate and Novell “Today’s post comes from Down Under. It was written by our esteemed colleague Stuart Meyers (au.linkedin.com/in/stuartmeyers). Stuart shares his unique perspective on what it’s like for Attachmate and Novell employees to ‘eat their own dogfood’ – use the products we sell.” One of the most enjoyable […]

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