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The Lesson from Shadow IT? Workers Want Easy-to-Use Services for Getting Work Done

August 19, 2014 - 10:22am
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The phrase “Shadow IT” refers to products and services used by employees without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.

Shadow IT is everywhere: it can be found in just about any department of any organization. When Frost & Sullivan surveyed line of business (LOB) and IT managers, they found that 80% of respondents admitted using non-approved SaaS applications for their work. Moreover, the survey found:

Non-approved applications represent a sizable proportion of all SaaS apps used in a company. According to respondents, the average company utilizes around 20 SaaS applications; of these, more than 7 are non-approved. That means you can expect that upwards of 35 percent of all SaaS apps in your company are purchased and used without oversight.

Popular categories of shadow IT applications include business productivity, social media, file sharing, storage, and backup, according to the survey.

Why are employees using shadow IT? Frost & Sullivan found that these employees just want to get their jobs done. Many shadow IT users felt that the applications they selected met their needs better than those selected by the IT department. In some cases, the employees were already familiar with the applications they selected, and they felt further swayed when the applications were free. In many organizations, there was confusion about who had the authority to select an application: was it the department or IT? Lacking clear guidance from management, employees decided to act for themselves.

If this ad hoc provisioning seems to be meeting employees’ needs, why not just let it continue? Unfortunately, enterprises must stop shadow IT, because it creates enormous security risks and can lead to data breaches and regulatory fines.

How can an enterprise—especially an enterprise in a highly regulated industry such as financial services or healthcare—possibly keep track of all its confidential files if employees are posting files to an ad hoc collection of unmonitored public-cloud file sharing services? How can the finance department of any public company claim it is complying with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for managing the distribution of financial data, if it has no idea how its files are being distributed?

Files leaked through shadow IT can make the shadow itself especially long, dark, and gloomy, once data breaches are publicized and regulatory penalties accrue.

Enterprises need to take action.

First, they should establish clear policies about who can select which type of application. If IT is in charge, this should be made clear. If departments have leeway to select certain types of applications, that, too, should be made clear. Next, enterprises should educate employees about the risks of public-cloud services that might leak files or admit malware to the network.

Finally, enterprises should select and provision SaaS services that are as powerful and easy-to-use as those being used in shadow IT. Employees are turning to applications to get their work done. Enterprises would be wise to select applications and services that let their employees do just that.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Financial Services, Private Cloud File Sharing

In-house Counsel Should Take BYOD Risks Seriously

August 14, 2014 - 8:50am
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In many organizations, decisions about mobile technology are made primarily or exclusively by the IT and IT security departments working together.

All too often, there’s one department that’s left out of these discussions:  the organization’s own legal team, and In-house Counsel. This omission is unfortunate. Legal counsel is familiar with laws, including the latest rulings about electronic discovery and data privacy, and others issues pertaining to liability and risks. Enterprises would be wise to consult in-house counsel when establishing employee policies about data confidentiality, BYOD, and use of mobile devices. There’s another reason, too, for consulting in-house counsel when mobile security policies are being formulated. In the unfortunate case that mobile technology leads to a data breach or regulatory violation, in-house counsel will likely end up spearheading the response. If the company’s legal team has the opportunity to offer guidance before a possible breach or violation occurs, then the opportunity for legal surprises is minimized.

In a series of articles for InsideCounsel Magazine (here and here), attorney and legal security expert Matt Nelson explains why inside counsel should be involved in mobile security decisions from the start. He makes the following points about legal issues and a mobile workforce:

  • Whether a company adopts a BYOD policy and allows employees to use personal devices for work or rejects BYOD requests and issues all employees company-sanctioned mobile devices, the legal liability is roughly the same. Employees are going to mix personal data and business data on their mobile devices regardless. Enterprise IT organizations should plan accordingly and deploy security solutions that protect business data, regardless of who owns the device.
  • Data stored on mobile devices may be discoverable (that is, required by a court to be presented as evidence by a specific deadline). The IT organization may need to have technology for tracking and retrieving material information stored on mobile devices, including devices owned by employees. Nelson cites a recent case from Illinois: For example, in In re Pradaxa Product Liability Litigation, the Southern District of Illinois recently fined defendants $931,000 to encourage them “to respect this court and comply with its orders.” Central to the order was defendants’ failure to preserve text messages on employees’ mobile phones.
  • Data on mobile devices is at risk. Mobile malware is proliferating, and lost devices usually compromised. Nelson describes an experiment in which Symantec left 50 mobile phones in public locations in 5 different cities to see how the phones would fare when discovered by strangers. In 96% of the cases, people who found phones tried to access their data. Only half of the people who found the phones attempted to return them. The experiment demonstrated that enterprises cannot assume that lost devices will be returned or left untampered with. On the contrary, a lost device is likely going to result in a data breach, even if it’s only a minor one.

Nelson’s advice for enterprises? IT teams should bring their In-house Counsel and legal teams to the table when defining security policies. Also any mobile security solutions should provide IT administrators and legal counsel with the ability to monitor, track, and retrieve data on mobile devices. In addition, mobile security solutions should guard against mobile malware and protect data on devices that are lost or stolen.

In my judgment, Nelson makes a solid case.

 

 

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Legal, Mobile Productivity

Can't All of Your Enterprise Content Just Get Along?

August 12, 2014 - 10:59am
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In how many different places does your enterprise data reside? Think about what’s stored on-premise versus in the cloud. Are you using SharePoint and other ECM systems? What about Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive? Have you lost count?

If you’re like the majority of organizations, your enterprise information is taking on a life of its own. A survey by AIIM, “Get More from On-Premise ECM,” found that 40% of enterprises say they are looking to put some of their active documents in the cloud, while leaving static documents or historical records on-premise. Plus, more than 50 % of companies already have three or more storage solutions in place.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that employee productivity is taking a hit, with users struggling to find the information they need when they need it. This is particularly true when trying to share information with customers, prospects or others outside of the company. A separate AIIM survey, “Content Collaboration and Processing in a Cloud and Mobile World,” revealed that 71% of users believe their organization has shortfalls in technical support for external collaboration.

The last thing you want is a complex, tangled web of content that frustrates users, hinders mobile access and potentially compromises security. Yet, here you are.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have one solution that enables collaboration regardless of where content is stored? One solution that provides a consistent user interface for accessing, reviewing, editing and sharing information on the go? One solution that supports your company’s security and auditing policies across numerous storage systems? Are you nodding your head yes?

To address this issue, we created our kiteworks content connectors, which allow you to accomplish exactly that and more. And today we’ve announced our new cloud connect connectors (LINK to release), enabling enterprises to access data stored in Google Drive for Work and Microsoft OneDrive for Business. We bridge the gaps between your existing content and your users – connecting and unifying data located in the cloud and on-premise.

Whether your information is stored in Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive, Windows File Shares, Documentum, OpenText or Distributed File Systems, your users gain ubiquitous mobile access, easy file sharing and secure collaboration. Learn more about how simple it is to connect your content

Tags:  Enterprise Content, UX

New Study Finds Enterprises Struggling with BYOD

August 7, 2014 - 9:26am
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CompTIA, a non-profit trade organization for the IT industry, recently released its Third Annual Trends in Enterprise Mobility study, surveying 400 business and IT executives responsible for mobility policies and processes. The study might have been expected to find widespread enthusiasm for BYOD and a nice smattering of success stories, but it didn’t. Instead it found that U.S. companies of all sizes are having difficulty managing their mobile deployments and realizing all the benefits of mobility promised by BYOD enthusiasts.

Specifically, the study found:

  • Over 70% of organizations “have made some level of investment to build out mobility” solutions.
  • 55% of organizations have implemented some form of BYOD—a figure much lower than the 95% cited in a recent study by Cisco.
  • Just 30% of companies put formal mobility policies in place.
  • Just 8% have adjusted workflow to account for mobile technology.

The top investment is mobile devices. BYOD hype notwithstanding, many companies are providing employees with smartphones and tablets, rather than counting on or requiring employees to provide their own devices.

  • Small companies are struggling to support and integrate mobile devices and mobile services.
  • Mid-sized companies are struggling to balance end user needs with those of the IT department.
  • Large companies are struggling to support and integrate a large number of devices.

What can one conclude from these findings? Here are several thoughts.

First, mobility is being added to, rather than integrated with, legacy infrastructure. Why? Integration has been difficult. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions are designed for managing, provisioning, and tracking mobile devices. They do nothing to make it easier for a mobile worker in the field to be productive, including quick, easy, and secure access to important files stored behind the corporate firewall in enterprise content management systems such as Documentum or SharePoint. Employees might be carrying multiple mobile devices, but the IT infrastructure and file access controls are still centered on the desktop. For now, enterprises are desktop-first, mobile-second.

The other conclusion follows from the finding that only 8% of organizations had adjusted their workflow to account for mobile devices—that even now, many years into the BYOD revolution and 7 years after the iPhone was introduced, business processes still assume that employees are sitting at their desks, staring into big screens and typing on full keyboards.

Until mobile services are more fully integrated into legacy systems, it is going to be difficult for companies to reshape their workflows to take advantage of mobile devices. Think about it: How can you streamline a workflow if a mobile user still has to struggle with a VPN on a smartphone to access a Web form that’s still hosted behind the firewall and designed for desktop users? Mobile workflow optimization depends on integration, and integration—for too many enterprises—has been a struggle.

However impressive the ROI and productivity gains are that enterprises have achieved with mobile technology so far, they’re only a fraction of what will be achieved once enterprises adopt a mobile-first infrastructure.

We know that employees are spending most of their online time now on smartphones and tablets. When IT services are available—with convenience and without compromise—on those same small, portable devices, the real revolution will begin.

Tags:  BYOD, Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity

What Every Marketing Leader Needs to Know About Mobile

August 5, 2014 - 2:36pm
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Mobile technology represents not only a revolution in how buyers research and purchase goods and services, but also represents a revolution in how marketing teams are able to create, and deliver, marketing messages and tools. However, for most marketing organizations the benefits of mobile as an enhancer of productivity are mostly untapped. Marketing leaders need to wake up and realize that mobile technology offers the opportunity for dramatic improvements in productivity through faster collaboration and information sharing both internally and externally. 

  • A recent survey by Polycom found that 35% of respondents find it hard to share content with others in a remote meeting, much less find a way to collaborate during it.
  • 86% of marketers lack coordination with other teams within the company and 85% lack coordination within their own team, according to a recent Marketo survey.
  • 28% of marketers believe that marketing investments should focus on collaboration tools, according to a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

So what are the four key mobile technology capabilities that every marketing leader needs to put in place for the mobile marketing magic to happen?

  1. Secure mobile collaboration tools that work across any smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop so that work can keep moving forward wherever the marketing team members find themselves.
  2. Easy, secure sharing of marketing content with internal and external parties from any device, since marketing often involves both internal team members and many outside vendors.
  3. Secure access to marketing materials from any device that allows everyone on the marketing team to stay in sync with the latest versions and keep projects moving forward inside and outside the office.
  4. Mobile protection of confidential marketing materials to ensure that the latest product release or SuperBowl video doesn't appear on YouTube prior to launch.

Just ask Chris – a marketing director at a major retailer. Last November, he turned a potential marketing disaster into a marketing victory because he had access to these mobile productivity capabilities. Just prior to launching a huge promotional campaign for Black Friday, one of the key suppliers faced serious production issues, meaning that a highly anticipated product would no longer be available to sell. Chris had to re-do the advertisements and related collateral to remove the highlighted product and substitute another – and fast!

Because Chris had the four key capabilities for mobile magic immediately available, he averted an impending disaster and turned it into a marketing success. Even though Chris was outside of the office he was alerted on his iPhone of the product delivery problems. Using kiteworks by Accellion, Chris was able to easily collaborate and share content with his internal team and the external Webmaster and designer. Updates of redesigned ads and web pages were reviewed and approved as quickly as they were produced, with edit and review cycles conducted while on-the-go. The end result was record-breaking Black Friday sales and a marketer who proved the value of having the four key critical mobile capabilities available and at hand.  

Learn more about how your marketing team can benefit from mobile file sharing and collaboration here http://www.accellion.com/kiteworks-for-marketing-teams.

Tags:  BYOD, UX

Legal Teams Working Faster and Smarter: Mobile Technology Boosts Attorney Productivity

July 31, 2014 - 10:20am
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Most legal organizations are saying "yes" to mobile as a vehicle to help legal teams work faster and smarter. Corporate Counsel’s “2013 In-house Tech Survey” revealed that 76% of firms allow legal staff to bring their own devices to work.

The survey also revealed that 60% of legal departments report that mobile devices are being used in lieu of laptops when legal professionals are traveling away from the office. Sounds like a recipe for improved productivity on the road, but Corporate Counsel’s survey went on to reveal that these devices aren’t necessarily well integrated into the corporate IT and security environment or legal workflow:

  • Most mobile users only use mobile devices for messaging or document viewing, with more sophisticated uses going untapped.
  • 23% of legal departments have no formal security policy for mobile devices.

This is a little concerning since law firms are not only missing opportunities to boost the performance of legal staff, but are also potentially jeopardizing the confidentiality of client documents. Signing off on a BYOD program can deliver huge benefits, but only if organizations have a secure mobile solution in place to allow staff to productively use their mobile devices for more than checking email.

At Accellion we designed kiteworks Team Starter to help introduce legal professionals, corporate counsel and attorneys to the productivity gains that can be achieved with mobile capabilities to:

  1. Securely create, edit, view, share and print documents right from tablets and smartphones
  2. Easily collaborate with team members, clients and partners on case information
  3. Universally access content no matter where information is stored

Being able to work securely from anywhere translates into improvements in business productivity.

Here’s an example of how:  

Anne is the in-house counsel at OpenSource Software, which makes accounting software. Tax season is approaching which typically means the biggest quarter of the year for the sales team. Tony, one of the sales managers, is just about to close a million dollar deal with a large corporation.

The problem is that the customer is asking for edits to the standard purchase agreement.  The deal is still moving forward but Anne needs to revise the purchase agreement based on input from the customer’s attorney and have all parties sign-off before the quarter closes – in 48 hours.

With kiteworks by Accellion, the deal goes from slow to “go” just in the nick of time:

  • Tony creates a shared folder on kiteworks, granting access to Anne and the customer’s attorney.
  • Anne updates the purchase agreement and uploads it to the folder.
  • The customer’s attorney is alerted that the agreement is ready for review, providing redline comments via kiteworks’ built-in PDF annotator.
  • Anne sees the edits and revises the agreement accordingly.
  • She then assigns a task to the attorney to sign the document.
  • Tony closes the million-dollar deal – with a few hours to spare.

Mobile technology yields real business results by enabling employees to keep business moving forward 24x7.  Learn more about how kiteworks Team Starter helps increase mobile productivity for legal and other teams http://www.accellion.com/kiteworks-for-your-team

Tags:  Collaboration, Legal, Mobile Productivity

Field Work is No Picnic without Mobile Technology

July 29, 2014 - 9:43am
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Today’s field operations teams face increasing pressure from customers to deliver exceptional services. And if field teams don’t deliver, customers aren't shy about finding another vendor who will. The 2013 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey found that while less than half of organizations (43%) are currently attaining as high as a 90% customer satisfaction rating, most are striving to do better. 

Many organizations are reporting that they are looking to mobile technology to help them improve field operation performance.  Over the next 12 months, more than three-quarters (77%) of field service organizations will have invested in mobile tools to support field technicians and more than 70% will have integrated new technologies into existing field service operations – showing a clear commitment to boosting those satisfaction ratings via mobile.

Here's a typical example of how mobile technology is helping improve field performance.  Paul, a field technician, has detected serious issues with equipment recently installed in the field at a power plant. He cannot begin the reinstall process without the latest version of the equipment manual. If plant operations are halted – whether due to faulty equipment or extended maintenance downtime – business performance suffers and customer satisfaction goes down.

Fortunately Paul is equipped with kiteworks by Accellion, and has real-time mobile access to the necessary data and information in the field to complete the equipment reinstallation rapidly. This means that Paul can keep equipment downtime at a minimum, and deliver superior customer service.

Secure mobile content access enables field operations staff to improve customer service, reduce unexpected downtime and boost productivity.  With kiteworks for Field Operations teams can 

  • Access the complete knowledge base, including reference materials and customer documentation, stored across all enterprise content sources.
  • Take field inspection notes via a mobile device, which in turn can be easily accessed by operations managers and other team members.
  • Collaborate on-demand with expert field office staff and external contractors to more quickly resolve on-site issues and boost overall productivity.

Learn how kiteworks Team Starter increases employee productivity, improves internal and external collaboration and boosts service efficiencies, allowing field operations staff to go well beyond meeting customer expectations.

Tags:  BYOD, Collaboration, Mobile Productivity

Cloud Storage Wars: Ready for the Next Episode?

July 23, 2014 - 9:47am
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Recently Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Box and Dropbox have all been slashing prices on cloud storage in an attempt to lure customers to their cloud platforms. In the latest round, Box is now offering unlimited (infinite) storage with its Enterprise and Business offerings, essentially driving the price/GB of storage to $0, or at least approaching $0 at infinity. Given this latest offer by Box, what will be the next move by the cloud storage giants to convince individuals and business to park information in their cloud? Additionally, given that cloud storage is essentially being offered for free, how would someone decide between storing information in Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Box or Dropbox? And why should one decide? 

The cloud storage giants are betting on individuals and organizations picking "a" cloud to store their information in, and creating stickiness for services that come with that platform, such as email, a calendar, productivity tools, and collaboration tools.  What's in it for the cloud storage giants? Everything, since as is becoming increasingly obvious once you start using a cloud service, the cloud provider knows a lot about you and this information can be used for targeted marketing.

While for individuals, choosing "a" cloud and storing all your information there, may be a reasonable objective since it can simplify life, for organizations this seems a lot less likely. Currently organizations have information strewn across any number of content silos including SharePoint, Windows File Shares, OpenText, and Documentum to name just a few. Few enterprise organizations have the stomach for embarking on finding all that information and then copying all that information into a single "chosen" cloud.

The reality is that enterprise information isn’t all stored in one place for end users or IT managers. It’s often stored in different systems, which use different access structures, making it difficult for employees to get to all of the information they need, in particular from a mobile device. At Accellion our goal is to streamline that process, providing a single point of access to all content, no matter where it is stored. This makes employees more productive, because they have one view into all content, from any device.

At Accellion we recognize and embrace the idea that enterprise information is and will continue to be stored in a number of locations both inside the firewall and outside the firewall in the cloud.  While cloud storage giants may be creating destination clouds, they really are just one more place to store information, not necessarily "the" place to store information. At Accellion we focused on providing a unified mobile interface into enterprise information, wherever it's stored. With kiteworks by Accellion employees can access this information on a mobile device, edit it, and share it securely under the watchful eye of IT, and that's a good thing.

As we wait for the next episode of cloud storage wars to unfold, at Accellion we continue to focus on maintaining our position as the leader in mobile file sharing and collaboration. Because we know it’s not where you store information, but how readily it's accessed, used and shared by your organization, each and every day, that generates business results. 

Tags:  BYOD, Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity

Accellion a Leader in Gartner’s Enterprise File Sync & Share Magic Quadrant

July 22, 2014 - 9:19am
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The enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) market is maturing, which will benefit IT leaders planning for mobile and collaboration initiatives. 

Gartner recently published the 2014 “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing” report, detailing the top 19 players in a field that has nearly 100 vendors, and Accellion is positioned as 1 of only 4 vendors in the Leader quadrant.

According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, “Accellion is a good fit for organizations prioritizing their EFSS initiatives for mobile experiences, while ensuring data protection and compliance, particularly those operating in regulated markets such financial services, healthcare, and government.”

We consider our position in the “Leader” quadrant to be confirmation of our vision to enable today’s mobile workforce to securely share and access business information wherever works takes them. We will continue to create innovative products that combine enterprise-grade security with the ease of use required by today’s employees, enabling enterprise organizations to realize productivity gains without jeopardizing information security.

I invite you to download your own copy of the report here.

Tags:  File Sharing, File Sync, Mobile Productivity

Real-Time Medical Diagnoses: Mobile Technology Improves Patient Care

July 21, 2014 - 3:39pm
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The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMA) predicts that the U.S. will face a shortage of more than 91,000 physicians by 2020.  The good news is that mobile technology is transforming the delivery of medical care, streamlining collaboration and making it easier to get a high level of patient care and expert medical diagnoses even given the projected shortage of doctors.

For example, Michael is a doctor at a clinic in rural Minnesota. Carol, a local resident, fell down a flight of stairs and is in his office with severe back pain. Concerned that she may have suffered a spinal injury, Michael wants to consult a spine specialist at a large hospital 250 miles away.

Luckily for Carol, the clinic uses kiteworks by Accellion, allowing the lab technician at the clinic to instantly upload and share Carol’s test results and back images with the specialist. On the receiving end, the specialist is notified that the files are ready to review, analyzes each and determines that Carol requires surgery. Within the span of 30 minutes, Carol has received a diagnosis from one of the leading spinal experts – located more than four hours away. Additionally, all of the data shared was compliant with HIPAA and HITECH regulations, ensuring the security of Carol’s personal health information (PHI).

Thankfully, many hospitals are well on their way to leveraging the power that mobile devices have on improving medical staff’s productivity. The third annual HIMSS Analytics Mobile Survey results revealed that:

  • Nearly all of the survey respondents supply mobile technology to clinicians, most often laptops (87%), workstations on wheels (81%) and smartphones (69%).
  • 69% of physicians use mobile technology to view patient data, such as a lab result or digital image.
  • 64% used mobile technology to look up non-PHI health information, such as clinical guidelines.

This is all great news, but there is definitely room for expanded mobile use, as the survey went on to show that:

  • A mere 21% use mobile technology to analyze patient data.
  • Only 36% use it to collect data at the bedside.
  • Clinicians are most likely to access key clinical systems via a mobile device through the Internet using VPN.

For most medical teams, the mobile devices are in place, as are the recommended security measures. The HIMSS survey revealed that 94% of respondents have implemented password protection (94%) for mobile devices; 71% use encryption and 69% have remote wipe capabilities.

Now, it’s time to take patient care, physician collaboration and mobile productivity to the next level by enabling medical teams to connect in real-time with staff in other locations; record notes on any type of device; and access and analyze patient health information for faster diagnoses. Imagine the possibilities. We invite you to learn more about how kiteworks Team Starter is leading the way for medical teams to deliver improved patient care through the use of mobile file sharing and collaboration http://www.accellion.com/kiteworks-for-medical-teams

Tags:  Collaboration, Healthcare, Mobile Productivity

The Power Lunch: Mobile Technology Boosts Sales Performance

July 16, 2014 - 4:17pm
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Spending time with customers is one of the key attributes of high performing sales teams and a mobilized salesforce is able to take the power lunch to a whole new level. Equipped with mobile technology today's sales teams take on super powers, transforming every lunch to a sales opportunity.

Consider this fairly typical situation: In one hour, sales account manager Amy will be meeting customer John for lunch. The goal of the lunch meeting is to not only allow Amy and John to bond over seared sea scallops with pesto aioli, but also provide Amy the opportunity to share information on the soon-to-be released new product and get John signed up as an early adopter.  However, Amy is en route to lunch and gets an update that the engineering team has made recent tweaks to the product, which have not yet made it into Amy's product demo or slide deck. Amy needs help to get the most up-to-date information onto her iPad to share with John over lunch.  

Not to worry. Amy and Mona, the product marketing manager, use kiteworks Team Starter so they can share content in real-time on any device  – regardless of where each are located – even if the content is a little hush hush. Mona uploads the new slides, and when Amy fires up her iPad to show off the new product details to John, in between the arugula salad and the sea scallops, the new up-to-date information is available, and by coffee John and Amy are discussing pricing.  Lunch is a success and by the end of the week, John has the new product installed and under evaluation.   

Real-time mobile collaboration and content access when and where you need it are just some of the benefits that kiteworks delivers. Whether you’re a start-up organization with a handful of employees or an established market leader with a global sales force, kiteworks makes it easy for teams to work together, giving sales teams what they need to impress prospects and customers at every step of the sales cycle and boost sales performance.   

Learn more on how kiteworks Team Starter helps sales team close deals faster by visiting our team pages  http://www.accellion.com/kiteworks-for-sales-teams or contact us to discuss over lunch.

Bon Appetit!

Tags:  Collaboration, Mobile Productivity

Work - It's What's for Breakfast in the Mobile World

July 14, 2014 - 11:05am
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How many of us now check email at breakfast or after dinner or while waiting for our lunch sandwich to arrive?  Don't worry it's normal in fact it's becoming the new norm. The adoption of mobile devices in the workplace is transforming the way people work as they become untethered from offices and regular work schedules.  

The development of the new mobile workforce is as much a social transformation as a technology transformation. Employees are adopting new work patterns as they experiment with how mobile devices can make them more productive, more efficient and better at their jobs.

At Accellion we've been working on ways to help organizations get mobile teams up and running and collaborating faster, providing ways for people to securely connect and share content with internal and external teams and get business done.

What we came up with was kiteworks Team Starter. Pre-configured for quick deployment, it gets mobile teams up and running fast for secure mobile collaboration and file sharing across organizational boundaries, and delivers immediate increases in team productivity, whether it’s a sales, marketing or legal team within a larger organization.

With kiteworks Team Starter, team leaders, department heads or managers can have their team moving business forward with secure mobile file sharing, collaboration and editing in just minutes. It was designed with a mobile-first perspective, so that the user experience is seamless across all devices, from smartphone to tablet to laptop to desktop. It includes innovative, industry-first features such as the kiteworks Move Tray, which streamlines the way people share files via mobile devices, as well as an Activity Stream that lets users see at-a-glance which files have been shared, edited or downloaded.

In addition to the content capabilities, the kiteworks Team Starter solution provides a simple administrative dashboard that lets team leaders add users as needed. Team Starter comes pre-configured with Accellion’s enterprise-grade security controls, so that data remains secure and private and IT is happy.

So what are you waiting for? Check out kiteworks Team Starter, and get your team up and collaborating before breakfast today!

Tags:  Mobile Productivity

When Intranets and SharePoint Aren’t Mobile-Ready, Users Fall Back on Email

July 9, 2014 - 1:04pm
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Enterprises have invested heavily in SharePoint and intranets, but in too many organizations these services are not ready to support mobile users. As a result, mobile workers are falling back on email for sharing and transferring files.

That’s one of the revelations found in a recent survey of U.S. workers by theCOMMSapp, a New York-based technology company. The survey found that SharePoint and intranets remain inaccessible to many mobile workers:

“82% of those with corporate Intranets said they either have never tried to access this channel via their mobile device or have a difficult time doing so. Similarly, with regard to social collaboration networks, 78% of those who have such networks have either never tried to access them or have a difficult time doing so via the mobile device.”

The same survey found that 96% of employees had mobile devices, 58% had purchased mobile devices themselves, and of those, 66% used them for work. Across industries, workers are increasingly mobile: only about half still spend 75% or more of their time at their desks.

If these mobile workers are not connecting to intranets or social collaboration networks for data, how are they getting the files and other information they need for their everyday work? Mostly through email. The survey found that employees prefer email as a way of learning company news, but employees are receiving so much email, important messages are being overlooked.

Overlooking a message with important files is just one of the risks of relying on email. Relying on email for file-sharing poses other risks, as well, including security risks. Email undermines the access controls configured in SharePoint and other ECMs to limit access to data to authorized users. And accidents happen: employees sometimes accidentally forward emails with confidential data to unauthorized users. IT administrators and compliance officers often have difficulty tracking the distribution of files through email, especially when users working remotely use personal email accounts such as Gmail.

Email is likely to remain an important communication channel for businesses—and that’s fine. But enterprises need to extend their intranets, SharePoint, and other Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems to be more readily available to their increasingly mobile workforce, while at the same time improving the efficiency and security of file sharing and collaboration with external users.

At Accellion we're helping enterprise organizations extend their investments in SharePoint, intranets and other ECM systems to embrace mobile users.  Our mobile file sharing solution, called kiteworks, enables mobile workers to securely access and share files directly from SharePoint and other ECMs on their preferred mobile device. Think of it as a universal secure connection to enterprise content, from any mobile device.  

So if you want to avoid having users reverting back to email for sharing files, there is an easy way to extend SharePoint and intranets to your mobile users - and it's called kiteworks.  

Tags:  BYOD, Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity

When Intranets and SharePoint Aren’t Mobile-Ready, Users Fall Back on Email

July 9, 2014 - 11:00am
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Enterprises have invested heavily in SharePoint and intranets, but in too many organizations these services are not ready to support mobile users. As a result, mobile workers are falling back on email for sharing and transferring files.

That’s one of the revelations found in a recent survey of U.S. workers by theCOMMSapp, a New York-based technology company. The survey found that SharePoint and intranets remain inaccessible to many mobile workers:

“82% of those with corporate Intranets said they either have never tried to access this channel via their mobile device or have a difficult time doing so. Similarly, with regard to social collaboration networks, 78% of those who have such networks have either never tried to access them or have a difficult time doing so via the mobile device.”

The same survey found that 96% of employees had mobile devices, 58% had purchased mobile devices themselves, and of those, 66% used them for work. Across industries, workers are increasingly mobile: only about half still spend 75% or more of their time at their desks.

If these mobile workers are not connecting to intranets or social collaboration networks for data, how are they getting the files and other information they need for their everyday work? Mostly through email. The survey found that employees prefer email as a way of learning company news, but employees are receiving so much email, important messages are being overlooked.

Overlooking a message with important files is just one of the risks of relying on email. Relying on email for file-sharing poses other risks, as well, including security risks. Email undermines the access controls configured in SharePoint and other ECMs to limit access to data to authorized users. And accidents happen: employees sometimes accidentally forward emails with confidential data to unauthorized users. IT administrators and compliance officers often have difficulty tracking the distribution of files through email, especially when users working remotely use personal email accounts such as Gmail.

Email is likely to remain an important communication channel for businesses—and that’s fine. But enterprises need to extend their intranets, SharePoint, and other Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems to be more readily available to their increasingly mobile workforce, while at the same time improving the efficiency and security of file sharing and collaboration with external users.

At Accellion we're helping enterprise organizations extend their investments in SharePoint, intranets and other ECM systems to embrace mobile users.  Our mobile file sharing solution, called kiteworks, enables mobile workers to securely access and share files directly from SharePoint and other ECMs on their preferred mobile device. Think of it as a universal secure connection to enterprise content, from any mobile device.  

So if you want to avoid having users reverting back to email for sharing files, there is an easy way to extend SharePoint and intranets to your mobile users - and it's called kiteworks.  

Tags:  BYOD, Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity

Survey Finds BYOD Devices Cluttered with Mobile Apps

July 3, 2014 - 9:32am
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How many mobile apps are installed on BYOD devices? The answer varies from employee to employee, but broadly speaking, the answer seems to be, “lots.”

IBM company Fiberlink recently surveyed mobile workers and tallied the mobiles apps installed on their devices. As reported on Dark Reading, the survey found:

  • 17% of employees have 9 or fewer apps on their devices
  • 18% have between 10 and 24 apps
  • 35% have between 25 and 49 apps
  • 25% have between 50 and 99 apps
  • 5% have 100 or more apps

Most mobile phones and tablets come with about 10 apps by default. These include an email app, a maps app, and a calendar app. Many enterprises provide their employees with additional apps, such as apps for special business functions and services, like a CRM app. Other enterprise apps might address IT security, such an app for VPN. Of apps provisioned by enterprises, 38% have been customized in-house by IT, and the rest are publically available apps that IT departments have tested and endorsed.

It’s safe to assume that those 30% of employees carrying 50 or more apps on their devices have some, if not dozens, of consumer apps that were not tested and provisioned by the IT department. These apps might include public-cloud file sharing services like Dropbox that operate outside the control of the IT department. The apps might also include games and social media apps that most likely were purchased impulsively and not evaluated for safety or stability.

These untested, unsanctioned apps pose potentially serious risks to the enterprise. Some apps may be infected with malware, which grew 167% last year. Others might be used in intentionally or accidentally to share confidential data with unauthorized users.

What’s the lesson here for enterprise IT departments and security teams?

Enterprises should adopt security models that assume that employees will install multiple unknown and untested apps on their devices. To protect business data, on-device BYOD solutions should include secure containers for data and apps, so that business data is always shielded from potential malware threats and unauthorized access. Enterprises should be able to remotely wipe the apps and data in a secure container, should a device be lost or stolen, or if an employee leaves the company.

In addition, enterprises should ensure that mobile workers can perform all their work-related tasks with apps that have been officially provisioned by the enterprise. These tasks include file sharing, ad hoc communications such as messaging, and other everyday forms of collaboration. Employees might be tempted to rely on consumer apps for these services, but consumer apps cannot be trusted to keep business data safe. By creating a “white list” app store of tested and trusted apps, enterprises can reduce the chances of employees turning to risky apps for everyday work.

By assuming that BYOD devices will mix business with pleasure, enterprise IT organizations can design and deploy mobile solutions that keep business data safe, no matter how many apps—or dozens of apps—employees have installed.

Tags:  BYOD, Consumer Products, Data Security and Compliance

Managing Exponential Data Growth with Mobile Technology

July 2, 2014 - 4:27pm
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Electronic data is growing at a furious rate and has quickly become unmanageable for many. Unfortunately, the data isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The 2014 IDG Enterprise Big Data study found that the amount of data being managed per organization will increase by an average of 76% in the coming 12 to 18 months from 164.2TB to 289TB. The top sources contributing to this growth are emails, customer databases, and Word documents.

Not only is the sheer volume of data a challenge to manage, but also the reality that there’s too much data in too many places, making it at times impossible for employees to find the information they need. It’s this wild goose chase across scattered and cluttered data stores that can have serious business repercussions.

AVL, a developer of powertrain systems for the automotive industry, was experiencing all of the above. Not only was the company’s total stored data doubling every two to three years, but where the data was stored was multiplying in tandem, with AVL’s global development teams using multiple storage and content management systems. Not only did AVL’s 6,650 internal users need a more efficient way to get their hands on critical product information, but they also needed a secure and quick manner to share simulation videos, software updates, and time-sensitive documentation with 3,000 external collaborators and 5,000 clients.

How did they do it? With Accellion’s secure mobile content containerization, employees began rapidly using the mobile app to collaborate with internal and external partners, improving their productivity with the ability to work, wherever. Only a few weeks after AVL rolled out Accellion to all its employees, it had become integral to their daily mobile activities. The company also integrated Accellion with all of its existing Microsoft solutions including SharePoint and Outlook, so that there was no direct impact to its employees established workflows. 

Click here to read AVL’s full story, and learn more about how they've jump started mobile collaboration across their entire workforce.

Tags:  Collaboration, Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity

Accenture Study Finds Enterprises Struggling to Meet Their Goals with Mobile Computing

June 26, 2014 - 12:54pm
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A new Accenture study of 1,500 IT leaders finds enterprises are committed to mobile strategies, but less than half have achieved break-even ROI and many are struggling to achieve their mobile-computing goals.

According to the study, enterprises recognize the strategic importance of mobile computing, even when compared to other major IT initiatives such as Big Data and cloud computing:

  • 77% of respondents consider mobility to be one of their top five priorities for the coming year
  • 43% of respondents consider mobility to be one of their top two priorities for the coming year

But despite valuing mobile computing and investing heavily in new mobile technologies, most enterprises are struggling to achieve their mobile-computing goals. Accenture reports:

‘Most companies have not made substantial progress toward the mobility priorities that are important to their business—on average only slightly more than four in 10 companies have made at least good progress across these priorities. Looking more closely at our results, we found no more than 18 percent of respondents that described their progress as extensive on any one priority. Consistent with this is the fact that less than half of respondents (46 percent) described their overall adoption and deployment of mobile technologies as effective.’

Enterprises are setting bold goals for mobile computing and failing to meet them. Why?

Some of the problems are management-related, such not assigning ownership of new mobile projects to specific project teams and not establishing criteria for evaluating mobile initiatives. About two-thirds of companies had trouble rolling out new mobile technology, while many had difficulty developing and deploying new mobile apps that met employees’ expectations. Enterprises also had difficulty integrating new mobile technologies with existing workflows and infrastructure.

But the picture is not entirely gloomy:  Some companies are finding success with their mobile initiatives. Companies that are successful with their mobile strategies tend to be financially successful companies, though not necessarily big companies. Success can be found in any market and in companies of any size.

Enterprises that succeed with mobile strategies tend to do the following:

  • Take an “ambitious, strategic, and cross-company approach” to mobility.
  • Involve senior management in mobility initiatives.
  • Apply superior methodologies for developing and deploying mobile apps.

Compared to other enterprises, mobility leaders tend to:

  • Consider the full range of digital technologies available.
  • Look for ways to apply those technologies to create entirely new digital businesses rather than enhancements to existing businesses.
  • Have formal, company-wide strategies, rather than piecemeal strategies for individual business units or functions.
  • Focus on creating an enterprise app store which can be easily accessed and employ robust methodologies for developing, testing, distributing, and updating apps.

Clearly, it’s important for companies to focus wholeheartedly on mobile, rather than bolting it onto existing strategies and solutions. For more thoughts on supporting mobile users across the enterprise, see our earlier blog post on designing solutions for end users’ “mobile moments.”

Tags:  BYOD, Mobile Productivity

The Snowden Effect: Why International Companies Are Wary of U.S. Public Clouds

June 20, 2014 - 9:17am
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Following a steady drumbeat of news stories about the NSA’s widespread surveillance of consumers, companies, and even foreign heads of state, companies based outside the U.S. are increasingly wary of trusting their data to cloud services managed by U.S. firms.

A story in IT World reports that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the agency’s data collection activities has “prompted a slew of requests from European customers to have data cordoned off from U.S. infrastructure.” German companies are leading the movement, with Swiss companies close behind.

Germany has a strong tradition of protecting the privacy of its citizens: the German federal state of Hesse passed the first data privacy law of the computer age back in 1971. Not surprisingly, then, Germans have been rattled by disclosures that the NSA routinely sweeps up email data from U.S. public-cloud vendors and has tapped the cell phone of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

To preserve the privacy of their data, German, Swiss, and other European companies are now asking that their service providers “cordon off” their data from US infrastructure. Some companies are trying to avoid infrastructure based in Canada, the U.K., and other nations known to have cooperated closely with the U.S. on its intelligence-gathering.

It’s difficult, however, for public-cloud service providers, especially those based in the U.S., to avoid infrastructure in U.S. territories. John Dickson, a principal with The Denim Group, told IT World: “That kind of thing is an anathema to the cloud.” He points out that hosting firms need to maintain centralized control of their assets and customers’ data. For U.S. firms, that centralized control will almost certainly involve U.S. infrastructure.

To provide E.U.-based alternatives to U.S. public-cloud vendors, companies based in the E.U. are launching new cloud services. New start-ups specializing in local cloud services may appear as well.

Of course, international companies have another option for protecting the privacy of their data: avoid public clouds altogether. By running services on their own private clouds, they can minimize the risk of intelligence agencies sweeping up data in violation of local privacy laws, and they can know for certain exactly where their data is residing, and how has control over it.

Learn more about Accellion’s private cloud file sharing solutions here.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Private Cloud File Sharing

New Study Highlights the Risks of Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC)

June 18, 2014 - 1:05pm
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A new study by the Ponemon Institute, The Insider Threat of Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC), analyzes the risks of enterprise employees using cloud services without the permission or oversight of the IT department—a practice that the study’s author calls “Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC).”

The study findings highlight the risks of insiders’ accidentally or intentionally disclosing confidential data through unmonitored public clouds. Here are just some of the findings, which are based on responses from 400 IT and/or security practitioners:

  • 62 percent of respondents reported they knew of employees using their own private accounts for public-cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote in the workplace yet only 26 percent of respondents said this practice was permitted.
  • 55 percent of respondents say the risks posed by BYOC are increasing, and that BYOC affects data security risks overall. What are these risks? According to the study, they include “the loss or theft of intellectual property, compliance violations and regulatory actions and loss of control over end user actions”
  • 85 percent of respondents say BYOC makes it harder to manage access governance and privileged access to sensitive and confidential data

The scariest finding is probably this one: “Most respondents say they are not confident or have no confidence that they could stop or prevent data loss in the BYOC environment. The primary reason could be attributed to the lack of BYOC security measures and difficulty in addressing the insider threat to data in the cloud.”

Since most enterprises do not officially support BYOC and since most IT workers recognize that BYOC is risky, why is BYOC allowed to be so prevalent?

According to the survey, employees using BYOC services are more productive. This makes sense, as popular services like Dropbox, Evernote and other file sharing services do address the productivity needs of today’s mobile-first workforce. However, they do so in a risky, unmonitored, and decentralized way that leaves IT and security teams on the sidelines.

To benefit from the productivity of a BYOC-style workforce without incurring the risks of unmonitored cloud usage, enterprise IT teams should step forward and offer their own solutions for file sync and sharing, group editing, and other common collaboration tasks. By offering a secure alternative to BYOC, enterprises can keep data safe while offering employees solutions for increasing productivity.

Tags:  Consumer Products, Data Security and Compliance, Private Cloud File Sharing

Consumer Solutions are Revolutionizing Enterprise Computing

June 12, 2014 - 10:32am
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Are consumer solutions revolutionizing the way that enterprise software is created? Quentin Hardy of The New York Times says yes, and points to the increasingly short time period between product updates on newer solutions like Workday, as compared to product updates from traditional enterprise vendors like Oracle that can take years to be released. Today’s fast updates allow software vendors to pivot quickly with market trends, and quickly integrate features that customers are requesting.

I agree with Hardy; consumer solutions are dramatically affecting the way enterprise software solutions are created and where I’m seeing this influence the most is in the user experience and design of enterprise solutions. Professionals use consumer apps in their personal life, and they are demanding the same ease-of-use and intuitive designs be implemented for their enterprise apps and solutions.

In today’s mobile world, we need tools that are designed mobile-first, so that users have one simple interface to learn, whether they’re accessing the solution on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. However, some companies are moving towards this too slowly for users, and thus their enterprise software deployments are getting left by the wayside, by employees that find it too cumbersome or complicated.

My opinion is that many companies just aren’t willing to invest the time to re-create their solutions for the mobile world we now find ourselves living in. To create a beautiful, simple mobile-first experience takes much more than just bolting a PC-based solution and workflow onto a mobile device. The two form factors are fundamentally different from a user experience perspective.  Not only do they not operate the same way, there are also inherent differences in how someone performs various functions on a PC versus a mobile device. Just as an example, you have no overlapping windows on a tablet or a smart phone and you don’t have a mouse.  Creating a software solution for the desktop/laptop first, and then scaling it down for mobile devices is just not the right approach.

At Accellion we approached designing for our latest solution, kiteworks, from a tablet-first perspective. Why a tablet?  We believe it is the optimum form factor for employees in today’s mobile era and it is also a more restrictive platform.  Once we’d created a beautiful experience for the tablet form factor, we scaled the functionality down for smartphones and up for desktop/laptops. We now have the same user-experience across all devices, which greatly simplifies the learning curve for users, and ensures that employees can access information or content in the same manner, no matter what device they have close to hand.

I believe that enterprise software vendors need to take a page from consumer solutions, and create solutions that are easy-to-use, and fun to use. The easiest way to get started down this path is to design your solution for mobile first, and then expand the same interface onto other platforms - companies that don’t will be left behind by their customers.

Tags:  Consumer Products, UX

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