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More Evidence that Enterprises Prefer Private Cloud File Sharing

April 17, 2014 - 12:16pm
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Recent security questions that have been raised around Box and Dropbox’s ‘enterprise’ or ‘business’ solutions have made many organizations stop and question how exactly they’re sharing their sensitive data. 

The result of that questioning? Enterprises strongly prefer on-premise private cloud file sharing, due to the enhanced data security it offers. We wrote recently about research from the Enterprise Strategy Group on this topic, and now a new study by Research Now, corroborates those findings. According to the Research Now survey:

  • 63% of enterprises prefer private cloud file sharing and sync solutions over public-cloud offerings such as Dropbox.
  • 55% of enterprises with 30,000 or more employees have banned public cloud file sharing solutions to prevent data leaks.
  • 31% of enterprises have experienced at least one data leak in 2013 from employees sharing files through often unsanctioned file share and sync services.

Even if enterprises use public cloud solutions to solve other business challenges, they are moving quickly to adopt private cloud file sharing solutions:

  • 45% of organizations are considering private cloud file sharing and sync solutions.
  • 25% of organizations have already implemented private cloud file sharing and sync solutions.

Research Now’s study agrees with the concerns we’re hearing from our customers. IT organizations recognize the data security threat posed by public cloud file sharing services like Dropbox. Consumer-grade public cloud services enable employees to upload content without any IT oversight and share that content indiscriminately, which means confidential files can easily end up in the hands of unauthorized users.

When IBM ran a data security audit a few years ago, it found that confidential files like project plans had been shared too broadly through tools like Dropbox and Evernote. IBM then banned both of these solutions from their network.

These studies shows that other organizations are following IBM’s example. They are banning risky public cloud services like Dropbox, and investing in carefully planned private cloud file sharing services that meet the content access and collaboration needs of today’s mobile workforce, so employees can work securely, wherever.

Tags:  Enterprise Content, Mobile Productivity, Private Cloud File Sharing

What’s Your Mobile Security Grade?

April 16, 2014 - 3:16pm
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Be honest. How would you rate your mobile security: poor, adequate or excellent? If you answered “excellent” then consider yourself among the elite. Only five percent of organizations we surveyed (in conjunction with ISMG) rated their security policies as such, compared to 75 percent who believe their processes are either “poor,” or “need improvement.”

That means, that for the majority of organizations, there’s tremendous progress yet to be made.  Mobile malware is proving to be relentless, growing at a startling rate of 614 percent from 2012 to 2013. Add to that the fact that more than half of mobile devices (53 percent) are now storing confidential business data and it’s easy to understand why you should do everything within your power to prevent a mobile breach.

To that end, we’ve outlined 14 steps to help you better secure your mobile workforce. You likely already have some pieces in place, but it’s the gaps that can leave your company and your users vulnerable. In order to breach-proof devices under your management, a comprehensive security solution is required – one that offers seamless productivity and access for end users, but also 24x7 administrative controls and monitoring.

For example, a best practice is to create a “walled garden” for business data, storing information in a secure container separate from consumer apps and personal documents. This makes it easy for IT to monitor enterprise information while respecting the privacy rights of employees using their own devices for work. 

Another is remote wiping, which gives administrators the ability to delete business data and apps on a mobile device that’s lost, stolen or in the possession of someone who has left the organization. For example, if Joe Smith has left the company, an IT administrator should be able to delete his files on all the mobile devices currently storing them, including mobile devices belonging to his co-workers as well as devices not configured with Mobile Device Management (MDM) software.

That’s just a few of the 14 steps the companies should review and implement to truly secure their business content on mobile devices. To dive into the complete list and find out how your organization stacks up, download our new whitepaper on “Mobile Data Security: 14 Steps to Securing Your Mobile Workforce” now.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Mobile Productivity

Secure Dropbox Alternative – Private Cloud File Sharing

April 11, 2014 - 3:50pm
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Dropbox threw its hat into the enterprise ring this week when it exited beta, and made its Business solution available to workplaces worldwide. However, despite its claims that the solution is now ready for enterprise use, there are still plenty of red flags being raised about their security protocols and functionality, not least being their public cloud architecture.

The ongoing saga of the NSA data collection, started by Edward Snowden’s revelations, clearly illuminates that any data stored by a public cloud service is potentially subject to snooping by government agencies. In addition, public cloud file sharing services also expose customers to these additional data security risks:

Loss of control over data

Public cloud file sharing services, such as Dropbox, typically co-mingle data from different customers.  While this provides Dropbox with storage economies it reduces the control a customer has on where their data is stored and who has access to that information.  Additionally, public cloud providers own the encryption keys to the data housed on their servers, rather than the customer, further increasing the risk of data exposure.  For most enterprise organizations these risks are too great and lead corporations and government agencies to select private cloud file sharing for the additional data protection.

Security outages

Security glitches have the potential to expose confidential data to hackers and other unauthorized users. When a security glitch at Dropbox removed password protection from all user accounts, tens of thousands of files were accessed. Dropbox customers have no idea how many of those files were compromised.  Just this January, hackers claimed responsibility for shutting Dropbox’s service down for a few hours.

Compliance violations

Users sharing confidential data, such as financial records, outside the approved and monitored processes defined by the IT department, put the enterprise out of compliance with regulations such as SOX. And users at healthcare organizations can violate HIPAA by improperly sharing patient health information. Because Dropbox does not integrate with most DLP solutions, it limits the ability of enterprises to monitor the content of individual files, which can cause them to be non-compliant.

For most enterprises these risks are too great, and lead many to consider a private cloud file sharing solution. With private cloud file sharing, enterprises retain control and ownership of their data and the encryption keys to access that data. This means that the enterprise organization is in control of who can access that data including any government agency that requests information or metadata. 

Dropbox’s public cloud architecture is a large obstacle to winning enterprise deployments.   In the meantime Accellion continues to win enterprise business with its private cloud file sharing solution – check out the corporations and government agencies that use Accellion here>>

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Private Cloud File Sharing

Getting to Yes Faster – The Mobile Sales Team

April 10, 2014 - 12:16pm
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Accelerating sales cycles, and getting to “yes” faster, is the goal of all organizations and recent survey results indicate that mobilizing the sales team can deliver significant productivity improvements. According to a recent study by Constellation Research, mobilizing a sales team:

  • Reduces sales cycles by 9.5%
  • Increases deal sizes by 1.8%
  • Increases up-sell rates by 8.2% and up-sell revenue by 8.8%
  • Increases cross-sell rates by 16.9% and cross-sell revenue by 13.3%

These positive results were echoed in a survey by the Sales Management Association, which found that:

  • 23% more firms meet team quotas when employing a sales mobility strategy
  • 70% of sales organizations using tablets have already realized positive ROI

So how does mobilizing a workforce contribute to these productivity improvements? Let’s review some of the inefficiencies inherent in sales efforts.

Complex sales involve many individuals, usually from many departments and in different geographic locations. To exchange information, sales managers often rely on email to communicate. When proposals, technical specifications, legal contracts, and other critical sales documents travel back and forth through email, delays naturally occur, in part because people check their email on different schedules, and accessing and collaborating on documents often requires tools only provided on laptops and desktops.

So how is the sales process streamlined by a mobile workforce and sales team? Let’s take a look at the mobile-enabled sales process. Sales people require a smartphone or tablet, obviously, but what else? They’ll need a secure solution to share and access critical content, like kiteworks by Accellion, and a mobile device management solution to authenticate the user, like Good Technology, and e-signing technology to digitally finalize contracts, such as DocuSign.

Here is how the workflow of a mobile salesperson would play out with these mobile solutions:

John (Sales Manager) is trying to close a deal in the last week of the quarter.

  • John receives an email on the Good for Enterprise email client from Steve (Legal counsel from prospect’s legal team) requesting changes to the Purchase Agreement.
  • John opens the document in kiteworks, creates a folder, adds the document and shares it with Steve.
  • Steve opens the document in kiteworks and annotates his changes using integrated PDF annotator.
  • John receives a notification in his Activity Stream and works with his Legal team to make the necessary changes.
  • He then, shares the updated document via kiteworks and assigns a task to Steve to sign the document.
  • Steve opens the document in Good enabled DocuSign app, signs the contract and marks his task as completed.
  • John closes the deal in record time!

The evidence is clear. If your organization wants to increase its sales results and operational efficiency, a secure mobile file sharing solution, integrated with MDM capabilities and e-signing, is a smart investment.

Tags:  Collaboration, File Sharing, Mobile Productivity

Law Firms Weighed Down by Exponential Data Growth

April 9, 2014 - 10:19am
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IDC estimates that there will be 40 Zettabytes of data on the planet by 2020. That translates to approximately 5,247 GB of data for every person on earth, including you. Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that the analyst firm in turn predicts that enterprise data stores will grow an average of 60 percent annually. How can IT keep up, to ensure all data is shared and stored securely?

Because of this growth, many organizations are essentially drowning in information – with more data to manage than they are capable of handling. Law firms in particular are notorious for having large amounts of information that they need to share, edit and collaborate on with both internal and external parties.

Husch Blackwell LLP, a full-service litigation and business law firm, had this exact problem, and was struggling to manage the sharing of large volumes of documentation for current client cases, which was putting significant stress on the firm’s email system. This was hindering communications and driving employees to offload file sharing to archaic methods, such as thumb drives and CDs. While these methods got the job done, they created additional costs, were inefficient, and created serious security concerns.

Learn how Husch Blackwell freed employees from the burden of sharing large amounts of data, by implementing a private cloud file sharing solution, enabling users to securely access and share client casework. 

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Enterprise Content, Private Cloud File Sharing

Public Cloud Data Handoff – Know the Security Risks

April 8, 2014 - 9:34am
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I call it the “public cloud handoff.” You select a public cloud service provider to support a piece of your business and then hand over responsibility for your critical business information, putting the onus on the vendor to care for your enterprise data as if it were their own. However, operating with an “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy can cause serious risk to your data security.     

It’s important to realize that when it comes to the public cloud, what you don’t know can hurt you. There are certain risks associated with public cloud services and being aware of these not only makes you a more educated user, but also enables you to advocate for the security features that your business requires.

Roger Grimes with InfoWorld recently provided a top five list of cloud risks that is a must-read for organizations that are using and/or considering a public cloud service.  Here’s a snapshot of his list of cloud security issues that businesses everywhere need to know about:  

1)     Shared access: The public cloud approach of sharing computing resources (storage, CPU, memory, etc.) with other customers creates potential vulnerabilities, including your data being leaked to other users or a hacker being able to exploit customer data.  

2)     Virtual exploits: Find out what virtualization products and management tools your services provider is using to prevent server hosts and guests from being compromised.

3)     Authentication, authorization and access control: Ask the vendor if authentication processes are shared among accounts, how data is encrypted, who holds the encryption keys, where data is stored, and how many accounts can access their systems.

4)     Availability: In order to protect against lackluster fault tolerance and availability, Grimes recommends backing up your data that is being stored in the cloud.

5)     Ownership:  This is an important point that we’ve stressed in past posts (“Who Controls the Keys to Your Data Kingdom?”):  when you share your data with a public cloud provider, you end up sharing ownership – and in some cases, turning over ownership to the provider.

These public cloud security risks are the reason most enterprises are staying away from using a public cloud provider to store and share their sensitive business information. Learn more about Accellion’s private cloud file sharing solutions that provide robust data security features here.

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

Telemedicine, mHealth – Real Life Stories to Warm Your Heart

April 3, 2014 - 11:02am
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Every now and then something crosses your desk that makes you stop for a timeout.  As someone who has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, it’s safe to say that I love technology. However the stories that were shared with me today from our customer Seattle Children’s Hospital on their use of Accellion secure mobile file sharing are truly inspiring. Enabling the delivery of critical medical treatment to babies – this is technology delivering true value.

Read Seattle Children’s Hospital use cases here and here.

The Seattle Children’s Hospital is on the front-line of research and technology, with healthcare providers working day and night to give children the absolute best life they can. From innovative cancer treatments to telemedicine referrals to rural communities, Seattle Children’s Hospital is taking technological advances and turning them into ways to better treat and cure their patients.

Inspiring stories like these remind me that what I love most about technology is how it touches and improves our lives. We are honored to work with Seattle Children’s Hospital in helping them deliver critical healthcare. Thank you to all the staff and to Wes Wright, CIO, for all that you do. 

Tags:  Healthcare, Mobile Productivity

Cloud Sprawl: Operational and Security Risks of Public Cloud Subscriptions

April 2, 2014 - 1:59pm
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A new study by Avanade, an Accenture and Microsoft joint IT consultancy firm, found that 61 percent of companies worldwide believe cloud sprawl is causing inefficiencies in their business.

What is cloud sprawl? It’s the unmanaged adoption of cloud services by employees. When each user is free to pick which cloud services he or she will use for conducting business and managing data, the result can be an unmanageable, and inherently unsecure, proliferation of sharing and collaboration services.

The typical knowledge worker is now carrying three mobile devices and wants to sync files daily across all those devices. Using a cloud service to automatically share information between each device is an obvious approach to ensuring that mobile workers always have the files they need. Many public-cloud file sharing services are free; employees can sign up for them without any IT approval, assistance or even knowledge. However employees who are not directly involved in IT security and regulatory compliance are typically unaware of the risks these services pose for the organization’s data.

But the risks are real. IT cannot manage, monitor, and secure an ever-changing mix of public cloud file sharing and collaboration services. For example, how can a public company in the U.S. comply with Sarbanes-Oxley (which requires that all financially material data be controlled and tracked) when files are being shared with internal and external users on any number of public-cloud file sharing services? How, in such an environment, could IT managers or compliance officers vouch for the location of all copies of a spreadsheet with sales projections?  How can an organization demonstrate compliance with HIPAA if it is not in control of information sharing and does not have visibility into who has shared what, with whom.

Cloud sprawl leaves IT and compliance departments blind, making organizations vulnerable to data disclosures, security attacks, and regulatory penalties.

Not sure if your organization is experiencing cloud sprawl?  Here are three red flags that indicate you may have a cloud sprawl issue:

  • My organization does not have an approved solution for file sharing by employees
  • My organization does not have a policy on use of Dropbox, iCLoud, Google Drive
  • My employees are free to use any public cloud file sharing solution they want

To ensure data governance and security, IT departments need to control how files are shared and accessed.  Standardizing on an approved cloud file sharing solution not only increases data security but also increases operational efficiency, as employees don’t need to learn multiple apps or solutions to access and share information.  In parallel with offering an approved solution, many IT departments reduce or eliminate cloud sprawl by blocking the ports used by well-known public-cloud services so that employees cannot use these services.

A final thought to leave you with - the easiest way to control cloud sprawl is to get your own private cloud.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Private Cloud File Sharing

We are the 99%: Overwhelming Interest in Private Cloud File Sharing

March 28, 2014 - 9:46am
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Despite claims by public cloud file sharing solutions that everyone wants to migrate to public cloud storage, new research by the Enterprise Strategy Group shows organizations are overwhelmingly interested in on-premise private cloud file sharing and hybrid cloud file sharing solutions.

ESG conducted an in-depth survey of small businesses and medium and large enterprises to understand their usage of online file sharing and collaboration (OFS) solutions for sharing and managing business data.

ESG found that currently 84% of organizations know that end users utilize public cloud deployments for OFS due to their ease of use, including Dropbox, Box and others. However, when ESG asked organizations if they would be interested in an on-premise or hybrid cloud OFS deployment, only 1% were not interested.  Of the remaining 99%, a stunning 69% answered that they would be “extremely interested.” Another 28% responded that they were somewhat interested, and 3% didn’t know.

These results reflect the increased concern by enterprise IT organizations about the control they lose with public cloud deployments, because the third party vendor then has ownership of any stored data. This puts data at risk, as files can be accessed by unauthorized parties, including employees of the service provider, or other companies sharing the same multi-tenant server.

ESG found that most current public-cloud users want more flexibility and control over where their files are stored. While enterprises have been adopting some public-cloud services, they have also continued investing in their own infrastructure, and 41% would like to be able to use their internal on-premise infrastructure for OFS deployments. Nearly that same number believe that they can do a better job securing and protecting their data better than third-party service providers can. Enterprises who must comply with government or industry regulations also recognize that their data is safer and more compliant on premises.

ESG concludes that the days of “one-size-fits-all” for managing and security business data are over. Enterprise IT organizations have choices, and those choices include private cloud file sharing and hybrid cloud file sharing for increased security, availability, and control.

For more information about the survey, download the report here.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Private Cloud File Sharing

Is Data Leaking Out of Your Mobile Device?

March 26, 2014 - 11:40am
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Marble Mobile Security published its study on the top ten riskiest mobile apps, and consumer-grade productivity apps were nearing the top of the list. This is because they “can pose data leak risks to enterprises, as they connect to shared document services, or upload and download documents.”

This is an issue that enterprises around the globe are facing – employees are using their mobile devices to be more productive, but many are unaware of the data leak risks. In order for a mobile solution to be suitable for enterprise use, it needs to store content in a secure, encrypted container, as well as ensure that the content doesn’t leave the container. If the content is opened using a third party mobile editor, there is a risk of data leaking, as the user can save the document to the device, or a public cloud.

The issue of secure mobile productivity is especially relevant this week, as the Microsoft Office for iPad suite is expected to be announced during a press conference this week. While this is a good thing for consumer users who want to increase their productivity, it’s a concern for enterprises that need to secure their data. If an end user opens a document in the Office suite, there is a risk that they’ll copy the data to their mobile device where it is more susceptible to a data breach.

To avoid the risks associated with mobile productivity apps, kiteworks by Accellion, has mobile productivity tools built in for creating, editing, and accessing content all in a secure container, to diminish the risk of leaks. Learn more about how kiteworks prevents data leakage on a mobile device here.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Mobile Productivity

Box IPO is a Lesson in Business Sustainability

March 25, 2014 - 1:20pm
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The Box IPO has been expected for months, and its announcement yesterday brought back memories from IPOs of the past. Business Insider said it best, with editor Jay Yarow highlighting that “we're getting an old-school IPO.”

What’s the reason behind this sentimentality? Box is not expected to make profits for the foreseeable future; unlike recent years when companies were expected to have a sustainable business model before entering the public arena. Even Facebook had a more sustainable revenue stream when it went public, despite the issues that arose on its first few days of trading.

Box has one expensive business model, losing $168 million in a 12-month span, far greater than the revenue it brought in over the same time period. Some reporters are speculating that it’s the cost of hosting web storage for their free users, and its race to the bottom for costs, against Google and Microsoft, that is dragging down their revenue stream.

At Accellion we believe the big opportunity is with on-premise private cloud file sharing - it makes economic sense, as well as providing customers greater control over private data. Accellion provides software that enables corporations and government agencies to run their own Box or Dropbox service for their organization. This increases the data security for these organizations, since they have not handed over control of their data to a third party vendor, and it also creates a very efficient business model for Accellion, which is sustainable in the long run.

From firsthand experience as CEO, taking a company public is hard work, and hundreds of variables are taken into consideration when a company and its investors decide when they’re ready. While I have a different perspective on what the most sustainable business model is, I do hope that Box’s public offering is successful, as this kind of business growth in our market is good for everyone involved.

Tags:  Private Cloud File Sharing, Collaboration, Enterprise Content

Forrester Research: Collaboration Today Requires Secure Mobile File Sharing

March 18, 2014 - 4:33pm
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A new study by Forrester Research paints a striking portrait of file sharing in today’s mobile-first enterprise. The report, Market Trends: Secure File Sharing And Collaboration In The Enterprise, Q1 2014, finds that information workers in North America and Europe are regularly collaborating—and hence sharing files—not only with their colleagues (other employees) but also with external users such as partners and customers. According to the study:

  • 76% of employees regularly communicate or collaborate with customers or clients
  • 64% regularly communicate or collaborate with suppliers, vendors, or partners

Increasingly, this cross-boundary communication involves mobile devices. The study found that:

  • Most information workers in North America and Europe are using some type of mobile device for work, and 53% are using three or more devices.
  • Of those workers using tablets, 55% use file sharing and sync software.

Enterprise collaboration today involves many devices (including BYOD devices not selected or configured by IT), many files, and many organizations.

As Forrester points out, the chances of confidential data accidentally leaking to the wrong party grows astronomically higher in such a hyper-connected environment. To reduce these chances, IT must implement strong controls for data governance. Of course, those controls must work across all those mobile devices and accommodate communications with external users who will never be given accounts on an internal LDAP server or in Active Directory.

The Forrester report clearly shows the need for fast-paced mobile file sharing and collaboration with external users. Accellion provides enterprises with a mobile-first design for secure file sharing and collaboration, that meets enterprise requirements for ease of use, speed and security. To read the complete Forrester report, download a copy here.

Tags:  Collaboration, Data Security and Compliance, File Sharing, Mobile Productivity

IT Security is only as Strong as the Weakest Link

March 11, 2014 - 3:16pm
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A security system is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s one of the lessons enterprise IT teams can learn from the recent spate of security breaches.

If partners can connect to an enterprise’s internal network, or enterprise employees regularly exchange files with partners, then the weakest link might be on a partner’s network.

Obviously, an enterprise IT team will never be able to conduct continuous security audits of all its partner networks. Nor will they likely be able to forbid all communications with outsiders like partners. Business must get done, and business frequently involves collaboration with partners outside the enterprise. So enterprise IT organizations must accommodate external communications without jeopardizing security or employee productivity.

When designing and implementing enterprise security solutions, IT architects and security teams should begin by assuming that partner networks are unsafe. They should assume that inbound communications could carry malware, and that external communications might leak confidential data. They should then implement a secure communications solution that makes communication fast and convenient for employees, while taking every prudent measure to reduce risks and minimize the chance for attack.

We recommend that enterprises follow these best practices when evaluating and implementing security solutions for inter-organization communications:

  • Keep control, and stay vigilant. Implement solutions that enable IT administrators, security teams, and compliance teams to monitor and restrict communications, including ad hoc communications with partners. Just because information is flowing outside the enterprise does not mean that IT teams should cede oversight and control. Look for solutions that let you monitor and control access to files, even if that access is by external users who do not have credentials in internal directories such as Active Directory.
  • Make secure communication easy and convenient. If the solution you put in place is easy to use, employees and partners will not be tempted to look for a potentially risky work-around. Instead they will work with the convenient, centrally monitored solution you have provided. Encourage secure habits by making security easy.
  • Make sure security encompasses mobile computing. Like your own employees, your partners’ employees are increasingly using mobile devices to create content and to share it. Future-proof your security solution by providing employees and partners with a security solution for mobile communications.
  • Implement real-time AV scanning at all touchpoints. Enterprises should ensure that file sharing, email, and other partner communications channels incorporate real-time AV scanning so malware can be stopped at the network perimeter. Don’t let inbound communications become a new weak link in your enterprise’s own network defenses.

By taking a systematic approach for partner communications, enterprise IT teams can reduce security risks while keeping partnerships productive and profitable.

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Enterprise Content, Secure File Transfer

Increasing Data Security in Australia

March 10, 2014 - 4:48pm
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In our era of constant digital connectivity, the risk of data breaches and personal information becoming public had been a growing concern, which is now being addressed. As of today, Australian citizens can rest a bit easier knowing that the new Australian Privacy Principles are being enforced, and they significantly improve how businesses and federal government agencies collect, store and manage individuals’ personal information.

The 13 principles are much more detailed than the previous Information Privacy Principles that were in place, and is a crucial step forward for Australia, in order to protect the way our government agencies and businesses protect sensitive information from being breached or disclosed. Australian companies or agencies that fail to strengthen the way they collect, disclose and secure personally identifiable information risk incurring penalties and fines of up to $1.7 million, and regulators now have broader powers than ever before so they can to impose enforceable actions against non-compliant organizations.

Data breaches are top of mind for many right now, with the recent discovery of the government’s massive data breach whereby the private information of almost 10,000 people in immigration detention in Australia was published on the Department of Immigration website. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is investigating the incident, but many are speculating that they will in fact be found in breach of the privacy principles.

Organizations across numerous sectors collect personal information, including: government agencies, finance or healthcare organizations, online retailers, and utilities. All of these types of organizations now need to ensure that they way they collect, share and store their users personal information is done so in a secure manner. This means that they need to ensure the solutions they use for their data management needs to have stringent encryption, have access protocols that ensure only authorized users can open secure content, and maintain the integrity of users personally identifiable information.

I’m happy to see the Australian government strengthening these nationwide security policies, and ensuring the privacy of its citizen’s personally identifiable information. As time goes on, and technology advances, more data will be shared or stored digitally and the privacy and security of sensitive information will only become more critical.

Tags:  BYOD, Data Security and Compliance, Mobile Productivity

Healthcare Information Security: When Will Thermometers and Mobile Devices Go Hand-in-Hand

March 5, 2014 - 10:18am
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What do nurses really want from their jobs? That’s the question that researcher, K. Lynn Wieck, Ph.D., RN, set out to answer when she surveyed more than 1,500 nurses across 22 hospitals. More money? Less stress? Well, yes, but those wish-list items didn’t top of the list. The number one incentive for staying in a nursing job: working in a cohesive environment.  

So, I set out to do my own survey – albeit quite informal – asking friends on Facebook, who are currently nurses, just how cohesive an environment they work in when it comes to mobile technology. I was curious to find out how technology has changed the way nurses work and was a bit surprised to discover that mobile access to patient information and critical administrative paperwork at many hospitals is fragmented at best. Here is some of what I heard:

“In intensive care, everything is on time and well documented but when a patient goes to ward, there is no continuity.”

“We have been promised a mobile device for the past five years, but nothing…”

“In many health centers, we have to share one computer among four staff. As you can guess, documentation is a pain in the…”

So, nurses are looking for more cohesiveness from their employers, yet many hospitals aren’t taking advantage of mobile technology and mobile file sharing to provide seamless and immediate access to needed information. However not doing so can be a very pricey alternative, with the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN ranging from $36,000 to $48,000 according to a survey by NSI Nursing Solutions, resulting in the average hospital losing $3.74-$4.98 million. Plus, the same survey found that the vacancy rate for registered nurses on the rise and expected to climb, with twice as many hospitals (37.1%) reporting a vacancy rate of higher than 7.5%.

Therefore, hospitals should be doing everything possible to retain and attract good employees and deliver on nurses’ desires for cohesive operations. That includes providing straightforward, around-the-clock access to patient information, training materials and other healthcare data from anywhere via any type of device – while keeping personal health information safe and secure.

Thanks to NHS England, NHS Trust organizations have the opportunity to obtain money from the Nursing Technology Fund to purchase technology to support such mobile initiatives, making nurses’ and midwives’ jobs more efficient, while improving patient care. Imagine providing nurses with secure collaboration, easy patient file transfer and mobile access to internal enterprise systems – all via devices as easily accessible as a thermometer. See for yourself how Accellion and MobileIron are helping NHS Trust organizations deliver a cohesive mobile productivity solution to medical staff today: download the South Devon case study to learn more. 

Tags:  Data Security and Compliance, Healthcare, HIPAA, Mobile Productivity

Designing solutions for a mobile world

February 4, 2014 - 12:29pm
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Despite the fact that many of us, especially those of us in the technology industry, proclaim to be living in the era of mobile computing, most of the software solutions being developed and marketed today are not designed with a mobile-first perspective.  Why is it that we as an industry are having such a hard time evolving our software designs to work with the new mobile form factor?

My opinion is that many companies just aren’t willing, or aren’t able 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 each one. Creating a software solution for the desktop/laptop first, and then scaling it down for mobile devices is just not the right approach.

Read the rest of my thoughts here on my Computerworld blog.

Introducing kiteworks

January 28, 2014 - 11:11am
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The technology industry is built on a culture of innovation, and an inherent drive to make things more efficient, more useful, and more engaging. Today there is a mobile revolution occurring, transforming the way we work and the tools we use for that work.

We believe that all organizations need a way for employees to share information from wherever, on any device, with people inside and outside the organization without exposing confidential information.

At Accellion we’ve built our reputation, and the core of our solutions, around the concept that security is an imperative for all businesses and government organizations. We’ve taken our history in security, and fused it with a mobile perspective to create a next generation mobile collaboration and file-sharing platform; kiteworks by Accellion.

With the introduction of kiteworks we’re not just keeping up with the mobile revolution trend; we’re taking the lead.

With kiteworks we’ve completely revamped our user experience to make it mobile first, and layered it upon a new triple-layer architecture that dramatically increased our already robust security features.  We believe that security functionality will only be used if it doesn’t get in the way of people getting their work done, and kiteworks is the embodiment of that thinking. kiteworks is designed to delight users as well as IT and security teams.

We capitalized on this opportunity to create an entirely new type of user experience, one that was truly designed to be mobile-first and device agnostic, rather than taking a PC-based product and pasting it onto a mobile platform. The kiteworks UI is intuitive and easy to use. We’ve improved the way users view the activity occurring around their files, as well as added tools like the Move Tray, which streamlines the way users share files via mobile. We’ve also improved mobile productivity by adding features for creating and editing files, for file centric collaboration, task-based activities, and mobile workflows.

A lot of people talk about being mobile first, but we mean it. We have taken mobile to heart.  We invite you to explore kiteworks and work wherever the wind takes you.