Share and share alike: 4 ways to dramatically improve file sharing

Think about the ways you share files today at work and the proliferation of tools you need to do it.

  • Share a few files internally = email attachment
  • Share a few files externally = email attachment
  • Share many files internally = copy files to network drive or SharePoint (assuming the right shares exist)
  • Share many files or bigger files externally = upload files to FTP or customer web portal (assuming you’re allowed to)

Or you may be skipping this mess to use consumer cloud services instead. If there are file size restrictions, if it is difficult to get permission to access storage or if it is unclear how to share externally within the company rules, users usually take the path of least resistance.

Wait for it… here’s another golden opportunity to upgrade from eighties technologies.

Sharing with Oxygen is simple, secure and efficient. With a single interface, you can:

  • Share a few files internally, leveraging email, IM or any other messaging service, with support for larger files
  • Share a few files externally, leveraging any messaging system, with additional controls like expiration and passwords
  • Share multiple files internally right from the desktop, without requiring IT intervention or creating extraneous file copies
  • Share multiple files externally right from the desktop, without requiring IT, but providing enhanced controls to shared data

Sharing a few files with internal colleagues is as simple as “right click”

With Oxygen, sharing a few files with colleagues can be done by secured link. It’s right in your Oxygen Drive on desktop or mobile. Just right click (or tap) a file in your Oxygen Drive and “share this file.” Oxygen secure links work seamlessly with your default email client (e.g. Microsoft Outlook) and messaging systems like Hipchat and SMS. Because Oxygen sends hyperlinks instead of the file itself, sending a larger file isn’t a problem (corporate email often still has 10MB file size limits) and it doesn’t impact your email storage environment. Your links are accessible with any browser-enabled device.

Simple ad hoc sharing

Securely sharing a few files with external contractors, suppliers or clients

External sharing is just as simple to use, but you can add an additional layer of security and control by configuring the link to expire and by securing the link with a password. You can also expire the link at any time. Most of our customers enable secure links for all their users, but Oxygen enables IT to selectively control this capability by group. For example, your company may want to disable this feature for your finance team, but enable it for your professional services team. Oxygen would allow you to control the team which doesn’t normally interact with contractors (finance), but enable it for the team that is in constant communication with clients (professional services).

Secure link control

Upgrade to a “cloud share” – How to share multiple files on a project with co-workers

If you’re familiar with network shares, Oxygen Spaces offer a similar shared storage concept, but we add multi-device access, protected online and offline access and a host of security features. Users access Oxygen Spaces inside their Oxygen Drive from any device. Like in the rest of the Oxygen Drive, users can open, edit and save documents right inside the Space. Other users that have access to the space can immediately see changes.

Simple space sharing

A key point to emphasize is that with Oxygen, a user can see all the content within an Oxygen Space, without downloading the data to their device. This means that Oxygen is uniquely built to support shared directories containing thousands of files or very large files that you don’t necessarily want to download, common occurrences in large businesses. You can even do this offline (which is impossible with network shares).

I'm able to view directories of hundreds of files without downloading them

I’m able to view directories that contain hundreds of files without downloading them

From the IT perspective, things get even more fun. Admins can define which groups of users are permitted to create Spaces. This allows IT to delegate some management work to business users, which increases the ability to efficiently collaborate while simultaneously reducing IT overhead. The ability to delegate the simple creation of shared storage reduces reliance on silo’d systems like SharePoint. Spaces have full access control by individual user, group or even AD Group. They can also be assigned to different type of backend storage for different cost, performance and security profiles. Think about it – with Oxygen, you can have even better control than standard user management systems, but unconstrained by physical and storage boundaries.

A Virtual Data Room right from your desktop – Sharing multiple files with external clients

Yes, still within one interface, you can also share multiple files with external users. Administrators can specifically designate groups of users that are allowed to do this. Once those users set up the Spaces, they are accessible to external users, on any device, with near real-time visibility to changes. Users can just drag and drop the files and folders they want to share into the correct space, and the specified users will see them immediately.

External sharing

In most cases, SharePoint and other internal content management systems don’t allow external guest access without adding those users to your directory services. Adding guest users to AD creates too much management overhead for most IT departments. With Oxygen, that burden goes away. Once invited, if the external guest is also an Oxygen user with AD integration, they will authenticate against their own AD before being allowed to access the Oxygen Space that you are sharing. If they aren’t an Oxygen user, they have to create a validated identity and authenticate against Oxygen’s authentication system. In either case, unlike web portals and FTP where any file that is downloaded is no longer under control, a guest user of Oxygen can be removed at any time and all the content in their Oxygen Drive will be instantly revoked and inaccessible.

Guest user

So there you have it. Oxygen covers a whole range of internal and external sharing use cases through a simple interface and a consistent backend. No need to manage, support and pay for multiple applications like SharePoint, Box, FTP and web portals. No need to consume storage capacity and manage duplicate data in the storage silos that support those multiple applications. No need to manage silo’d user lists and security controls either.

Too good to be true? Well, tools from the eighties and nineties definitely have their limitations. They were designed and built when there was only one type of device and everyone worked in the same network. Things have changed a lot.

Give something newer a try.

-Leo
@lleung

Users are from Venus and IT is from Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

What is the deal anyway?

Every morning, we hear from IT:

  • “I have a Dropbox problem. My users have moved a bunch of files to Dropbox and that’s a security issue.”
  • “We have a mandate to support a choice of devices.”
  • “My executives and sales guys are pressuring me for mobile file access.”
  • “We want a private solution for sync and share.”

Every afternoon, we hear from users:

  • “VPN is a hassle. I’m on the road constantly and I need online and offline file access.”
  • “I use a Windows laptop in the office and a Mac Book Pro at home.”
  • “Management and the sales team are all on iPads, but the only business tool we have on them is email.”
  • “I get that I’m not supposed to use Google Drive, but I need a real corporate alternative that makes content available across devices.”

Isn’t everyone saying the same thing?

Not to play psychiatrist, but we think companies can have it all, if only IT and users could listen to each other. This isn’t a collaboration thing or a security thing. It isn’t a mobile problem or a cloud problem. It’s a new way to think about storage.

At one point, file servers were able to provide some sort of balance. They provided an infrastructure for IT to manage user access and how much capacity was provided. And users got E: drives, which at least were accessible right next to their local files. But then came laptops and road warriors, home offices, iPads, tons of mobile apps. IT needs a new infrastructure. Users need a new entry point into their files on the devices that they use today.

Oxygen provides a bridge for users and IT in this multi-device, mobile storage world. With Oxygen:

  • Users can access data wherever they are, online or offline, but IT has centralized control over access (and the ability to delegate control).
  • Users can have better data access on company-issued and BYOD devices, so the company gets more productivity and flexibility with technology deployment.
  • Users can depend on the tablet as a defacto productivity tool for the field, and IT can continuously add more business capabilities.
  • IT can have a storage solution that accounts not only for user access control and data control at the device, but also data storage location.

This week, we just added an important new feature that lights up that bridge: our branded enterprise sites.

Branded enterprise sites are available through our web admin console and lets IT set up a user-friendly face to storage services. This addresses one of the primary challenges of companies today – how to roll out enterprise technology to users who have an increasing amount of access to comparable personal technologies.

account-setup

The branded enterprise site helps users easily find Oxygen via a branded URL, learn about the Cloud Drive and get going in minutes – just like they would with apps in their personal lives. And once a company gets going, they get all the goodness I described above in terms of anywhere access for users and user data management for IT.

Enterprise-site

Check out the new branded enterprise site today. We’d love to hear what you think.

-Leo
@lleung

User Adoption is Everything

The relationship between users and applications is a delicate one, and even the most amazing products have their value diminished if users are simply not willing to use them. Wholehearted adoption by individual users is the single most important metric when it comes to measuring Oxygen’s success.  When users feel genuinely empowered by Oxygen, the effect is twofold: Users become more productive, and IT once again obtains the level of control they desire.

How?

Oxygen’s simple cloud drive allows individuals to efficiently work on their files both remotely and from multiple devices.  Groups of individuals on Oxygen can smoothly collaborate together, and managers on Oxygen have the ability to oversee numerous projects by simply browsing through folders.

The more people there are in Oxygen, the more natural your users will feel while working there.  Once your users can’t work without the enabling powers of your cloud, IT will have finally won the battle of regaining control over file movement within the company.

So you see, your Oxygen is an ecosystem that empowers both users and IT at once.

VANGUARD-AJJ

We, your accounts team, devote our time and energy to understand that relationship, and we develop the Oxygen deployment playbook to speak to that understanding.  We want to hear what you have to say. We solve your problems by tailoring rollouts specific to your unique use cases and circumstances.

We’re nerds that way.

So drop us a line and let’s chat about how we can help your users become more successful with Oxygen!

 

-Jeff Lee
Account Advisor

Not all syncs are created equal

“Sync”, or synchronization, in the context of cloud, means that data as it appears on your local device, be it desktop, laptop, or mobile, is the same as it appears in your storage. The concept, as it relates to cloud storage, has from its outset been designed to ensure data integrity.

There are fundamental differences in the way that cloud solutions choose to handle synchronization of files. It is important that any buyer interested in a cloud solution understand how your data is moving across the internet and how and where your files are being stored.

Sync everything – The Consumer model

Consumer focused solutions are designed for the individual and operate around this form of data sharing and control. The standard consumer sync models push every file to the cloud and subsequently any device you install the application on. This is great for the individual because it is redundant, easily accessible, and easily manageable. But what if you want to use this system with your team or a large organization?

Let’s say your 100 person team has 200GBs of files in your cloud storage. Do you really need all 200GBs of those files stored on your local desktop or laptop as well? Do you even have 200GBs of free space on your local machine?

No, you don’t need a local copy of all the files in the cloud, let alone have space for it on your local machines. You really just need the ability to access your teammate’s files when you need them. For that, enter Oxygen.

Sync only what you need – The Oxygen model

The Oxygen sync model is focused on providing access to files on a need basis. Because Oxygen maps directly to your storage, users are given the opportunity to see all the files that they have access to as .cloud files. These .cloud files are meta-representations of the actual file that lives in your storage.

From your Oxygen client, these .cloud files appear with full titles so you can selectively choose which files you would like to sync locally. When you sync a file from the cloud via Oxygen desktop or mobile client, you are downloading the most recent version of that file from your storage to that Oxygen client. That file then lives locally encrypted on that device making it accessible and editable on or offline.

Oxygen differs from the consumer cloud model because it provides a scalable solution for enterprise cloud that allows any number of users the opportunity to access the same shared space and choose, on an individual basis, what files they want or need. At any time, they can access those files, make corrections, and save them back to the cloud where they will be reflected to anybody in that shared space.

Try it out yourself!

Our enterprise clients have witnessed how Oxygen’s unique approach to cloud access, security, and storage has transformed their workflow. Get in touch and we’ll help you get started with your own free account!

- Aric Johnson
Community Marketing Associate

Problems with identity management in the cloud

Identity management has been a critical issue that is too often ignored. Earlier this week I posted about how companies should watch out for users uploading sensitive files into consumer services because a new law in California now prohibits companies from asking for user passwords to what is loosely considered a “social media” site.

But the problem with identity management doesn’t stop there.

How often do users authorize third party apps to use their email or Facebook login credentials? More often than you may think. As I am writing this post, I decided to check my own Twitter settings and found that I have authorized 35 different applications to use my Twitter login credentials. Yes. 35! These apps range from popular blogs to commenting systems, as well as to sites such as Quora and Forbes Social. While my use case is not the best example because I have a hyperactive-overshared digital life, most users have most likely done the same to a lesser degree.

So what happens when enterprises adopt cloud apps? What happens to those identities? How many more password leaks and security lapses can Dropbox and iCloud commit for us to realize identity management is just as important as data encryption for enterprise clouds?

How enterprise cloud differs from consumer cloud: Centralized control

Maintaining security in the cloud requires a holistic approach; piecemeal bits and pieces together to plug in the holes doesn’t work. Just adding encryption at storage or use a third party identity system doesn’t work. What good is encrypting your data on storage when an external identity system is copying your enterprise’s user credentials into an insecure cloud somewhere else? How can IT maintain access control if an app integrates and authorizes other 3rd party apps to copy over your user’s data and passwords?

Imagine 35 copies of your user’s corporate password floating out on the internet somewhere. Yikes.

It is the same futile effort of adding an extra pad lock on your front door to prevent burglary when you are leaving your backdoors wide open. Nobody wants that.

This is why we let our customers leverage their existing infrastructure and identities when they use Oxygen’s Enterprise Cloud. We understand that smarter control starts with identity management. With Oxygen, you can keep your existing user credentials on your own AD/LDAP systems and manage them behind your own firewall. Your company users authenticate against your own identity system. There are no copies made and we don’t even have access to your users’ passwords.

control-v-box

This is the difference when we build our cloud platform as an enterprise solution and not just an app. Smarter control, better management and ease of use should not be an either-or compromise. There are no tradeoffs. And that is the Oxygen difference.

- Julia
@JuliaMak

Control your user identities in the cloud

As of January 1st 2013, California follows in the footsteps of Illinois and Michigan where the Social Media Privacy Act (CA SB 1349) officially takes effect. The new law prohibits employers or schools to ask for workers or applicant’s passwords to their Facebook, email, or other social media sites. With everyone’s ever-growing digital life, the importance of digital identity privacy is now being addressed.

But what happens when your users upload sensitive corporate documents into consumer services like Dropbox? This new law defines “social media” as “an electronic medium where users may create, share, and view user-generated content” – so even cloud services like Dropbox or other similar super-mega-let-you-sync-share-file-free sites may very well be included in the same category. With such a broad definition for what constitutes a social media site, this prevents a company from getting sensitive corporate files back if a user does upload them to a “social media site”. IT will have no recourse whatsoever as they are prohibited from requesting an individual user’s password to those sites.

Leverage your own AD with Oxygen

Companies do not own an individual user’s digital identity, therefore has no way of enforcing any policies to control access and permissions. But large organizations already have their own corporate identity systems established. Users usually use their corporate AD/LDAP credentials to access their work laptop, email and other applications. But in this multi-device world, traditional ways of file access isn’t enough. Users often do adopt tools such as Dropbox because they need mobile access to their work files or they want an easier way to share files with others without going through the hassle of a web portal or VPN.

Here is how Oxygen can help. We let you give your users an easy way to access and share files, but we also let you leverage your own infrastructure and identities so you maintain complete control over data access. Oxygen integrates and authenticates against your company’s private AD/LDAP systems without creating additional identity silos that are unmanageable. Centrally manage Oxygen the same way you already manage your identities, your storage and applications.

Oxygen gives your company a smarter way to control what’s yours in the cloud.

- Julia
@JuliaMak

A Year in Review: The Best of Oxygen 2012

While we’re not at the top of the world yet, this has been an excellent year for us. We’ve gained dozens of enterprise customers, strengthened relationships with our partners, and most important of all – we continued to enhance Oxygen’s enterprise cloud platform. Thank you for your valuable feedback throughout the year to help us make our product smarter, improve Oxygen’s usability and provide better tools for IT to manage and control company data.

Enterprise Deployments Across Different Industries

Oxygen provides the perfect solution for enterprises that need to maintain data control while meeting the needs of an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce. ING Direct Canada’s CIO talked about how Oxygen is the only solution that enabled them to deploy iPads for their executives and board members, while maintaining data on-premise and giving IT all the tools to meet security and compliance requirements.

Beyond ING Direct Canada, Oxygen continues to experience rapid adoption across industries such as financial services, real estate, higher education, and technology. Some of our customers include Sony, FM Realty, Long and Foster, Purdue University, Medela, Cassidy Turley and more. We look forward to even more successful deployments in the coming year.

“Our agents can select any mobile device they feel will help them be productive and in many cases they have multiple devices, so it was extremely important that the solution supported the majority of popular mobile devices and PCs on the market. Our agent teams needed a dedicated space where they could share files among themselves and be able to send confidential documents to clients and know they were encrypted and password protected. Finally, having the option to choose storage providers that offered data redundancy or our own data center gives us flexibility if our needs change.

Oxygen was the perfect fit and implementing the AD connector on our Microsoft Hyper-v Virtual environment required minimal time and effort. This has been one of the easier company-wide rollouts we have done.”

- Fonville Morisey Realty CIO, John Schweighardt

Building the Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem with Enterprise-class Partners

We have been working with EMC since the spring of 2011. This year we extended our partnership with EMC to provide anywhere data access to multiple EMC products, including Atmos, Isilon and VNX storage systems. Over the past year, we’ve tripled our joint customers together.

We are also working with other leading storage companies and enterprise service providers such as AT&T, IBM and Nirvanix. We have recently announced our partnership with Savvis – delivering smarter data access to Savvis’ Symphony Cloud Storage.

A Smarter Enterprise Cloud: Better for Users and IT

Last but not least, we enhanced our mobile, desktop and web clients, released the much anticipated auto-sync, Microsoft Outlook Add-in, and integrated with a variety of mobile productivity apps such as PDF Expert, Quickoffice and Notability. We are always trying to make each version of Oxygen better than the last. From the most recent release where our Windows Desktop client is now up to 2.5 times faster, to expanding our suite of IT management tools to provide auditing, mobile device management, and RSA two-factor authentication, we’re committed to continual improvement.

The Year of Enterprise Cloud = The Year of Oxygen Cloud

We have achieved great success in 2012, helping CIOs and IT transform their companies in the cloud era. We have expanded our enterprise cloud ecosystem with wonderful partners such as EMC, AT&T, IBM, Nirvanix and Savvis. And looking forward, the analysts have agreed with our prediction – enterprise cloud will rise in 2013. So you know what that means? 2013 will be the year for Oxygen Cloud as well ;) and we look forward to sharing more success stories with you!

Have a wonderful holiday season, stay warm, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Cheers,
Julia
@JuliaMak