[Infographic] 10 myths about moving office to the cloud

[Infographic] 10 myths about moving office to the cloud

Most companies have decided they need the business agility and want the cost savings that come when moving to the cloud. But with the bewildering amount of contradictory information floating around on the Internet, not many really understand exactly what that means or what it entails.

We have created a myth-busting infographic with a list of the top ten most common misconceptions around moving to Office 365.

3 reasons to cloud connect your file server

3 reasons to cloud connect your file server

As a guess, half of your employees love the file server, since it is fast, easy, and centralises all work files in a single location on the network at the main office. The other half of your of employees more than likely hate the file server, for these guys working out in the field, accessing the file server typically involves connecting to a VPN, connecting network drives and then waiting for the file to download to their desktop before opening. The problem is especially acute for employees who are always remote. Over time, difficulties with remote access cause employees to get out of sync with the rest of the company, leading to a disconnect and data sprawl for corporate documents and potentially critical content becoming trapped in personal silos. There is a different way.

Business-class file sync services can implement a feature call File Server Enablement. File server Enablement connects the existing file server to the cloud and permits discrete folders from the file server to be logically mapped to users and team shares using the sync services. With this technology, all the data from the file server is available in real time on users’ mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and remote laptops and home office PCs. As new content is created on a remote tablet or PC, the data is instantaneously synced back to the server.

Here are three reasons to consider file server enablement:

1. Sync to smartphones

Business-class cloud file sync services allow employees to sync their critical work files between their desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the cloud. Your staff becomes more nimble and productive when they have their files at their fingertips, no matter where they go. Whether it is iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, business-class sync keeps users connected on the go.

2. Keep people in sync

Remote employees usually have a long list of complaints when it comes to IT support. One of the biggest complaints is the feeling of being out of sync with the rest of the organisation. With file server enablement and business-class file sync, you can level the playing field. Remote employees are now able to access all of their files and team share content from any mobile device, be it their laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Field employees are the closest to the customer, so it makes sense to have these critical team members in sync with the whole company and all the files they need to do their jobs best.

3. Empower your employees

Savvy and growth-oriented companies should view their hyper-connected workforce as an untapped opportunity. Smartphones and tablets, even if they are BYOD devices and owned by the employee, can vastly improve the productivity of your workforce. The trick is to balance convenience with security when it comes to corporate data. Business-class file sync and file server enablement allows access to corporate data via BYOD devices, but you now have critical capabilities to protect your data, such as fine-grained audit trails, per user security policies, and remote wipe of lost or stolen devices. The key is to focus on employee empowerment, no matter the device they choose to access corporate data.

By leveraging cloud services along-side your existing file server infrastructure you can better organize and protect your company data whilst fully maximising the power of employee mobility.

Why not contact us today to learn more about Business-Class File Sync & Share services, we can even offer you a free trial of the service.

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7 security risks from consumer-grade file sync services

7 security risks from consumer-grade file sync services

Love it or hate it, the Cloud is now ever-present in corporate life. It is now commonplace for businesses, big or small to access cloud services in some form or other as part of their day-to-day business operations. It has also been widely documented that the use of these services has enabled departments to address certain situations or deliver solutions without ever involving the IT department or gaining sign-off from Finance. Company data is now more at risk than it ever was.

Consumer-grade file sync solutions (referred to as CGFS solutions) similar to Dropbox pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Below are seven of the biggest risks that these solutions pose in a business environment.

1. Data theft

Most of the problems with CGFS solutions emanate from a lack of oversight. Business owners are not privy to when an instance is installed, and are unable to control which employee devices can or cannot sync with a corporate PC. Use of CFGS solutions can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. These personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increase the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties.

2. Data loss

Lacking visibility over the movement of files or file versions across end-points, CFGS solutions improperly backup (or do not backup at all) files that were modified on an employee device. If an end-point is compromised or lost, this lack of visibility can result in the inability to restore the most current version of a file or any version for that matter.

3. Corrupted data

In a study by CERN, silent data corruption was observed in 1 out of every 1500 files. While many businesses trust their cloud solution providers to make sure that stored data maintains its integrity year after year, most CGFS solutions don’t implement data integrity assurance systems to ensure that any bit-rot or corrupted data is replaced with a redundant copy of the original.

4. Lawsuits

CGFS solutions give carte blanche power to end-users over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information that can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third-parties.

5. Compliance violations

Since CGFS solutions have loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, you could be setting yourself up for a compliance violation. Many compliance policies require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict controls over how long files are kept and who can access them.

6. Loss of accountability

Without detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity, CGFS solutions can result in loss of accountability over changes to user accounts, organisations, passwords, and other entities. If a malicious admin gains access to the system, hundreds of hours of configuration time can be undone if no alerting system is in place to notify other admins of these changes.

7. Loss of file access

Consumer-grade solutions don’t track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to determine the events leading up to a file’s creation, modification, or deletion. Additionally, many solutions track and associate a small set of file events which can result in a broken access trail if a file is renamed, for example.

In summary, consumer-grade file sync solutions pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Allowing employees to utilise CFGS solutions can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches.

Many companies have formal policies or discourage employees from using their own accounts. But while blacklisting common CFGS solutions may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees will ultimately find ways to get around company firewalls.

The best way for business to handle this is to deploy a company-approved application that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they feel they need to be productive.

Contact our Cloud specialists to gain a better understanding of how you can boost your employee’s productivity without risking the security of your company data.

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5 ways to maximise your employees mobile productivity

5 ways to maximise your employees mobile productivity

Virtually every employee today has a smartphone. Many also have tablets, such as iPads and Android devices. Most businesses are underutilising these devices, because they belong to the employee in most cases. Ignoring these Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) devices is a mistake. Your hyper-connected employees are glued to their mobile devices, and savvy business owners and executives have realised the secret to higher employee productivity is embracing mobility and the BYOD trend.

Find ways to help your staff work more, work smarter, and serve your clients better. The key is to empower the mobile experience of your staff, without compromising security and control of your corporate data. Business-class file sync services can give you the best of both worlds: you can allow your corporate data to be synced to employee mobile devices, without giving up control of your corporate data. Here’s how:

1. Sync to smartphones

Business-class cloud file sync services allow employees to sync their critical work files between their desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the cloud. Your staff becomes more nimble and productive when they have their files at their fingertips, no matter where they go. Whether it is iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, business-class sync keeps users connected on the go.

2. Empower them with tablets

Tablet users today are usually your cutting edge staffers. More and more, everyday computing tasks once performed on laptops are now being done on iPads and Android tablets. Tablets are great for field-based staff, often sales professionals. Whether your staff is visiting a client or working a tradeshows, tablets are fantastic for demos, show and tell, and visual content to share with prospects and clients. Growth-oriented companies should encourage tablet use and help users leverage all of their files and corporate data, securely from their tablets.

3. Sync your file server

Mobile devices are the lifeline for remote employees. But it is easy to feel cut off from HQ if all the content, files, and data you need is stuck back on the corporate file server. Business-grade sync services allow you to cloud connect your file server and in turn sync the content to mobile users and other remote computers. On-the-go professionals are in sync with HQ and better able to serve clients and prospects in the field.

4. Don’t lose control

Leveraging employee mobile devices is not without risks. Data privacy and security has always been a balancing act. With BYOD resources, it is no different. But with business-grade sync services, you can connect employees with your corporate data without losing control of that information. Business-class services allow you to implement fine-grained controls on employee sync and share behavior. For instance, you could allow employees to sync to their iPhone and iPad, but not a remote Windows or Mac device. You may also evolve your security policy over time, either loosening or strengthening your policies depending on the circumstances. The choice is yours.

5. Be ready when disaster strikes

No matter which security policies you implement, you need to be ready for when disasters strike. Everyday disasters are all too common, such as lost or stolen smartphones. With business-grade file sync, you can remotely wipe corporate data off of a lost device. In more serious situations, such as an employee termination, you are also ready. Remote wipe actions can be taken on a whole user account and across devices that were previously synced, eliminating corporate data from smartphones, tablets, and remote computers.

Balancing security and convenience is a necessary choice in today’s workplace. Fortunately, business-class file sync helps business owners and executives ride the mobility wave, while safeguarding corporate data.

Learn more how to boost employee productivity in 8 steps

Moving to the cloud – A Case Study

Moving to the cloud – A Case Study

Our customer is a London based transformation consultancy, providing business coaching, executive placements, leadership training and workforce assessments to name a few services. Urban Network recently performed a comprehensive project to upgrade legacy Microsoft 2003 server systems for the business to a hybrid cloud storage file system, Office 365 and on premise solution.

We sat down with Chris, a member of our Professional Services Team to share lessons learned from the journey to the cloud with our client.

What did you feel was the main objective and business outcome to the customer?

To bring the business systems up to a current technology platform, as Windows Server 2003 has now been retired. The customer will then benefit from the additional security, support from the provider for the O/S and speed of a new system. The e-mail platform will also be supported and will benefit from the newer features of Office 365 Exchange versioning with improved webmail, larger storage and greater functionality for sharing information. The Office 365 system is native high availability redundant and cutting edge, which is a great for SMB. The cloud file system in the same way gives great access from anywhere to all the customer’s files, while also protecting the data with versioning.

What were the main considerations when planning the project?

The main drivers were to achieve high availability, with a swift smooth transition to the new systems. I used cut-over tools and processes for the 365 migration to ensure minimal downtime for e-mail. The deployment of new file systems was also delivered with this in mind.

What did we do that was of particular benefit to our customer?

Using the Microsoft developed tools and strategies for migration, we achieved the goals we set out for smooth migration.

How could you improve how the project went?

The customer was happy, and so I was happy with everything that I did on this job. I am always looking to improve though, and I feel I could have moved some resources over while awaiting transfers of data. On my next project I will plan to streamline moving devices like printers in the dead time.

Post migration, how do you feel our customer’s technology sits now?

The technology now is much better than they had before the project. If there are any changes to the way they work now, they can scale up and down quickly and easily and they can work much more effectively from wherever they are. Added to this they now have a modern secure setup for the entire business needs.

What do you see on the Horizon for customer’s technology?

They are now very well setup or anything that comes up in the future. I feel that they may develop some of the areas of Office 365 that currently they are not using. They have SharePoint with Office 365, and additional online collaborative data storage that will allow them to work much more effectively for instance.

Find out how we can empower your business and guide you towards the cloud here