Business users share files over mobile network

Novell, NTP introduce secure mobile file sharing solutions

A key component of what makes a “bring your own device” (BYOD) strategy work is the ability among mobile users to securely share documents. There are essentially two ways to go about this: through a cloud-based solution or on-premises servers.

Even though putting things up in the cloud is increasingly popular, it might not suit every agency’s needs. According to the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as (ISC)², the requirements for data loss prevention are quite different in these two types of solutions, and securing a cloud environment might be more expensive than maintaining servers on-site.

For agencies that decide to manage their own servers, Novell and NTP each have introduced file sharing services for mobile devices. Both solutions utilize on-premises appliances.

Novell’s Filr service runs on either Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 and 11 or Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2, either of which needs to be running VMware ESX or ESXi. It controls which mobile users get access to which network applications and data by integrating with any existing active directory.

Lucas Mearian of Computerworld noted that Filr uses Secure Sockets Layer to provide top-level encryption. This means that the weakest link in the system would be the mobile devices’ built-in encryption, which should be reinforced with a mobile device management solution.

NTP’s Universal File Access (UFA)  also is installed onto an on-premises Windows virtual machine and controls which files are put out onto a secure cloud space for mobile access. The way it does this is through a component called the Cloud Connector, a gatekeeper that keeps track of an agency’s access policies so it can safely connect all of the active file storage to the Internet (and therefore to mobile users). Files are sent to the Cloud File Store, but are only there as long as they are being accessed, so risk isn’t generally increased. 

UFA also includes a BYOD suite that will enable devices to connect to UFA through active directory authentication. It can also keep track of lost or stolen devices and shut down or wipe them as necessary. The suite also includes client software that works with common devices and operating systems.

NTP's Universal File Access requires a company to buy a core technology license for $15,000 and then pay $99 per year per user or $10 per month. Novel's Filr is sold on a subscription basis for $45 per user per year.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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