NTP has new secure remote file solution

Ensuring secure remote access to corporate data is of major concern to organizations at any time, but with BYOD policies sprouting like mushrooms it’s even more acute today.

For organizations with particular security needs NTP Software now what it calls Universal File Access solution, which combines on-premise and cloud software that links to corporate Active Directory systems.

NTP Software CEO Bruce Backa gave this example of how the solution works: Imagine an insurance broker who photographs damage to a car for claims purposes. Because the images could be used as evidence in court, the insurance company doesn’t want copies of the image floating around the Internet.

One solution is to download the image from a digital camera to a laptop, then to a USB stick, which is then plugged into a PC at an office for uploading to corporate storage. Another is to upload the file to a cloud storage holding service like DropBox for later download – which leaves files open to being copied in the cloud.

With Universal File Access, the images can be wirelessly transferred from a laptop – or smart phone or tablet — straight to corporate storage.

“We’re trying to use the cloud as a transport and translation layer so that image can be brought to the data centre, put on a storage host and categorized as if it was transferred by USB stick,” said Backa.

The three-part solution works like this:

–Portable devices have software agents installed that work with all mobile operating system, which lets users upload data safely — as well as delete data if the device is lost or stolen. NPT calls this part of the solution its BYOD Suite. Customers pay a monthly or annual fee for each agent;

–Cloud software called BYOD Manager, which can be placed on any cloud service that can handle Microsoft Corp.’s hypervisor, or it can be hosted by Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. This links mobile devices with agents to the corporate Windows Active Directory and can handle an unlimited number of connections;

–On premise software called Cloud Connector, which links to BYOD Manager and internal storage. It also serves as the file management system, providing controls over the size and type of file data users can upload or download.
(Home page of NTP Software’s Universal File Access solution)

The solution diminishes the risk of sensitive data sitting on mobile devices, which can be lost or stolen, said Backa. Security is managed through Active Directory. Users can access files with almost any device, with the appropriate permissions.

There is only one connection for remote devices through the corporate firewall between the data center and BYOD Manager, he noted.

As for pricing, Cloud Connector runs “in the area of US$15,000,” said Backa, and the mobile apps each cost US$100 a year per device. The BYOD Manager is free, but there will be a charge from the cloud provider for hosting the service.

Christine Taylor, an analyst with Taneja Group, said in an email interview noted that some vendors offering file collaboration use cloud repositories. This can be a solution for some companies, she said, but they can add a layer of complexity and security concerns. Even when the cloud repository resides on a private cloud behind the firewall, having a separate repository for active shared data still adds another layer of management and data movement. NTP’s solution is a very attractive message to IT departments that have resisted building storage repositories for active data on clouds. 
UFA will be sold by NTP Software’s system integrator partners, although some larger customers and governments prefer to buy direct.

NTP is best known for its QFS software, which enforces storage policies, and File Reporter, which produces analytics on what’s happening with corporate data.

 Backa said these two products are its highest sellers. “Over time,” however, he hopes UFA will dominate the company’s revenues because it will appeal to a broader number of customers.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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