It’s hard to believe that the BlackBerry is on its deathbed. Dominant as the ONLY enterprise mobile device of choice just a decade ago, the “crackberry” was as vital a piece of business equipment as a PC or laptop. The BlackBerry dominated until 2006 when Apple debuted of the first iPhone, which had grabbed 17% market share by year’s end. Android quietly launched the following year and today, Android and iOS devices dominate the landscape.
After a more than decade-long struggle, BlackBerry ultimately lost the war against the double juggernaut of Steve Job’s iOS revolution and Google’s relentless drive for global online domination. And it didn’t help that BlackBerry missed the memo alerting the market that the REAL market mover was the apps, not the actual device or operating system.
In 2008, Apple launched its AppStore with an estimated 500 apps, and today, the store boasts more than 1.1 million apps and a staggering 60 billion downloads. Android isn’t far behind with an estimated 1 million apps and 50 billion downloads from its Google Play marketplace. Contrast that with BlackBerry; it took the company until 2009 to launch its App World Store, which today boasts around 100,000 apps with just over 4 billion downloads in its lifetime.
This translates directly to device relevance and market adoption. Simply put, the more apps you have on your device, the more useful it is to you. And the more things you can do, find, access, share and replace with those apps, the more VITAL that device is to your day-to-day life. Apps are now largely dictating who’s winning the war for the hearts and minds of both business and consumer users – and Apple and Android are winning big.
The numbers say it all. My company offers an enterprise file-sharing solution that includes mobile access from virtually any device, and we have tracked access by device type since the company started in 2007. This data offers a unique “snapshot” of device and OS usage patterns by our business users and the numbers are revealing.
You’d think we’d see lots of BlackBerry users, along with a pretty even split among Apple and Android users. In fact, BlackBerry device access to our system represents less than 1% of all activity – ever! Compare that with Apple device access (iPhones and iPads) at around 60% and Android-compatible devices accounting for the rest.
Last year, in fact, iOS devices were used to access our system 2.4x more than Android devices. If apps drive the market and security is now a non-issue, the battle is already won, and according to our numbers, Apple is king when it comes to business.
So all of this is great news for users, but what does it mean for businesses? BYOD has been a hot topic for the past five years, and companies are still grappling with how to rationalize a strategy that balances the desire of employees to use their devices for work against the needs of the business to keep its systems, files and information “safe” – especially when it comes to sharing data inside and outside of the company.
Employees have latched on to cloud-only file sharing solutions, such as Dropbox, to get easy access to any file saved to the cloud and make collaboration simple. Between security breaches and government spying though, IT has been extremely concerned about the cloud for its data.
A recent IDG report estimates that up to 61% of files will NEVER go to the cloud due to security and sensitivity concerns. That leaves just 39% of files that employees can easily get to from their personal devices. They still can’t get to the rest of their files, many of which are business-critical, without making many extra steps and a measurable amount of inconvenience and frustration (can you say VPN?).
The answer is stunningly simple and solves several challenges at once: find an enterprise-ready, secure service that gives users easy, intuitive access to their business information via their device of choice, while delivering the security, management and control IT needs to keep a firm grasp of who’s accessing the system, what they’re looking at and the files they’re sharing.
Give administrators the centralized ability to change, limit access or remove users centrally with just one click and make sure it adheres to the latest in security protocols so everyone stays safe AND productive. Businesses don’t need to provide BlackBerrys to ensure data is secure any longer. Say goodbye to the BlackBerry and hello to the future of enterprise mobility where apps are king and Apple is wearing the crown. For now…
*This post originally appeared in Business Computing World.
Let’s say you just got a spiffy new smartphone, which means that the line between your personal life and your work life just got erased. But the universe often seeks balance, so making your work life easier could make the IT department’s more difficult.
IT should see things from your point of view. You can now respond to your boss’ urgent e-mail request while you’re standing in your kitchen sautéing dinner tonight, and you can now flip through those last-minute changes in the overdue presentation on Saturday afternoon while you’re trying to cheer on your son’s losing soccer team. In other words, the world is now your office – adding as much as nine hours of productivity per week on average, according to some estimates.
Be gone, VPNs
But, since it’s your time now and not the company, you can’t be spending that time unlocking locks and climbing through tunnels to get the files you need. BYOD shouldn’t mean Bring Your Own Decoder just to get some work done on a ballfield on a weekend.
We’re looking at you, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Passwords, waiting to log in, tenuous connectivity to internal networks – these are so last century, when even seeing text on a screen that didn’t have wires coming out of it seemed like a luxurious novelty. And no sane person should be required to send around chain e-mail with various versions of attachments. You’re working on weekends, after all, and you need those files.
To be fair, you should see this New World from IT’s point of view. Let’s just say they are like Roman Centurions protecting the kingdom’s jewels from mobile intruders. They don’t want their most valuable treasures, like M&A documents or the new product roadmap, to leave the boundaries of the firewall — although that low-security To Do list for the website fixes is fine to go up on the cloud and that medium-security press release draft can live in the outside-firewall file server.
But while security is their first duty, so is making sure all the bridges are working for their troops, at least in this analogy. You may have a need for that inner-protected product roadmap, and IT needs to figure out how.
This is the age when individual departments adopt solutions from lots of places because the work needs them, replacing the memory of IT-as-your-master. Here’s where your point-of-view and IT’s sync up: You just want what you need, IT needs to give you what you want, and not everything wants to live in the cloud.
In making life easier for users, mobile devices shouldn’t be making life harder for IT or, when fast connectivity is not available, for you. A single platform, like Egnyte’s, can offer access to all of a company’s treasures, whether they’re behind a firewall, in a public/private/hybrid cloud, or available on a local server.
Once there’s a platform, the task is to segment what files go where. IT might treat files as if they were tagged by the colors of a stoplight. Some files are “red” and never go past the firewall, some are “green” and can go into the cloud, and some, the “yellows,” are actually in a gray area. Permission levels might be a quickest indicator, since files that everyone can see are likely to have a lower security level than files that only one or two people can.
“As long as you have permission, you should have access” could be the mantra of these new Centurions. We hear it sounds even better in Latin.
*This post was written by VentureBeat staff and originally appeared in VentureBeat.
Just when the hoopla of PRISM was beginning to subside, news of the NSA’s alleged program code-named “Muscular” breaks and executives at US-based cloud providers are reeling.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) estimates that PRISM will cost American cloud companies $22 billion to $35 billion over the next three years as businesses will move their business to foreign cloud providers. If that isn’t shocking enough, Forrester analyst James Staten noted that the ITIF estimates are too low and predicted the impact will be as high as $180 billion or a 25 percent hit to overall IT service provider revenues in that same timeframe. These estimates were shared before the Muscular program was brought to the public eye. It’s sure to get worse.
Muscular, if you don’t know, refers to the alleged NSA program disclosed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It taps into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world and sends this data back to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade. This includes content such as text, audio and video as well as “metadata” of who sent or received e-mails and when the emails were sent or received. It’s been reported that the NSA obtained 181 million records in one month alone. If it can be done to Google and Yahoo, it can be done to any cloud provider, too.
When the US government subpoenas customer data from a cloud provider, that cloud provider is prevented from letting the customer know that it has handed over its data to the government. The Muscular program is acquiring this data from outside the US, essentially eliminating the need to subpoena in the first place – a very convenient legal loophole. Now that we know about these two invasive programs, you have to wonder what other programs are out there that have not yet been exposed?
Is it time for companies to abandon the cloud? A recent study by IDG Research reported that three-fifths of companies believe that cloud file sharing has compromised their data security. Respondents also reported that 61% of all files would always need to be stored locally due to low confidence in the security of cloud-only storage methods.
While the cloud may seem to be more of a concern than ever before, companies don’t need to shy away altogether. They need to assess what goes to the cloud by using a simple data classification model, similar to traffic light colors: red, yellow, and green. Green data is the type of data that can freely move to the cloud since there won’t be an issue if this data is leaked or compromised. These files might include content such as sales collateral, presentations and other “safe” data. On the other hand, red data cannot move to the cloud due to security or privacy issues. Examples of this data might include financials, intellectual property, or M&A documents. Yellow data is somewhere in between and needs to be reviewed before touching the cloud.
Moving forward, PRISM and Muscular are bringing the cloud back into alignment similar to the dot-com bust in the early 2000s. Following the high-flying 90s, the market eventually realigned to reflect the reality of sustainable business models. Disclosure of these secret programs is now forcing a similar realignment for the cloud by reasserting the need for security and privacy when it comes to data.
It’s important to note that not all cloud companies expose your sensitive information. By separating the cloud service (the application that is running in the cloud) from where the data is stored (in the cloud or behind the firewall), the business benefits of the cloud and SaaS can be realized without running into privacy or security issues.
PRISM and Muscular are actually good for the cloud in the long run since they force companies to rationalize what data should be in the cloud and what data absolutely cannot go to the cloud. This way, the NSA or other prying eyes won’t be able to access your company’s secrets.
This post originally appeared in PandoDaily.
While on my flight to the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, a full cup of sparkling water ended up as a wave across my laptop keyboard. My laptop shutdown almost immediately and leaked out sparking water for the remainder of the flight. A passenger across the aisle actually said that it was good that it was sparkling water instead of regular water. I still don’t understand that comment.
Luckily, all of my files were in my Egnyte folder so they were synced to my account on the Egnyte Cloud File Server. I thankfully had my iPad with me to access those same files while I was at the event. My computer did finally boot up the next morning after spending the night in a bag of rice but eventually degraded to a point where it needed to be repaired.
Although all my files were backed up and later synced back from the Cloud File Server, we don’t really consider Egnyte a back-up solution. Even when customers sync data from an on-premise storage device in one location to the Cloud File Server and then back down to different on-premise storage devices in other locations, back up is really a means to an end with the end being file sharing, collaboration, and access.
Our booth at Gartner was located near two companies that came out with a desktop back-up offering first and then later added in access and sharing capabilities to the files that were backed up to the cloud. So a file-sharing company provides back up of desktop files and a desktop back-up provider enables file sharing and access of the backed-up files. I guess you could think of this as a “chicken or the egg” quandary if you just focus on the files that are on your laptop. But there are so many more files that are scattered throughout a company that employees need when working in the office or on-the-go.
This is why Egnyte has separated the file-sharing application plane from the underlying storage plane. This unique architecture provides a solution for all of the use cases that a business will eventually encounter:
Similar to desktop back-up:
- Desktop file sharing
- Desktop file access
- Desktop back-up
Beyond desktop back-up:
- Back-up of data residing in an on-premise storage device
- Private access to on-premise storage
- Cross-office collaboration
- Business continuity in the event an Internet connection is not available
Egnyte essentially provides a global namespace into all files in the company that the user has permission to access. The single view of files and breadth of use cases is simply not possible when you implement a solution where the application and the underling storage are hopelessly locked together.
So while some companies can provide a desktop back-up solution that enables sharing and access of those files that are backed up, why wouldn’t a business implement a complete file-sharing platform where desktop back-up is just one of the many use cases that you can implement?
It’s not because I work for Egnyte, but on a personal level, the Egnyte platform really saved me a huge headache when my computer went “swimming” on the airplane. My files were backed up and synced so I didn’t lose data or slow down my productivity. I simply hopped on a different device to access my files at the event and only had to worry about IT being unhappy with my unusable computer, rather than frantically trying to get the data restored on my laptop.
Employees are accessing corporate data from their personal devices at astonishing rates. In fact, 89% of employees’ mobile devices connect to corporate networks. This trend means that now, more than ever, companies need to stop procrastinating about addressing BYOD (bring your own device) and start implementing policies and solutions that will enable them to manage the deluge of new devices accessing business information.
BYOD is a plus for businesses as it can increase productivity up to nine hours per person per week – almost like adding an extra day to the work week! So what’s the hold up in BYOD adoption? Until now, businesses have been worried about security and privacy issues around mobile devices and cloud-base file-sharing, along with the complexity of setting up VPN access for all mobile devices employees may decide to use while working.
To eliminate these issues, we’re excited to announce new mobile apps that will enable companies to create and manage a secure perimeter stretching from users’ mobile devices to enterprise files stored behind the firewall, which eradicates all risks associated with BYOD in the workplace. These new mobile apps deliver the last mile of user access to files from any device and create an end-to-end perimeter where files from on-premise storage are encrypted on the mobile device and can be remotely wiped in case the device is lost or stolen.
These apps are fully integrated with our Storage Connect functionality to enable secure access from any device to any file regardless of where it’s stored – in the cloud or locally behind a firewall. The apps are available today for iPhone, iPad and Android for free download from the App Store and Google Play, respectively. Egnyte for Barnes and Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle are also available. More information and download links can be found here.
To underscore the BYOD market trend - and key issues that companies need to address in order to manage BYOD effectively – we’re also launching a new infographic on the current state of BYOD in the enterprise. This pulls together recent studies that illustrate the strong move toward mobile in 2014 and the importance of BYOD policies when it comes to employees accessing and sharing business-critical documents.