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It seems like everyone has their own content creation suites these days. Microsoft has Office365 in the cloud alongside SkyDrive. Google has Google Apps and Google Drive. Box even announced BoxNotes this week. Employees require instant access to data for sharing and collaboration, but is this “walled garden” approach the best option for the enterprise?

Employees use all kinds of apps for different purposes. This is certainly the case with industries that deal with specific software programs such as multimedia and CAD-CAM. For example, take an advertising or media company. Employees will probably use Microsoft Office for publishing on Word or PowerPoint, Google Apps for collaboration projects, and multimedia apps for video, print, etc. Due to  the large file sizes, multimedia apps and files have to be stored on-premises, which exposes the large file size issue of cloud services.

security, GCSThe requirement to use different types of content creation apps that all exist in different places (on-premises, SaaS, or in a suite) creates a need to break down the walled gardens that end-to-end suites have become. It is always fascinating to me how history tends to repeat itself. These cloud suites remind me a little of the mainframes of the past where everything was delivered by the mainframe vendor, and it became best-of-suite vs. best-of-breed. The era of client-server hit and changed everything. Have vertically-integrated cloud stacks become the cloud mainframes of our time? This remains to be seen, but these suites have certainly created walled gardens for both users and IT.

Users need to have a single view of their files regardless of whether a file is storage in an on-premise NetApp storage device, in Google Drive, or stored on a hard drive. In the case of a user in advertising and media, this could be a Word doc on a Mac, a Google Spreadsheet, and a video file that resides on a NetApp device. The user should be able to see every work file without having to go to three different places to see these files. Similarly, IT needs to have the same ability to enforce access permissions and have auditability regardless of where files are stored.

At Egnyte, we’re breaking down the walled garden by enabling users to bring the content creation suite of their choice into the workplace. We’re providing a single view into all these documents so users don’t have to worry about visiting multiple places to see the corresponding files. With all the security concerns around cloud, we’re also focused on providing the same security policies and visibility independent of where the files are stored.

So even though history may look back at this time and compare it to the mainframe era, at Egnyte, we are quite happy with the abundance of content creation vehicles, especially those that create a walled garden — the more walled gardens the better.  We’ll continue to break down the walls of these gardens to provide simplicity for users and control for IT.

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