Easy PDF Preview and Annotation with Egnyte
In every industry people work with PDF documents in one way or another. With about 2.5 trillion PDFs floating around in the world today (according to Adobe), the PDF has proven to be easy to use and economical in terms of document sharing and consumption.
However, despite their popularity, distributed teams that need to collaborate on PDF files often find it difficult to do so without adding unnecessary friction to their workflows. This is due to the inherent limitations of PDFs:
- Editing is not easy, unless you have access to a quality editor
- Signing a PDF is a manual scanning process unless you have third party eSignature software
- Lack of version control and tracking history
- Large file sizes translate to low upload/download speeds
To help companies tackle these challenges, Egnyte has created powerful tools that make viewing and editing PDFs much easier and more cost effective than ever before.
Egnyte’s embedded PDF viewer enables users to preview files in thumbnail and outline views to quickly navigate or bookmark a page or section of a page for future reference. The tool also allows for zoom, rotation, and page deletion.
Embedded search enables users to find relevant information instantly, without having to search through the entire PDF document manually, saving a significant amount of time and effort.
Marking Up PDFs
Once a PDF is opened in Egnyte’s Web UI, users will see an option called "Edit" in the native toolbar. This provides a menu of markup options that are similar to common Desktop PDF applications like Adobe Acrobat.
Users have access to 30+ annotation tools. They can highlight important information, underline relevant notes, strikethrough errors and add arrows or other shapes to draw attention to specific areas on the PDF. As these annotations are native to the PDF file format, users will see the same markups even when they access the file in other editing tools like Adobe Acrobat, FoxIt, and Bluebeam.
For example, assume a client needs to provide feedback on a brochure created by a design agency. With Egnyte, the client can highlight or add comments directly on the PDF brochure suggesting a change in the design or copy. The designer can then quickly view and work on the client’s feedback in real-time eliminating the need for multiple emails or time-consuming calls.
Whereas in the AEC Industry, project teams can create and annotate PDF files with project updates or markups on construction drawings. This saves a good amount of time and effort for AEC professionals as they can review and edit documents swiftly without navigating through multiple tools.
E-Signatures are an essential feature to authenticate important documents like agreements or contracts.
To add an eSignature in Egnyte, click on the "Insert" menu option in the toolbar. The "+Signature" button opens a new window to capture the signature and the user can either input their signature or upload it to sign in the location as prescribed in the document. The tool also saves the user’s signature of choice to simplify future document signings.
Forms are commonly used across industries such as AEC, FinServ, Healthcare, and Legal to capture and collect information such as construction application data, patient forms, financial statements and signatures on legal agreements.
Egnyte’s forms menu enables users to create a form directly in the PDF document. Using the "Add text" option in the toolbar, users can add and edit by right-clicking on the text and selecting the "edit" button to make the requisite changes.
To add input fields next to the text, select the fields menu, and choose the type of field needed such as text box, check box, radio button or signature.
Fields can be placed in a desired location, edited, resized, arranged or deleted as needed. Field properties (font size, background color etc.) can be modified based on the type of form field. Once the form is created, the user can preview it and save it for future use.
Contact Egnyte to gain access to the PDF Viewer and Annotation tool and start collaborating on PDF documents without the need to switch between various tools or platforms.
Move off On-Prem File Servers to Unlock New Capability and Cost Savings
While there continues to be (limited) debate about on-premises file servers and cloud file storage, the fight is over, and the cloud has won. If you are still in doubt, take a few minutes to review the limitations and costs of on-premises file servers as well as the benefits of cloud file servers.
Limitations of On-Premises File Shares
Insecure locations for storage
On-premises file servers are often stored in spare rooms in an office. It is common to find on-premises file servers in coat closets and copy rooms. These lack the protections that are de rigueur for cloud file storage (e.g., physical security, 24×7 monitoring, data encryption, two-factor authentication, intrusion prevention systems).
Heightened risk of data loss
With on-premises file servers, data is stored and backed up on internal servers. In the event of a disaster (e.g., flood, fire, theft) that impacts the facility where the file server resides, data could be permanently lost if the system is damaged or destroyed. Historically, this risk has been managed by rotating tapes to offsite storage or simply using a cloud repository as a backup. However, these solutions add additional cost.
When on-premises file servers are used for storage, internal IT teams are responsible for security. However, in most cases, these teams lack the security expertise and resources needed to provide protection that is as robust and effective as what is delivered by cloud file server providers. This includes everything from encryption and firewalls to access controls and monitoring systems.
Limited data backup
While some organizations that use on-premises file servers have some form of off-site backup, not all data is included in many cases. Because of costs, only portions of data are saved off-site. This leaves other data at risk if there is a device malfunction, ransomware, or another disaster that damages the on-premises server.
Inability to scale quickly
On-premises file servers are difficult to scale rapidly, requiring new hardware and IT resources to build, test, and deploy the new systems. This is costly and time-consuming. The resulting delays can negatively affect an organization, inhibiting it from reacting quickly to changing needs.
Difficulty with compliance
Most organizations are subject to some compliance requirements, and even the less stringent ones prove difficult for non-experts to manage. With on-premises file servers, systems must continually be adjusted to stay on top of changing rules. Failing to comply with regulations puts organizations at risk for fines and other penalties.
Lack of mobility
With an on-premises file server, remote access to your documents and data requires a VPN for secure access, which increases IT complexity and operational costs. In addition, a burst of users trying to access files from the on-premises file server can overwhelm VPN systems and create delays for users who need information.
Costs Associated with On-Premises File Servers
Setting up an on-premises file-sharing system requires capital investment for the equipment as well as for setting up a space with the appropriate power, climate controls, and security. In addition, special software is required for users to access the on-premises file servers, and VPN capabilities need to be set up for secure connections.
There are also costs for managing on-premises systems. IT resources are required not just to set these systems up, but also to provide users support and stay on top of updates, repairs, replacements, and manage backups.
Costs related to on-premises file servers—at a glance
- Hardware (e.g., physical servers, cables, spare parts)
- Off-site backups
- Security tools
- User support
- Various licenses
Indirect or hidden costs
- Climate control systems
- Compensation for IT teams
- Cost of downtime
- Depreciation of the hardware and software
- Disaster recovery systems
- Powering servers 24/7
- Set up, configuration, and ongoing upgrade costs for servers and networks
- Storage space used for the servers
Advantages of Cloud File Storage
Good news! Cloud file storage is a great alternative to on-premises file servers. This purpose-built solution has been designed specifically to solve the problems associated with on-premises file servers. Below are several of the many benefits of using cloud file storage.
Adherence to compliance regulations
Cloud file storage providers have teams with compliance certifications and expertise in key industries, such as healthcare, government (e.g., federal, state, local, international), finance, education, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Most also provide reporting to support compliance audits.
Secure access from any device at any location
Administrators can set up and enforce access controls according to organizations’ policies. Users can access files, based on permissions, from an office desktop, mobile device, or laptop, regardless of location.
Enhanced security and data breach protection
With cloud file storage, physical and virtual security is provided and managed by a team of experts with access to the latest solutions. Because of economies of scale, cloud file storage providers have teams of cybersecurity professionals dedicated to monitoring and updating all systems to quickly identify and mitigate threats as well as protect against vulnerabilities. Among the many security systems that are provided with a cloud file storage service are:
- Access control
- Application security
- Continuous validation
- Data redundancy
- Encryption for data in transit and at rest
- Intrusion detection
- Mass file deletion protection
- Network security
- Physical security
- Suspicious activity monitoring
- Threat monitoring
Managed backup and recovery
Cloud file storage providers have proven systems and processes to manage backup and recovery. This ensures protection from data loss, because they offer built-in redundancy, failover, and automatic backups.
No capital and facilities costs
With cloud file storage, there are no upfront capital expenses. The initial, large investment to purchase and install equipment is eliminated. In addition, the facilities-related costs associated with running on-premises file servers, such as cooling, floor space, and electricity to run the servers, are not required.
Cloud file storage allows organizations to scale nearly instantly based on changing needs. Scaling can sometimes be automated to optimize resource consumption and costs.
Cloud File Storage: The Better Choice
Modern organizations should have a file server system that is purpose-built for contemporary requirements. Antiquated on-premises file servers need to be mothballed or used for archives.
Cloud file storage is designed from the ground up to support the requirements of today’s organizations and distributed users. It also gives organizations the agility to adapt to the changing needs of today’s workforce quickly.
Why AEC Firms Struggle with Panzura (And What They Can Do About It)
The AEC industry is notoriously reliant on data - data that is housed in documents that support design through initial bid response and project build to post occupancy. Project teams employ everything from traditional Microsoft word documents and excel spreadsheets to extremely large industry specific files such as BIM, CAD, RVT, DWG, as well as point cloud data generated by 3D laser scanners and LiDAR - just to name a few.
So where should a firm turn when it comes to storing and sharing their most critical intellectual property?
For many, the default option is Panzura, a traditional on-premises file server solution often found deployed across large enterprises. After all, Panzura has been around for a long time, so it’s got to be a good solution, right? Yes and no. (More on this shortly).
Based on conversations with dozens of AEC firms who have made the switch away from Panzura as their file solution, this blog post explains why these solutions are not viable as a modern, cloud-first file server for design and construction firms (and why Egnyte is).
Here are some of the most common complaints we’ve heard from AEC companies who have tried using Panzura as their core file system before coming to Egnyte looking for a better solution.
Limited Cloud Capability
Panzura's original architecture is based on a traditional on-premises file server (storage filer) model which requires every location to have a local filer to achieve low latency and optimized storage. Each hardware box talks to each other, and one hardware box is designated as the “master. This model performs well for smaller organizations with a few sites, but does not scale well, and is much more expensive to operate. This model quickly becomes outdated as customers have to purchase big, expensive hardware boxes and buy it all upfront out of CAPEX.
Panzura has only recently moved to the cloud with their hybrid offering, CloudFS - in an effort to modernize their legacy storage offering and transform it into a cloud data management platform with features like file locking, ransomware resilience, and file snapshots for data recovery.
However, much of the legacy, on-premises file server DNA remains, and Panzura struggles with performing as a cloud-first solution, especially for businesses with distributed teams collaborating on large file types and that require fast and reliable access to working documents.
Lack of Co-Editing and File Sharing Controls
Panzura CloudFS users cannot co-edit files in Microsoft 365 Online, desktop MS Office apps or Google’s Workplace, limiting their flexibility to collaborate with team members in distributed locations and forcing them to toggle between applications to get work done. In addition, CloudFS relies on 3rd party tools to support advanced sharing controls like file requests and upload, link access notifications, and managing global link policies from a centralized dashboard.
Limited Data Security Management
While CloudFS can monitor and control access to files, it does not offer any advanced threat detection capabilities to proactively identify and mitigate risk of a breach. CloudFS also does not enforce MFA on external users, the lack of which often leads to compromised accounts. Nor can it manage and protect content stored in external data sources such as SharePoint Online, Box, Dropbox, Azure Storage and Gmail.
For more advanced data security capabilities like sensitive data discovery and classification and ransomware detection, Panzura relies on integrations with multiple 3rd party tools. Although these add-ons provide value, they often become a burden to manage, and add layers of complexity to the overall solution.
While CloudFS is a step forward for Panzura as a hybrid solution, it still struggles with functionality that pushes the boundaries of traditional, on-premises solutions. Its collaboration features lack the ability for distributed team co-editing, and the platform does not natively integrate with AEC specific applications such as Procore, Autodesk and Bluebeam. Its dependency on 3rd party tools to deploy advanced capabilities around data discovery, governance, data protection and classification makes the platform complex to manage and scale in the long-term.
In case you didn’t know, Egnyte has all these capabilities mentioned above in a unified platform - marrying everything that is good about on-premises files systems with all the advantages of the cloud. Don’t take our word for it. Contact us for a complimentary “Proof Of Concept” trial and see for yourself.
Learn more about Egnyte solutions built for the AEC industry at www.egnyte.com/solutions/construction-engineering
Modern, Secure Data Access with Egnyte and Salesforce
Every sales and marketing interaction — regardless of where it happens — generates data. Every note written on a salesperson’s computer and every contract or presentation that is uploaded into a CRM system produces valuable signals sales teams use to secure leads and close deals.
Managing and gaining access to all that data, at the critical moment in time when its needed, is not always easy - especially with large volumes of both unstructured and structured data comprising the full history of a particular account or prospect.
This blog explores some of the challenges associated with managing and accessing large data volumes, implications for revenue organizations, and how Egnyte’s integration with Salesforce is helping companies achieve more cost-effective, modern and secure access to critical account documents.
For many mid-sized organizations, its not uncommon to have millions of rows of data and documents inside their Salesforce deployment. Storage limits can quickly exceed limits, for which organizations are must make the choice between deleting records to free up space or purchasing additional storage.
Additional storage in Salesforce can cost as much as $125 per month for 500MB. For users that require access to this data - even those that are outside of the sales organization and may only need to view documents - Salesforce requires a dedicated license, adding another $25 per user, per month charge.
In addition to these cost implications, Salesforce’s file management system leaves a lot to be desired. Its search tools and version control features were not built with traditional file systems in mind, making it increasingly difficult for users to find what they need when they need it.
How does Egnyte Help?
Egnyte has partnered to build a secure API between the Salesforce cloud and the Egnyte cloud, so that account data is securely integrated between the two. This means that Salesforce users can directly access files stored in Egnyte from within the Salesforce application. And the same folders and files are also accessible directly through Egnyte’s UI. By storing those files in Egnyte, businesses gain immediate benefits:
- Document storage cost savings. While there is a small integration charge, you’ll save money every month on storage. Differences exist in pricing models between Salesforce and Egnyte, but its clear that the storage savings (Egnyte currently charges $350 for 1TB at the time of this post), is significant especially for companies with large volumes of data.
- Wider access footprint. All employees with access to the Egnyte repository also have access to the files, not just those with a Salesforce license. This means that more expensive Salesforce licenses can be reserved for your sales team, while supporting employees from finance, legal, service, and marketing departments can use the lower-cost Egnyte option.
- Advanced collaboration and sharing. Your sales team can more easily find and collaborate on contracts, share documents securely, and provide links for customers to upload documents. Users get the convenience of accessing files in a familiar way from the desktop as well as mobile devices for teams in the field.
As a secure file repository, there are additional benefits of storing files in Egnyte:
- Visibility and control over sensitive information
- Automated retention, archival and deletion policies
- Access controls
- Workflows for review and approval of documents
- Unusual behavior and malware detection
How It Works
Once the integration has been completed between your Salesforce account and your Egnyte account, your sales team will be able to access files from within Salesforce without leaving the application. At the bottom of a typical customer screen, an Egnyte window appears in the Salesforce interface as shown in the image below.
When setting up a new customer, you can use templates to establish standard folder structures as well as populating them with template files for your sales team use. Sales teams can access and store files for a customer with little to no training. More importantly, the integration allows your sales teams to securely share files with customers using Egnyte file sharing controls, like link expiration, watermarking, notification when opened, specific email recipients, and encryption. This is a valuable capability when sharing sensitive pricing quotes externally.
For your employees who don’t need access to Salesforce, they can still access the files by going directly to Egnyte. This allows users in other departments of the company to access files to support the sales process. For instance, finance and legal teams can collaborate on quotes, while service and support can review terms and delivery.
The Egnyte and Salesforce integration helps to streamline quote-to-cash workflows, and at the same time, saves money in storage and licensing costs for supporting personnel. With advanced Egnyte search capabilities, documents are at your teams’ fingertips, allowing them to respond more quickly and effectively, increasing customer satisfaction and accelerating revenue capture.
For more information, see our Salesforce Helpdesk Integration article. and contact your Egnyte representative for more information.
Setting Up a New eTMF Study in Egnyte
Egnyte’s eTMF allows you to assemble all the critical documentation related to your clinical trial so that you stay on track and audit-ready. Running your own eTMF gives you full visibility and control over data that is critical to the success of your company.
In this article, you’ll learn how to set up a new study in Egnyte’s eTMF app.
Why Use an eTMF App?
A TMF is really just a collection of documents - office documents, PDFs, emails, and the myriad documents that cover the conduct of your trial. So why not just store these on a file server?
Because using a purpose-built eTMF application allows you to stay on track and aligned to industry standards and timelines. You’ll be able to guide your team to collect the right documents at the right time and you’ll have the tools at your disposal to safely manage those documents, providing secure access to your team, your CRO(s), and auditors.
Setting Up a New Study in Egnyte?
Take the following steps to set up a study in the Egnyte eTMF app.
Step 1: Create the Study
The first step is to create a new study. Egnyte's eTMF app can support multiple studies, each with independent access permissions. When creating a new study you’ll need to provide a few details. Some of these are informational only, while others control how the eTMF is initially configured.
- The Study Name and Study ID will help you to identify the study in the app
- The Study Type and Investigator-Initiated Study options will determine which TMF artifacts (document types in the TMF Reference Model) will be selected by default for your study. The reference model has rules of which artifacts are “core” for different study types, and Egnyte builds that logic into the app to get you off to a good start.
- The Who can manage this level? option lets you specify an Egnyte user group who can be assigned as Study managers.
Step 2: Configure Required Artifacts
While the app preconfigures required artifacts based on the TMF Reference Model, you may want to modify the configuration to include additional artifacts, remove defaults, or even add custom artifact types.
Open the Artifact Configuration tab in the Study Configuration to choose which artifacts are required at the trial, country, and site-level. The app shows the reference model recommendations and allows you to filter and search the hundreds of artifacts to make your selections.
You can always come back to Artifact Configuration later if you change your mind on which artifacts are required for your study.
Step 3: Add Countries
The next step is to add the countries in which you will conduct your trial. You do this by first selecting the Trial in the Configuration screen and opening the Countries tab.
Use the Add a new country button to bring up the new country form and fill it out. Choose the country from the list and optionally fill out contact information. Repeat this for each of the countries.
You’ll notice that the study hierarchy is updated with the country codes for your selections. You can select a country in the hierarchy to update its settings and change permissions.
Step 4: Add Sites
Once your countries are set up, you can add your sites. The process is very similar to adding countries. This time you’ll select the country associated with the site in the study hierarchy and navigate to the Sites tab.
Use the Add a new site button to bring up the new site form and fill it out. Give a name and ID to the site and optionally enter contact information for the site. Repeat this for each of the sites in your study, making sure you enter the sites in the right country.
The study hierarchy will show each added site nested under its associated country. You can select the site in the hierarchy to update its settings and change permissions.
Step 5: Activate Your Study
The study, trial, countries, and sites are initially created in an inactive state. When one of these filing levels is inactive, it isn’t available to your end users and they won’t be able to upload documents or view status. This gives you an opportunity to set everything up fully before providing access to your users.
To activate the study or any of the filing levels in the study hierarchy, choose that item in the hierarchy and use the dropdown next to its name to change the status to active. The system will prompt you to provide a 21 CFR Part 11 compliant digital signature that will be tracked in the eTMF audit report.
Step 6: Activate Filing Level Milestones
The Egnyte eTMF app uses the TMF Reference Model Milestones as a way to track the progress for each filing level and determine which artifacts are needed at a given point in time. Before you can upload files you need to activate these milestones.
Choose Milestone Management in the left navigation and then select the relevant filing level. From here, you can choose a milestone and change its status from Inactive to Active. As with activating a filing level, you’ll need to provide a digital signature to proceed.
Start Using your eTMF
With just a few clicks, your study hierarchy is set up, artifact configurations defined, and milestones activated, and now you’re ready to start uploading documents to the eTMF App. Your users will see the lists of required documents for each filing level. They can upload files, while you track progress, search and view uploaded documents, and view audit history for all changes to ensure that your trial stays on track and inspection ready.
Top Considerations for Building a Lab-to-Cloud Workflow
Since March 2020, cloud adoption has accelerated at an unprecedented rate and across every industry. With the pandemic ushering in the work-from-home era, the ability of organizations to collaborate remotely has become paramount, placing a higher-than-ever premium on cloud technology.
This shift to the cloud has taken different forms for different industries. For life science organizations, one example is the enormous volumes of clinical data generated in lab settings that need to be shared globally to cloud-based repositories, and made accessible to myriad remote stakeholders. Any organization hoping to extract immediate value from this data is tasked with building a lab-to-cloud data workflow that is scalable, has integrity, and allows for granular control and oversight of valuable clinical data.
Here are some critical considerations for organizations building lab-to-cloud workflows.
Have You Established the Scope of Your Data Validation?
Clinical research today involves mountains of data from a wide variety of sources. Much of that data must be validated when uploaded to the cloud. But some of it does not – and it’s up to each organization to determine what data to include in their validation efforts.
On the one hand, if an organization fails to validate enough of its data, they risk compliance violations and compromised data integrity. On the other hand, validating data that doesn’t need it constitutes a highly inefficient use of resources, which can slow progress and extend trial timelines.
How will you set parameters around what data does and doesn’t need validation? How will your lab-to-cloud workflow provide visibility to separate the two categories easily? These are critical questions for organizations to answer as they move from paper-based or on-premise electronic data management to the cloud.
Are All of Your Teams on the Same Page?
Building an effective lab-to-cloud workflow is a multi-team process. But distrust among teams at life science organizations is a pervasive issue that can seriously undermine progress toward smooth adoption.
As just one example: Many life science organizations have seen tensions build between their IT and QA teams when creating their lab-to-cloud workflows. IT accuses QA of not fully appreciating cloud technology's complexities; QA responds by accusing IT of failing to grasp the breadth and nuance of compliance considerations. This tension produces negative downstream outcomes for the entire organization, from regulatory risks, extended trial timelines, and poor data integrity.
Before making concrete decisions about how to approach cloud adoption – what vendors to partner with, what workflows to implement – ask yourself: Are my IT and QA teams on the same page and working toward a common goal? If not, what do I need to do to change that?
Are You On Top of Data Control Issues?
Central to data integrity in the cloud computing era are two fundamental questions:
- Who can access and control the content you’re storing in the cloud?
- Where are you storing your data, and how does that change based on factors such as its type or access permissions?
These issues are often overlooked but will only become more pressing as cloud adoption progresses across the life sciences. To address them, organizations must ensure that their lab-to-cloud workflows include concrete standards around data access permissions and storage practices. At stake is their ability to uphold data integrity and compliance when collaborating remotely.
Building Your Lab-to-Cloud Workflow
This article has posed several questions organizations must consider when building their lab-to-cloud workflows. Nathan McBride, former Vice President of IT at Affinivax, holds many of the keys to answering those questions.
During Egnyte’s recent Life Sciences Summit, Nathan shared a scalable, detailed, multi-level model for establishing data validation protocols, zeroing in on data that needs validation, and ensuring data integrity – all while strengthening data security – as you shift critical data workflows to the cloud.
Watch the recorded session for an up-close look at Nathan’s powerful model – and for concrete, actionable guidance on how you can build your lab-to-cloud workflow.
We’re Building a New CRM Integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 - Beta Coming Soon
Customers are the cornerstone of any company, which is why customer relationship management (CRM) tools have become essential for today’s digital enterprise. With this in mind, Egnyte is building out integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 as part of our ongoing efforts to extend our CRM integrations.
Egnyte’s Dynamics 365 integration will soon be available in beta mode and is part of our ongoing efforts to align with Microsoft tools. We currently offer integrations with Microsoft’s Office 365, Teams, Power Automate, and SharePoint.
Egnyte for Dynamics 365 provides a central location to manage and organize all CRM-related documents and records. Egnyte users can upload, access, and share CRM files and folders directly from their Egnyte web interface, which is embedded within Dynamics 365 accounts. This eliminates the challenges of having multiple documents in different places and allows for easy collaboration for those inside and outside the organization.
This integration not only allows for easy content management, but enhanced security and increased storage capacity. It also helps companies save money. One of the reasons Egnyte built integration with Salesforce CRM years ago was that Salesforce storage costs were often redundant due to Engyte’s storage offerings.
With Egnyte and Dynamics 365, organizations can:
- Give sales teams anytime, anywhere access to the files they need through the Egnyte Web interface, which is embedded within the Dynamics 365 environment.
- Enhance collaboration by sharing Egnyte files and folders from Dynamics 365, even with those who don’t have a Dynamics 365 license.
- Easily organize client files with Egnyte folders created for each Dynamics 365 lead, opportunity, and customer record.
- And more
Our Dynamics 365 integration is yet another step toward helping our customers build a powerful, collaborative, and secure platform, designed specifically for their business.
To learn more about the Egnyte and Microsoft partnership, please click here.
Check back to see when you can try out Microsoft Dynamics.