Network Coverage Guides JMA to Smooth, Secure Collaboration Workflows
After switching from a local file server to Egnyte’s cloud solution, JMA’s dispersed team can share and access construction files without headaches.
Key features and benefits of the Egnyte system:
Security and governance
File-sharing via secure links instead of email attachments
Seamless integration with Newforma
“The companies we work with want to know that we’re at the forefront of technology, and can finish projects on time and under budget. By setting us up on Egnyte, Network Coverage has enabled us to provide that assurance.”
Information Technology Manager • John Moriarty and Associates
For the construction management firm John Moriarty and Associates (JMA), effective collaboration is the key to success. The firm’s myriad projects depend on the ability of multiple stakeholders, in offices and in-the-field sites across the country, to share and co-edit large construction documents quickly and at any time.
With the support of their managed service provider, Network Coverage, JMA implemented Egnyte to manage and collaborate on these files, moving away from an on-premises file server hosted by Windows. As a result, they neutralized a host of challenges in data capacity, version control, cybersecurity, and beyond.
Challenges: Local File Server Hobbles Remote Collaboration
JMA typically tackles large, intensive projects such as high-rise residential buildings or complex healthcare facilities. Large construction projects involve large construction documents, with multiple dispersed stakeholders making frequent updates to files as projects progress. “We’ll have construction workers and architects in the field, as well as folks in the office, all collaborating on massive, 400-page building plans,” explains Ted Neary, Information Technology Manager at JMA. “When we were using a Windows file server, any time a field worker needed to access a file or view an update, they would have to go to the on-site trailer to either make their updates or connect to the Windows system via VPN to get the updated version. It was a real time suck.”
Eventually, between the proliferation of file versions and the sizes of the files themselves, storage capacity on the Windows system became a concern. “We were constantly having to work with JMA to invest in more infrastructure and storage hardware,” says Eric Tomah, Chief Information Officer at Network Coverage.
Even worse, the Windows server provided no way for the team to exchange files between the office and in-the-field workers—a frequent necessity in a collaboration-intensive industry like construction management—other than via email attachments. This was both impractical given the enormous file sizes the team worked with, and unacceptable from a security perspective. “The size of the attachments through emails was really limited,” comments Neary. Tomah adds: “If a subcontractor or a worker in the field needed a document from the office, they’d have to receive it as an attachment, download it locally, and open it. This was really time-consuming, and posed a big security risk, as you’re basically at the mercy of your email provider and whatever encryption they do, or don’t, have.”
Solution: Replace Windows with Egnyte’s Cloud-Based Solution
JMA met with Network Coverage to explore a cloud-based alternative to Windows, one that could facilitate smooth and secure collaboration without capacity and versioning roadblocks. “We met with JMA regularly to provide strategic guidance in areas like technology and cybersecurity,” says Tomah. “Through these dialogues, it became clear that Egnyte, a solution we’d vetted for years and recommended to other clients, was best suited to address the issues JMA was facing.”
“We actually interviewed a number of Network Coverage’s other clients to see how they like Egnyte,” adds Neary. “They all spoke glowingly about it.” Network Coverage played a strong role in getting JMA set up on Egnyte, leading the team through planning and implementation and providing post-migration support.
Once the team was up and running, they leveraged several key aspects of Egnyte’s functionality to facilitate efficient, secure collaboration:
Security and governance As files moved among project stakeholders, the team knew they would need to take steps to prevent in-transit cyberattacks and data loss. “We introduced Egnyte’s security and governance features as part of our loss prevention strategy,” comments Tomah. “This provided alerts into potential threat actor activity. Egnyte handled all of the administration, infrastructure, updates, and availability, and it’s all centralized in the cloud, so we weren’t beholden to potentially faulty hardware.”
Link sharing With their files stored in the cloud, JMA could now share and access content via password-protected links, relieving their local data storage capacity challenges and eliminating their reliance on bulky email attachments. File updates automatically synced to the cloud, so that each link always showed the latest version. “With Egnyte, the ability to send links directly to subcontractors gets rid of the limited email attachment problem,” explains Neary. “If field workers need to look at, say, one specific office on the 30th floor of a skyscraper, they can pull the plan up instantly on their iPads, rather than wait for an email attachment that might be out of date by the time they get it. That’s just huge.”
Integration Like many firms in their field, JMA included the construction software provider Newforma as an integral part of their tech stack for sharing, accessing, and managing documents. Network Coverage worked with the Product teams at both Egnyte and Newforma to integrate the two platforms using Egnyte’s Public Cloud Connector. As Tomah explains: “This allowed Egnyte to function as a storage provider for Newforma, which offered a lot of flexibility in how JMA accessed the data they needed.”
“With Egnyte... JMA is much better protected against data exfiltration and can have peace of mind when sharing data internally and externally.”
Chief Information Officer • Network Coverage
Benefits: Better Collaboration and a Stronger Competitive Position
Under the guidance of Network Coverage, JMA has leveraged Egnyte to collaborate more efficiently, ensure data security, and strengthen their reputation among their clientele. “With Egnyte’s security and governance features, not to mention their reporting, auditing, and permissions management functionality, JMA is much better protected against data exfiltration and can have peace of mind when sharing data internally and externally,” says Tomah.
“Having a way for people in various geographic areas, both in the office and in the field, to share files and quickly access the latest version is critical for a distributed company like ours,” Neary adds. “It’s now so much easier for our offices in Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and all over the country to collaborate in real time, without anything getting lost in transit.”
This has put JMA in a strong position to take their business to the next level. “The kinds of companies we work with want to know that their construction management firm is at the forefront of technology, and can finish projects on time and under budget,” explains Neary. “By setting us up on Egnyte, Network Coverage has enabled us to provide that assurance.”
Asked what advice he has for other companies in his field, Neary needed only a few words: “If you’re worried about data access or security, use a system like Egnyte to get your data off your basement servers and into the cloud. Your life will be much easier.”