Paramount Group Forges the Perfect Path to Managing Data in the Cloud
The firm sought a secure cloud-based solution with a great user experience to replace their on-premises file server. They found it in Egnyte.
Paramount’s On-Prem-to-Cloud Success Story:
100% user adoption
90%+ of files migrated into Egnyte
Easy, secure collaboration with AEC vendors and internal teams
Strong SEC audit readiness
“Egnyte is superior for sensitive content detection, detecting ransomware, collaborating on files, user experience, and the rest — full stop.”
SVP, Chief Information and Technology Officer • Paramount Group
As the owner of signature commercial properties on both the East and West Coasts, Paramount, a leading real estate investment trust, is responsible for storing, managing, and reporting on terabytes of real estate records at any given time.
Partnering with Egnyte, Paramount seamlessly migrated their files from an on-premises file server to a cloud-hosted solution fit to handle these large volumes of complex data. As a result, they realized benefits in security, collaboration, and regulatory reporting — all while maintaining a top-notch user experience.
Challenge: Large Content Volumes Require Cloud-based Efficiencies
Managing Paramount’s real estate portfolio involves a lot of complex record-keeping. “When you own a two-million-square-foot building, there’s a lot going on,” comments Todd Januzzi, SVP, Chief Information and Technology Officer at Paramount Group. “There are multiple cell providers and internet providers in the building, and we keep all of those license agreements. We also keep every closing document, lease, invoice, insurance document, and SEC document, to name a few.”
To store these documents, Paramount relied on an on-premises file server. But storage was just one part of the equation—the team also needed to share and collaborate on files with internal and external stakeholders, control access to the information the files contained, and give regulators visibility into the content lifecycle.
Januzzi started looking for a cloud-hosted replacement for the on-premises server, with a particular focus on:
Security and access controls
The team tried several cloud-hosted solutions, including Box, ShareFile, and Microsoft OneDrive — all of which fell short. “These systems were often tough to administer, and the performance was poor,” explains Januzzi. “Syncing was slow and confusing; people would inadvertently be looking at outdated versions of files because the current version hadn’t yet synced from their desktops to the cloud.” The team also struggled with the cloud-hosted systems their partners were using, particularly in the AEC space. “Our AEC partners tend to live and die by Dropbox,” Januzzi says. “The only problem is that most of the phishing campaigns we’ve seen are from Dropbox. So we didn’t feel comfortable with that either.”
Solution: Full Control and a Smooth User Experience with Egnyte
During a front-to-back test of Egnyte’s functionality, Paramount discovered that the system outperformed other cloud solutions across the board, especially in their highest-priority areas:
Security and access controls Given the sensitivity of Paramount’s content, it’s essential that their system provide control over who can access content and how. Egnyte empowered Paramount to set access permissions at a highly granular level, controlling who could view, modify, and delete files — all while virtually eliminating reliance on IT. As Januzzi explains: “We love that Egnyte enables the owner of a folder to grant rights to that folder versus putting in a support ticket to have an IT administrator do it. We have a small IT staff, so this is a really powerful time- and effort-saver.”
Collaboration Facilitating seamless remote collaboration was essential for Paramount. “We work with a lot of AEC vendors on plan work and architectural submissions, which require input from attorneys, IT consultants, property managers, and others,” explains Januzzi. “With Egnyte, we don’t have to send Word documents to a dozen people over email and make new versions each time something is changed. We can all work off one version, which updates in real time, and which we can share via secure links.”
User experience Egnyte appeared on Paramount’s servers as a mapped drive letter, just like their previous on-premises system, easing the learning curve and allowing the team to preserve the workflows they were accustomed to. “While it’s much more secure and efficient, the experience in navigating the system is actually similar to on-prem,” explains Januzzi. “The user experience as a whole with Egnyte is second to none. Whether you’re using a file explorer environment or web or mobile, it’s totally seamless.”
Once the team decided to move forward with Egnyte, it was easy to migrate their files from the previous system. “Egnyte’s migration tool is the best I’ve seen,” says Januzzi. “And onboarding is super quick and easy. When a new user comes in, the system automatically pushes them into the content drives they need to access, via an integration with Okta.”
Benefits: Happy Users, Easy Data Management, and Audit Readiness
When Paramount Group launched with Egnyte, they had 5 terabytes of data on their local drive. Since then, the team has migrated 90% of those files into Egnyte and are full-speed-ahead on completing the migration. All the while, Egnyte has delivered a user experience that has resulted in swift, 100% platform adoption among the Paramount team.
Januzzi explains how the user experience has made it easier to manage Paramount’s large and growing portfolio: “With Egnyte, we can create a standard, templatized folder structure and apply that to every building we buy. Every building is different, but this allows us to manage the related documents the same way. So if a property manager switches from one building to another, they don’t have to get acquainted with a whole new file structure. This is huge for owners of multiple properties like us.”
All-In on Egnyte
As for whether Paramount would consider other leading content management systems, Januzzi doesn’t mince words: “We do not allow Dropbox at Paramount, only Egnyte,” he says. “Egnyte is superior for sensitive content detection, detecting ransomware, collaborating on files, user experience, and the rest — full stop. A lot of AEC vendors will send us a Dropbox link, and we’ll have to tell them, sorry, but to work with us, you’ll have to use Egnyte.”