Cloud firm Egnyte has announced a file-sharing appliance called Storage Connect it hopes will appeal to organisations that don’t feel comfortable transferring and storing sensitive files using cloud data centres.
The sales pitch is that Storage Connect functions as part of a ‘PRISM prevention program’, an angle that hooks into worries over who can access files once they leave the firewall and whether data might be exposed by unofficial ‘shadow’ cloud services such as Dropbox.
Egnyte describes the most sensitive files as being ‘red data’ which the Storage Connect virtual appliance makes it possible to keep within the firewall by brokering access to and organisation’s storage area network. Users access files using an encrypted channel to the device (including an Android or Apple mobile) that offers better performance that a conventional VPN, Egnyte said.
No sensitive data or metadata was transferred to or through Egnyte’s cloud while access to files could be governed using credentials defined through and organisation’s Active directory setup. Files could also be shared using password-protected links with expiration dates.
“Whether due to concerns about privacy, security, intellectual property, or M&A, businesses want a way to combine the simplicity and ease of use associated with cloud-file sharing with the security and privacy of their own infrastructure,” said Egnyte CEO, Vineet Jain.
According to Jain, an IDG survey carried out for Egnyte found that 60 percent of firms believed that file-sharing behaviour had compromised their data with the same number also believing that important files would always need to be stored within the firewall to be secure.
“Our PRISM Protection Program provides business with everything they need to detect cloud-only file sharing services that introduce risk into their company. It also offers a simple yet secure way of accessing and sharing those files from their existing infrastructure that are too sensitive to be shared via the cloud,” said Jain.
Despite the PRISM tag, the service will probably appeal as much for its performance benefits than any worries that an external actor such as the NSA might be accessing files. One objection to the topology is that it mimics a conventonal storage system. If files are not in the cloud then what is the innovation? Egynyte's answer is that it allows organisations to make these files available while using the cloud for less sensitive forms of data at the same time.
Earlier this year, Oxford University’s technology transfer office ISIS Innovation announced it has started using Egnyte’s cloud to manage intellectual property channelled from 79 different spin-off startups. Egnyte launched its hybrid cloud in 2012.