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Background. Oxygen Cloud was founded in 2010 to offer security-conscious collaboration to the enterprise. Its founders knew the silo effect of location-centric file storage, and how difficult it was to manage and security share files in restricted storage environments. Oxygen developed Oxygen Cloud with users and IT in mind: usability and easy file access for users, and security and flexible control for IT.
Technology. Oxygen Cloud is built with three major components: Open Authentication Connector and Storage Connector virtual appliances, and Application Management Service. Authentication Connector integrates with AD or LDAP for user authentication. The Storage Connector builds private cloud features into on-premise file or object storage; Oxygen users may also use a variety of remote cloud architectures.
- Scalability. Oxygen Open Storage Grid is the scalable architecture that provides massive cloud storage. It supports both hybrid and purely on-premise models. Oxygen delivers its application from the cloud but does not touch the data. If customers use the cloud for storage they have the cloud’s scalability advantages. Oxygen’s application uses cloud computing to provide very high scale build-outs using Amazon S3, IBM SmartCloud and additional cloud providers. Users may choose a private cloud component for a hybrid environment or an entirely private cloud storage.
- Security. Oxygen encrypts data at movement and at rest. When an authorized user requests a file Oxygen delivers a copy of the file encrypted for that individual. The data is containerized on the mobile device. Oxygen uses AES-256 for files and SSL for transport.
- Control. Oxygen Sync and Mobile Sync synchronize files across multiple endpoints. IT retains access to containerized data on user devices. Note that Oxygen is not an MDM provider and does not install an application or platform on the device. IT can access very granular access controls and also group level controls for large numbers of users.
- Usability. Users familiar with highly simplified consumer-level file-sharing want a similar level of usability for their enterprise file-sharing application. Oxygen built its user interface to look like a simple drive on the computer desktop or the mobile device. But under the covers, the drive is the file-sharing control point, and every shared file is encrypted.
- Compliance. Oxygen has a robust set of compliance mechanisms. Its native auditing feature includes a real-time feed into corporate audit log systems. Oxygen also offers customizable policies such as logging out an inactive device. If the user does not login within a certain period of time the data becomes inaccessible on that device. The vendor also offers governance control based on industry or national compliance needs such as privacy or geographical data locations.
Differentiator. Oxygen presents itself as a cloud drive, not a separate application or portal. Authorized users can access content from any device while IT retains control and governance. Unlike some other vendors who either push out files on a schedule or sync upon user access, Oxygen presents a reference to the file that appears as if it were the file to the user. The user chooses when to sync the file. Its audit feed technology is particularly valuable to enterprise governance.
Additional File Collaboration Vendors
Box. Box hosts the application and customer data in secure data centers. It offers file-sharing and syncing, and also integrates with SaaS offerings and major enterprise applications, including Salesforce.com and MS Office, as well as leading ECM systems. Box learned an expensive lesson early on: developing a product for users who work for large companies does not mean that IT will be forced to adopt the product. Box had to develop better scalability, security, application integration and mobile and AD support to get anywhere near enterprise IT. Their development dollars paid off in Box Enterprise.
Cisco. Cisco is expanding its WebEx service delivery platform to include social media support with WebEx Social. Cisco does not host user data but offers the transition point for sharing data. The file types they can share are limited and require the File Share tool so users can download documents. They do provide strong mobile device support and maintain a strong emphasis on security and mobility.
CTERA. CTERA Cloud Attached Storage is a hybrid data protection product that operates from on-premise or cloud-side delivery platform. It provides centrally administered backup from ROBO sites to a remote data center and/or to the cloud. They are best known in mid-market but have added enterprise support for file sync and share using private cloud infrastructure. The product provides large file transfers, secure access for mobile devices, and file syndication. CTERA integrates with AD/LDAP services for user access management. User files are automatically synchronized between user devices and user cloud folders.
IBM Connections. IBM Connections Suite is a UC platform with content management features. Its file-sharing capabilities are specific to Connections platform usage, similar to Cisco’s WebEx. IBM Connections Suite provides online meetings with IBM Connections and Connections Content Manager, IBM Sametime Advanced and an IBM telephony client. IBM Content Manager supports team collaboration by building document libraries for sharing communities. Members can access and check out files, assign “Likes” to them, and share or lock them against other changes. Connections Mobile supports mobile access.
SkyDox. SkyDox is an enterprise-level cloud file-sharing and collaboration vendor. SkyDox provides a secure collaboration workspace for teams including online storage, file access and sharing, and collaboration controls. It includes numerous file types and version control as well as file sync. User permission levels control who is allowed to comment on documents or to view them. IT uses a centralized account management console to manage user access and rights, file-sharing settings, and audits. SkyDox supports a broad range of mobile devices including iOS and Android along with Blackberry, Palm, and Windows and Nokia phones.
Taneja Group Opinion
EFC vendors must spend the resources to educate enterprise IT. BYOD issues and security concerns are the hooks; enterprise-scale file collaboration is the solution. Focus on the dangers of uncontrolled personal device proliferation for security, governance, and information management. Follow up with EFC product problem solving and value-added features such as enterprise search and expanded collaboration for business value.
Concentrate on meeting the five factors as the mark of an industry leader and differentiate your messaging in a crowded market. For example, some EFC products with robust private cloud support are optimized for financial services, while others are excellent at smoothly replacing consumer file-sharing products throughout a large mobile workforce. Know your differentiation and communicate it to an educated IT audience.
Understand how to sell into the enterprise. Startups in particular are hampering themselves by being unwilling to pay for the resources for long sales cycles. Vendors run by seasoned executives know this, but other vendors do not. The ones who don’t get it are some of the coolest new product companies around, and they can stay cool until they are summarily acquired or close their doors forever.
There is a huge amount of opportunity in this swiftly changing field. EFC vendors can relieve file-sharing pain, give users device freedom and grant IT real control. They can do this securely and with scalability. Vendors must remember that individual users may open the door to file-sharing products, but enterprise IT signs the deal. EFC vendors must be prepared for enterprise requirements for scalability, usability and governance, and for innovative technology within a highly secure environment. They must also be prepared for the length of the enterprise sales cycle and must invest in R&D and marketing accordingly. The more education and investment that vendors undertake at this stage the more their efforts will pay off.
NOTICE: The information and product recommendations made by Taneja Group are based upon public information and sources and may also include personal opinions both of Taneja Group and others, all of which we believe to be accurate and reliable. However, as market conditions change and not within our control, the information and recommendations are made without warranty of any kind. All product names used and mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. Taneja Group, Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever (including incidental, consequential or otherwise), caused by your use of, or reliance upon, the information and recommendations presented herein, nor for any inadvertent errors that may appear in this document.