News / March, 2016

State and Local Governments in Indiana, Iowa Seek Flexibility Via File-Sharing Tools

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By Steve Zurier, StateTech Magazine

A few years ago, the Indiana Office of Technology had a problem: Employees were using cloud-based consumer file-sharing tools, but the agency needed an enterprise solution that offered more security.

Deputy Assistant IT Director Jason Reid says Indiana found a solution in the enterprise-grade Syncplicity service. Chosen for its flexibility, the tool enables the agency to run it as a client or through a browser. Users also have the option of restricting access to documents containing sensitive and personally identifiable information to within the firewall.

Many organizations now turn to enterprise file management tools to better secure sensitive documents and reduce the administrative burden of relying on email to transmit large documents. Enterprise products such as Box, Citrix ShareFile and and Syncplicity by Axway provide them with an easier way to share graphics-intensive files and video. While Box runs only in the cloud, many of these products offer both public cloud and private cloud options.

Reid says Indiana currently stores its Syncplicity by Axway data on a private cloud inside its firewall, but has 3,000 terabytes of storage available if and when it decides to run more of its file management operations in the public cloud.

“The ability to store the data on EMC storage inside our firewalls was a big deal for us,” Reid explains. “We just push the applications out via Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager and give each employee the option of how they want to run the client app.”

The results are powerful. Workers can move and share video files in Syncplicity by Axway folders without choking email traffic. IT staff can store and later share computer images in Syncplicity by Axway. And, Syncplicity by Axway also offers version control and the ability to set editor or read-only versions of a file.

Indiana has deployed Syncplicity by Axway to about 1,000 users thus far, and intends to equip as much as 40 percent of the staff with the new file-sharing tools over the next few years. “The collaboration opportunities are fantastic,” Reid says. “The Department of Natural Resources has people in remote locations sharing files in ways they never could before. And the Department of Finance staff shares documents between the field staff and our central location.”

Terri McClure, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, says IT departments were put in a bind when people started using consumer-oriented Software as a Service products such as Dropbox and the free version of Box.

“All of a sudden, organizations had corporate data on people’s personal smartphones and tablets, and it created security issues,” she says. “The industry responded by building products that had a central dashboard. They offered rudimentary control at first, and now the products have matured to offer more advanced security and rulemaking controls.”

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