September 24, 2013   |   by Syncplicity Team

Connect to Active Directory for Free Using Okta

Change happens. Especially when it comes to employees.  That’s why deploying enterprise sync and share at scale requires robust identity management capabilities, and these capabilities need to work with your existing security and IT infrastructure. With that in mind we are announcing our latest partnership with Okta, one of the market leaders in SaaS Identity Management.

As the Sync and Share solution for the Enterprise, these are the types of challenges that Syncplicity helps solve for companies worldwide. As the number of users increases, Identity Management becomes increasingly more critical. That is why we have partnered with market leaders in Identity Management. 

Our latest partnership is with Okta, one of the market leaders in SaaS Identity Management. We have worked with Okta to provide our customers with a free integration that connects Syncplicity to Active Directory and LDAP. Okta makes it easy for IT to manage user accounts with account provisioning, de-provisioning, and delegated Single Sign-On via SAML.  

With Okta, additions, removals, and changes to user accounts made in centralized company directories like Active Directory are synchronized with Syncplicity.  This makes turning off a user account and remotely wiping data from that user’s devices as automatic and universal as turning off access to an intranet site. When an employee leaves and their Active Directory user account is deleted, their corresponding Syncplicity account can be deleted and any corporate data on the employee’s devices will be remote wiped – automatically. 

It’s Free and Simple (Syncplicity + Okta)
Okta is offering Syncplicity customers a free solution for connecting directly to Active Directory making user management seamless and secure.  Okta connects Syncplicity to Active Directory and LDAP making account administration easy and secure. 

  • Provision and de-provision users
  • Deactivate / delete accounts
  • Roll out Sycnplicity in phases to groups of users
  • Map Syncplicity account provisioning to Active Directory groups to make it easier to manage licensing and resources.

It’s Easy to Get Started
Set-up a free account today with Okta at www.okta.com/syncplicity. Once you have your account, you simply provide it with a Syncplicity application key and complete a  simple configuration process.

Stay tuned for even more identity management features from Syncplicity coming soon!

September 16, 2013

When the Disrupted Become the Disruptors

Conventional wisdom holds that the consumerization of IT is going to take over virtually every market and that the entrenched enterprise vendors are in big trouble. This is no more apparent than in file sync and share where it is suggested that the new kids on the block are going to own the market at the expense of the establishment and that the needs of end users will trump those of enterprise IT.

However, as someone who is in the trenches of this market every day, it is obvious that this is an overly simplistic view and ignores a number of truisms of enterprise user and IT requirements that aren’t going away.

Our view is that strategic and trusted enterprise technology vendors not only have a role in the future of end user computing, but that their customers are asking that we help drive this transformation for them. This takes innovation and risk-taking, but before I expand on that, a little background.

Reports of Enterprise IT's Death Greatly Exaggerated

Some vendors in this market are trying to be all things to all people, pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach. This assumes that users will simply adopt what they want and IT will be helpless to reverse the trend. In reality, enterprise IT is alive, well, and very much aware of what is occurring in the file sync and share market. And they are increasingly controlling the selection and usage of the services, which cannot be defined in singular or generic terms. Consumers, SMBs and enterprises have different requirements and success requires focus— it is practically impossible to serve the needs of all of these markets in the long term. In fact, end users have greatly different requirements – the needs of an individual that wants to share photos is very different from one who is sharing business-critical files.

The enterprise might be the trickiest market to solve because you are essentially going after two audiences – end users and IT - whose needs seem to always be in diametric opposition to each other. To succeed, you need to achieve a critical balance.

1. To be considered for enterprise deployments, you MUST have the blessing of IT.As the gatekeepers of technology deployments, they are never going to evaluate and bless solutions that touch a company’s most important asset – its information - without thorough compliance and security testing.

2. Getting 25 users in a small department in a Fortune 100 company to use your solution does not make you an enterprise solution or even make it easier to become the standard in a large company. The iPhone didn’t become an accepted enterprise device until it satisfied IT’s security concerns with email.

3. That said, enterprise IT knows that it needs to adapt and evolve. Users must love the enterprise file sync and share solution and have it become part of their work routine. If your IT department blesses the solution and no one uses it, then you have wasted your time and resources.

Disrupt But Don’t Break

While enterprise file sync and share has emerged as a critical service, for it to be embraced in the enterprise, it must disrupt old, inefficient ways of doing business, but not break either your IT infrastructure or your employees’ work habits.

1. Frictionless user experiences trump feature bloat. You cannot change the way people normally send, access, edit and save files – from any device on which they are working. File sync and share has to be an easy extension of what they are already doing on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, not a completely new paradigm.

2. Enterprises have spent billions of dollars on SharePoint, file servers, and other technologies to store content. Enterprises won’t solve the “silo problem” by spending billions more creating a new silo and assuming their customers will move everything there. That approach is the reason why we have so many silos to begin with! Any new solution must be an easy overlay to your existing systems – IT departments will not rip out and replace their existing investments.

3. Enterprises have an enormous IT and legal risk in meeting regulatory and security compliance. You must be able to support the compliance, data residency and security policies of the enterprise—and that means giving IT the flexibility to work within the existing security and compliance infrastructure they’ve already established. Do not force a new one on them. If you do, strike the word enterprise out of your product name.

With these rules in mind, how do existing enterprise vendors lead the way? Simply put, to avoid being disrupted they need to be willing to drive the disruption themselves. While clearly a consumer example, Apple did just that by releasing iTunes on the iPhone even though they had a significant franchise with the iPod. And it worked.

For file sync and share market, disruption means providing your customers flexibility. It means supporting and integrating with a wide range of cloud-based and on premise storage solutions. It means adopting business practices that are very different from the traditional enterprise technology approach, such as deploying key services in the cloud to maintain a high pace of innovation, pricing on a consumption model to better align with customer adoption, and making an inordinate investment in mobile apps and the end user experience.

For those of us who have been and remain completely focused on the enterprise, this is a very exciting time. We are demonstrating that IT gets what they need and can serve the needs of the business user. The result: the incumbents have a legitimate chance to drive the disruption in the market.

September 3, 2013

5 Ways to Transform How you Work

Syncplicity is being deployed in enterprises at massive scale. When we were first acquired Syncplicity, the user base and average size per account was increasing nicely. With the addition of on premise storage and many new enterprise features throughout 2013, we've seen a major leap in average deployment size. But it’s not just the sheer size of deployments that amazes me—it’s that file syncing and sharing is fundamentally changing the way large teams and organizations work.

Here are some ways... 

Access files anytime, on any device.
We depend on more devices than ever, and we need access to files on the go. Sync and share solutions make it easy…but not all of them are easy to use. Syncplicity provides access to files without having to drag-and-drop them to a special folder or upload them to a service. It provides access to the most recent file versions on all devices, with no extra steps.

Collaborate efficiently.
The most common collaboration system in use today is something wasn’t built for collaboration at all—email. It’s not secure, there’s no version control, and it’s difficult to keep track of documents. The truth is that collaboration is a continuous people-driven process, not a technology. With Syncplicity, sharing files is as easy as posting a picture on Facebook but provides the enterprise-grade security, version tracking, and file backup that people need.

Distribute files to a highly remote workforce.
For departments and project teams, the ability to distribute and update files is essential. For example, EMC uses Syncplicity to distribute presentations, sales training, partner enablement materials, and video assets. Our customers use it to share everything from product information in life sciences to standard operating procedures in manufacturing. Traditional portals aren’t good at file distribution; while it’s easy to post new versions of documents, users rarely keep current by downloading them, especially if they work from multiple computers and devices. Syncplicity streamlines this process and ensures that everyone’s files are up to date.

Send large files securely.
Files are getting larger—video, CAD, and even simple PowerPoints (our keynotes at EMC World were almost 100MB!). Email isn’t meant for sending large files, and FTP sites are complicated. Syncplicity recently added Secure Shared Links so you can send a file of any size from any shared folder with a simple click. You can also track who has downloaded the file and set permissions to ensure that it isn’t forwarded to competitors or other unauthorized users, which is critical for sales contracts, proposals, and other sensitive business information.

Protect your desktop documents and never miss a beat.
Most of us have desktop backup solutions in place but if your computer dies, how fast can you get back to full productivity? Syncplicity keeps files synched in real time, so when one computer goes down you can access your documents on a mobile device or instantly download them to a loaner machine.

The vast majority of business collaboration is free-flowing in nature and we need solutions that facilitate teamwork and enhance productivity. Enterprise-grade sync and share solutions, like Syncplicity, have evolved well beyond consumer-oriented features for sharing files, photos, and songs. They have become the new way we access, share, and collaborate across boundaries and have fundamentally changed the way we work.

The Syncplicity Team Authors

Brian W Levine

Sr. Director of Security and Compliance All by this author >

Doug Benson

Principal Product Manager All by this author >

Kristie Conner

Principal Product Marketing Manager All by this author >

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