Cloudtenna's lightweight enterprise Dropbox alternative

Dropbox and Box are convenient tools for sharing files. But IT pros are right to worry about the security of enterprise data. Cloudtenna thinks they've solved the problem. Here's how.

With weekly reports of large data breaches, IT pros are naturally leery of allowing critical company data to move to fat hacker targets like cloud storage companies. But in a mobile world users will do what it takes to have access despite IT's qualms.

That's where Cloudtenna comes in: they enable any device to access all the data you are allowed to at the office, while being anywhere, without compromising data security.

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How?

Cloudtenna's software scoops up your file server's metadata - not the files - and stores it in the cloud. Users can search for files from anywhere, on any device, and when they find the ones they want, they download them directly from the company's file servers over a secure SSL connection. No sending corporate data through 3rd party servers.

This has several advantages:

  • There's no data migration to a public cloud or to a special private cloud, such as with Oxygen Cloud or Egnyte.
  • Metadata is a fraction of the size of files, so storage and - more importantly - network costs are much reduced.
  • All of your corporate security apparatus - firewalls, ACLs, ActiveDirectory and LDAP servers - is preserved.
  • Set up is 30 minutes.

Evolution

With 20/20 hindsight, Cloudtenna's model is obvious. But 8 years ago, when the first consumer cloud storage services started appearing, it seemed reasonable to stick all your files in the cloud.

Now, of course, we know about the security issues, the network costs, the migration problems. By moving just metadata, Cloudtenna has developed a lightweight way to easily share data without the heavyweight set up costs of moving terabytes to a public or private cloud.

The Storage Bits take

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about "first mover advantage" but being first is often a disadvantage. Alta Vista and Yahoo got rolled by Google. MySpace and Friendster were ahead of Facebook, but not for long.

Dropbox showed people how helpful cloud storage could be, but their model doesn't scale for the enterprise. It looks like latecomers such as Cloudtenna are significantly enhancing the enterprise Dropbox model by making it easier and cheaper - always good things.

Comments welcome, as always.

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