Accellion tackles secure mobile content updates

Its kiteworks file-sharing platform extends existing content management systems to smartphones and tablets, while addressing compliance concerns.

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Pretty much every cloud file-sharing company is scrambling to differentiate in an increasingly commoditized market. Accellion's value proposition relies heavily on the company's ability to turn its offering, kiteworks, into a platform that supports secure mobile collaboration leveraging existing content management applications.

The technology--set to be released commercially in December--includes a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used to extend existing content management systems so that they can be accessed securely from smartphones, tablet computers, or even wearable gadgets and other Internet of things devices.

Content can be created, edited or annotated on mobile devices. For example, if you discover a presentation needs to be changed on the way to an appointment, you can log in, update the file and file it appropriately and securely, according to the company's top executive.

Since the service relies on a private cloud backbone, it complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the SOX and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, according to Accellion. kiteworks supports applications and platforms including Microsoft SharePoint, Windows FileShare, HomeDrive, Documentum, OpenText, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and OneDrive.

"We have engineered a system that can coexist with the old," said Accellion CEO Yorden Edholm.

Like other cloud services, Accellion offers kiteworks via a subscription although the company's doesn't publish its pricing information publicly. Depending on the application and workflow, it can be set up in a matter of hours, Edholm said.

One midsize business that has embraced kiteworks as the backbone for secure mobile collaboration is Needham Bank, a regional bank in Massachusetts. The technology is the foundation for a new "work anywhere" program. The immediate problem is solves is how you get large files in and out of the organization securely, said James Gordon, senior vice president of information technology for the bank.

"We needed content to be available on iPads, tablets, phablets, Android devices, Macs," Gordon said. "It just needed to work, but be tightly controlled. ... Even if we don't own the service, we own the responsibility."

Among other things, Needham Bank uses kiteworks to manage banking documents, presentations and spreadsheets, he said.

Accellion's technology is also building a following among legal professionals. It claims six of the top 10 law firms in the United States as its customers. Other accounts include healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as global companies including Procter & Gamble, and Bridgestone.

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