Citrix ShareFile to offer meta-data encryption

Citrix Sharefile will offer metadata encryption to minimise the risk of data leaks in the enterprise.

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Citrix ShareFile will offer metadata encryption to minimise the risk of data leaks in the enterprise.

Against the backdrop of the battle of the consumer file sharing systems offering cheap solutions for enterprise, Citrix ShareFile has had to develop a clear roadmap that offers CIOs piece of mind while keeping up with the upgrades and usability employees demand.

Citrix’s mobile app, which allows employees to use word documents and sign PDFs while out of the office, entered the Google Play Store yesterday. It is the result of Citrix’s acquisition of Byte Squared last year, and an iPad app will follow. The vendor is now turning its attention to its meta-data encryption service as part of the StorageZone product, which will be deployed in the next few months.

Jess Lipson, founder of ShareFile and Citrix’s Documents Cloud GM told ComputerworldUK: “We are going to have a small component that enterprises can install on-premise.  It’s basically a proxy, all the calls that come from your mobile apps and other maps will flow through that and it will encrypt that data on its way to the Citrix data centre. Citrix is able to run the user interface part of the application in the cloud so are able to do the rapid releases that end users are expecting but we won’t have access to that data that’s encrypted in our cloud.”

Lipson said that some customers have already signed up for the beta rollout in the next few months. He added: “If they are concerned about metadata encryption they aren’t going to want me to say who.”

Changing markets

Citrix Systems acquired ShareFile in 2011 in an effort to break into the cloud-based data sharing market, but it is still innovating to ensure they have the edge on competition.

Lipson admitted that Citrix’s small business space was threatened by consumer clouds like Dropbox, Google Drive and One Drive, and it is turning its attention to specialising in some of the industry verticals.

He said: “Our belief that in the long term the value in our market is going to be created by doc workflows and higher value activities and we think the pure cloud storage market is getting commoditised and very hard to do business there. Over the years we have focused on vertical specific workflows”.

Frontier of enterprise cloud-based sharing

Cloud-based file-sharing is a complex problem that enterprises are just coming to terms with, Lipson said.

“The bar is set high because employees are used to using Dropbox but when we bring in a high security solution employees are used to that usability. The real challenge for us to meet is to bring in all the security features that IT wants – like reporting and recording – but the service still has to look and feel comprehendible.

“Enterprises are figuring out this new world. They realise that they have to move toward the cloud and need to use tools that are easy to use like Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox that sometimes get updated on a daily or weekly basis. Having an old-school, on-premise solution that gets updated every three to five years doesn’t really meet the employee’s expectations.

"They [enterprises] realise the power has shifted but are still not sure how to make the trade-off between security and convenience. I think in a few years’ time there will be some precedents set but its early days.” 

European enterprise can use a sharefile.eu version of their service to cater for zones where CIOs need data stored closer to home for privacy security and sovereignty regulations.

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