Home Business IT Business Telecommunications ShareFile is 'iCloud for business' says Citrix CEO

ShareFile is 'iCloud for business' says Citrix CEO

The Citrix ShareFile cloud storage and synchronisation product will soon provide administrators with more control over where data is stored, along with an Outlook plug-in to automate its use in place of attaching files to messages.

The use of cloud storage and synchronisation services such as Dropbox has become very common. Like most cloud services, they are easy and cheap to buy and use. The problem is that they don't necessarily provide features that corporate customers consider mandatory.


That's where enterprise-grade services such as Citrix ShareFile come in, with features including encryption, versioning, commenting, notifications, and remote wipe and locking.

A new feature of ShareFile is StorageZones, which allows administrators to control where files are stored. This can be in public or private cloud storage, or at a particular facility.

The choice may be dictated by governance issues (eg, an organisation may have a policy that requires all documents to be stored in its own data centres, or government regulations may forbid offshore storage), or technical considerations (eg, documents may be stored close to the most frequent users to improve performance).

"With an increasingly distributed workforce that expects it to be easy to store and share their files and content, IT departments are under more pressure than ever to ease up on data storage policies to improve end user access and productivity," said Jesse Lipson, Citrix vice president and general manager, data sharing. "The reality is that these policies exist for a reason and ShareFile StorageZones allows our customers to tailor their data storage to meet their specific business requirements while also offering a great end user experience."

Page 2: Outlook integration, updated iPad app, and more.


StorageZones are completely transparent to users, he explained. An administrator can assign a folder or user into a particular zone, and the data is stored appropriately without the user's active involvement or even knowledge.

The new version of ShareFile includes integration with Outlook - "still the most popular tool for file collaboration," said Mr Lipson. For example, administrators can set up a policy so that ShareFile is used for all attachments. When a user attaches a file, the Outlook plug-in removes the file from the message, uploads it to ShareFile, and then inserts a link to it (along with appropriate descriptive text) in the message.

Other announced improvements to ShareFile include an updated iPad app (to ship by the end of the month with a new user interface, improved offline access, support for multiple ShareFile accounts, data expiration policies and improved audit and monitoring controls), integration with CloudGateway 2 (for enterprise-wide deployment of ShareFile with access to on any device running Citrix Receiver using locally-installed applications or those hosted on XenApp; expected by July 2012), and integration with Podio (for social file sharing in dedicated workspaces).
Citrix CEO Mark Templeton said ShareFile was not so much 'Dropbox for enterprise' as 'iCloud for business.' A technical preview of ShareFile with StorageZones was available immediately, he added.

Combining ShareFile with Citrix Receiver (used to run hosted apps on different devices) means organisations can provide secure access to all the applications and all the data across a wide range of devices, he said.

The finished ShareFile with StorageZones is expected to ship in July.

Disclosure: the writer travelled to San Francisco as the guest of Citrix.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.