MSPs Need To Help Customers Get Control Of Files For Collaboration, Sharing


The cloud has made sharing of and collaborating with data convenient, but security risks that come from that convenience may require special care when MSPs implement the technology for customers.

That's the message from Tom Ward, vice president of marketing at Qnext, a Toronto-based provider of technology that allows secure file sync and share via a private cloud hosted on the customer site.

Ward, speaking to an audience of MSPs at this week's NexGen 2018 Conference and Expo in Anaheim, Calif., said cloud storage provides convenience for collaboration, file sharing, and simple access to shared files.

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"Nobody buys more cloud storage because they need more storage," he said. "They buy cloud storage because of the convenient access."

However, Ward said, ubiquitous use of the cloud to share and collaborate can lead to potentially serious issues.

Those issues include the increased risk to data as an increasing number of copies complicate the ability to protect them, the potential loss of control as data moves outside the corporate firewall, and government regulations in certain industries mandate where data can be stored, he said.

Ward said Qnext’s enterprise file sync and share offering, FileFlex Enterprise, provides the simplicity of the cloud with full protection of the files.

The company's free FileFlex server allows administrators to determine what files, which are all stored inside the corporate firewalls, can be shared, who they can be shared with, and how much bandwidth users can consume.

With FileFlex Enterprise, a business becomes its own on-premises cloud provider with its own console that allows full data management capabilities, Ward said.

The application ensures integrity of the data with SSL encryption and double encryption, he said. "It's easily the most secure file access solution in the market," he said. "We don't store anybody's data."

For MSPs, Qnext is a channel-only vendor and offers its software with an as-a-service model, Ward said. Partners handle all billing.

Security is always a concern when moving customers' data to the cloud, said Andrew Piland, chief operating officer at Datel Systems, a San Diego-based solution provider that is in the process of becoming an MSP.

Datel already provides Software-as-a-Service technology to its government and education customers, particularly Office 365, but is looking at potential file collaboration and sharing vendors.

"FileFlex Enterprise seems to eliminate the security issue," Piland told CRN. "It looks like a good fit for the schools we work with."