Enterprise collaboration provider Workshare released its new application, Professional 8, last month. CMO Ali Moinuddin talks to CBR about secure file transfer, the cloud and how BYOD is changing the way colleagues work together.
The trend of BYOD is something that organisations are either keen to take advantage of or are finding it hard to ignore. How is the proliferation of mobile devices changing the nature of collaboration?
IT is no longer a gatekeeper that says yes or no to things. More and more of our customers were bringing in tablets and iPads and, more lately, the Surface [Microsoft's device], and saying to IT 'this is the way I want to work and review stuff. You need to go and provision it'.
Our customers are asking us to deliver solutions we are known for into a mobile environment. The workforce is becoming increasingly mobile. Those workers don't expect to be stuck in an office nine hours a day. They expect to be able to work on the move with a device of their choosing.
So how does Workshare's new Professional 8 solution cater for that demand?
Workshare will install a folder on your machine that syncs with the system. You can have it on an iPad, for example, and add comments that are shared in real-time with a colleague via the folder. Our secure file transfer also ensures organisations can set their own security requirements, with a log-in, or an expiry date for access. You can send the file as a link for them, which means they work on the file within your environment. It now includes support for PDF and PDF A as well.
At the moment it supports iOS, Android, Mobile View and any device with a web browser. We're happy to extend that but at the moment we have seen those as the key ones.
Tablets are obviously for personal use, often as well as work, and users could download Workshare for access to their documents. But the company might not approve that so we need to give companies the ability to decide who can access data and when.
You can look at all the users and guests (external users with which a company has chosen to share its data) and even if they're outside of your firm you want to control their access. We enable organisations to see the device and browser being used by an individual.
With the rise of mobility and social media, what are the dangers of the consumerisation of IT?
Because of the consumerisation of IT we're seeing a rise in the number of Dropbox-type applications being used in the business environment. Users say 'why can't we use this?' and companies have been slow off the mark so they have been adopting things like Dropbox.
But it's a personal medium to share separate documents, and often infringes compliance legislation and the company's policy on protecting its IP. You're sharing through it because you're working from home or somewhere and then you sync it back. But more often than not you leave the original document in your repository. That's a major issue companies are trying to address today.
Companies are looking for something that ticks the compliance box, but that's sexy enough users will actually use it.
You've recently launched private and hybrid cloud options. Tell us a little more about that.
Companies were originally very concerned about the security of the cloud, but that's been less and less of an issue over the last year or so. A large percentage of that concern has gone away and you can see it in the cloud adoption numbers in the UK and Europe.
Their biggest concern now is how to integrate the cloud into their workflow. We have a hybrid strategy where we allow you to share the content you have securely. It's on a public and private cloud. So it's a hybrid cloud model but highly secure. Workshare is unusual in this space because we offer that as an option.
Workshare also allows you to choose the area of jurisdiction you want to store your data in even down to the state of the US. We have 10 locations in North America, Ireland and Switzerland and these datacentres are obviously governed differently.
The other option for absolute control is to take all our cloud and technology storage and host that on their private cloud. They want the 'access anywhere' benefits of the cloud for certain users but would prefer to run the whole thing themselves.