Accellion proffers secure cloud collaboration workspaces

The company hopes to provide CISOs rattled by more users turning to consumer cloud-based services a way for more controlled cloud workspaces.

One of the biggest challenges the consumerization of IT creates for the enterprise is the lack of control over where work data is stored and how it's shared on user devices. Even if IT and security groups tried to reign in control over what collaboration platforms, cloud storage, and other services employees used on their own, the effort would likely fall short.

"You can set all of the policies you want, and you are going to have a percentage of workers who do their own thing no matter what you say," says Mike Rothman, analyst and president at security research firm Securosis. "Forget telling executives that they can't use their shiny new iPad," he adds. "You have to try to find a way to secure these devices the best you can," he says.

That certainly makes it tough for companies to make certain they are operating securely, let alone in compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, and many others.

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Secure collaboration and managed file transfer solution provider Accellion hopes it has found a way that catches on in the enterprise.

Paula Skokowski, chief marketing officer of Accellion contends that what enterprises need to do is enable employees to be able to securely use cloud services in a way that they want, but also securely. To that end, Accellion today released its Accellion Secure Collaboration service and Accellion Mobile Apps. Accellion Secure Collaboration enables workers to collaborate on projects within a secure workspace, Skokowski explains.

Within the workspace, workers can search, review, set expiration dates and comment on files, track file versioning and subscribe to automated notifications of workspace activity. The workspace supports images, presentations, spreadsheets, financial documents, product specifications, and any file or folder up to 100Gb in size with both internal employees and external contractors, partners or customers.

According to Skokowski, Accellion Secure Collaboration provides organizations with other capabilities consumer oriented cloud sharing and storage services don't, including user registration and integration with common identity directories, file and disk encryption.

"Security controls at the data and application layers becomes even more important when using services in the cloud that can quickly scale to many users," says Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security. "Just the attention to security with these types of services is important as traditional notions of network perimeters and zones disintegrate," Lindstrom says.

Accellion supports deployment in VMware, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft HyperV virtual environments, choice of public, private or hybrid cloud deployments and FIPS 140-2 certified deployments. The native collaborative applications on iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry make it possible for users to work in ways they're accustomed with consumer storage and collaboration services, Skokowski explains.

Secure Collaboration is being made generally available on April 18, and pricing is based on volume, with 100 users priced at $15 a month with discounts for greater subscriptions.

George V. Hulme writes about security and technology from his home in Minneapolis. E-mail is about the most collaborative technology you'll find him using. You can also often find him ranting about the lack of mature cloud security tools on Twitter @georgevhulme.

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