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used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs

workfromhomeIn the last decade, the mobile workforce has increased by more than 100 percent—not that surprising when we consider the abundant improvement in technology over that same time period. Telecommuting offers wonderful benefits to companies and workers alike, with an improved work-life balance topping the charts. Not only that, but a 2015 Gallup poll shows that telecommuters are more likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to higher profitability, mobile productivity, customer engagement and other positive business outcomes.

But mobile teams experience problems of their own. At the forefront is the disconnection that naturally occurs when team members work separate from the rest of the team. Not only do telecommuters sometimes miss out on deeper relationships with co-workers, they don’t get to experience office culture and can easily miss important announcements. A case study conducted among full-time telecommuters at a Chinese travel agency even showed that mobile workers were up to 50 percent less likely to receive promotions.  Read more...

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The latest update to our portal brings a whole new look to CTERA’s hybrid cloud appliances, and several new features to cloud drive! Here are some of the highlights:

All-New User Interface

User Interface
Snazzy new interface with HTML-5 goodness.

The entire user interface has been redesigned with mobile and touch interfaces in mind. It will scale to fit your screen and present the most information to you regardless of whether your on your office computer or working on your phone or tablet. The CTERA mobile app for Android and iPhone has also been updated to bring your experience up to date regardless of how you access the portal.

Online File Preview

AutoCAD "color wheel" in-browser preview
AutoCAD “color wheel” drawing browser preview

Cloud drive now lets you view all types of Office documents, CAD files, DICOM medical imaging files, and image files in your browser without having to download huge files and open up slow-to-load editing programs. The builtin lightweight previewer will allow you to see changes at a glance saving you valuable time.  Read more...

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ctera logoSpireTech has launched an Enterprise File Sync and Sharing (EFSS) service using private portal and server technology from CTERA networks.  The new features include VPN-free office-to-office server synchronization, and fine-grained control over synchronization of data to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.

Our solution is unique in that can integrate with low-cost storage appliances located at your office, for fast local file storage and server capabilities.  The local server can be accessed from anywhere via the web, mapped drives, and integrates with a private portal for employee and partner access.  Appliances can synchronize shares with each other, workstations, other servers and mobile devices without the use of a VPN.

Services like Dropbox and Google Drive have long provided businesses with the ability to collaborate and share their documents with employees and their clients. The problem with services like these is knowing who has access to your data, and where it is located in their networks.    Read more...

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ctera-devicesSpireTech had been searching for a cost-effective solution for Cloud server connectivity for our clients for several years.  Everything we looked at was either too expensive, did not provide security and control over where the data resides, or did not work as advertised. When we came across the Ctera product, we were very intrigued and began a multi-month, rigorous evaluation process – along with customer demos, onsite trials, and evaluations.  Our clients have used the words “enamored” and “love” to describe the product.

The Ctera cloud-attached server appliances allow you to backup, share, and collaborate on your documents from anywhere!  They install in your office and allow your employees to gain access to your files through your private cloud portal, hosted by SpireTech – No VPN required! The Ctera C series appliances, coupled with a reliable offsite backup in our data center, provide you and your employees with secure access to their data.  They are very cost-effective, and can replace or augment existing servers you may have in your office.  Read more...

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A few months ago, we reviewed the open-source package OwnCloud.  Since then, we’ve been through a few version updates and bugfixes, and are unhappy to report that Owncloud is not ready for prime-time yet.  Our main beef at this point involves file duplication, which is a known bug which has yet to be fixed.  The good news is that several other issues have been addressed by the development team, so perhaps the problem will be rectified soon. 

So, we decided to review the commercial package Egnyte, which is a “Hybrid Cloud” (we know, this is an overused/abused term) software.  It is available in both on-premise and cloud-hosted versions.  It allows dropbox-like functionality, with enterprise-class security and administrative features, and the usual array of mobile and desktop sync clients.  The free iPad client has a nice user interface and viewers for common file types.

It is configurable for both bandwidth use and hours of day, so that you can schedule synchronization to occur when it is best for you, eg.  Read more...

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OwnCloud is an open-source software package that allows companies to setup a dropbox-like environment for employee use.   It comes with clients for windows, mac, linux, android, and very soon, iOS – as well as a server component that works on either Linux or Windows.  It sounded extremely useful to our clients, so we immediately began our evaluation process.  We began by installing OwnCloud on a Linux VPS (Virtual Private Server) in our datacenter, and evaluating the windows and android clients.

The file sharing is the best feature.  OwnCloud allows you to replicate folders from your local hard drive (or perhaps a server drive) to cloud storage hosted at SpireTech (or another hosting provider).  You can share individual files or folders with coworkers, and create groups with permissions similar to what you would do in a conventional file server type environment.   It supports LDAP, so we think we’ll be able to integrate it with local user databases on linux or windows-based file servers, although we haven’t tested that out yet.   Read more...

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Google has stepped into the cloud storage arena with its new evolution of Google Docs. The service, named Google Drive, comes with 5GB of free space and payment options for up to 16TB of storage in its cloud. The client software offers central storage for documents, pictures, and files to be synced and accessed on desktops, smart phones and tablets. Most people are aware of DropBox, a very similar service. There is a lot of conjecture over what this will mean for other services similar that have started to become more well known.

This push is a big support to their long awaited Chrome OS. The mainly web browser based operating system is designed to work with tablets and netbooks with little local storage. Chrome OS would be greatly improved by remote storage with the ability to sync documents between, for example, a desktop and tablet.

For more information about google drive, contact SpireTech today!

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