Technology

Meet Users Halfway: A Cloud-Style App For the Enterprise

Apps like Dropbox and Google Drive are popular with users, but they don't work with your enterprise infrastructure. That hasn't stopped an enterprise icon from trying to compete, but is that where the industry is headed?

Watch out Dropbox, because enterprise companies are starting to learn some of your tricks.

Novell, a computer software and services company active for more than three decades (as well as a company that once counted Google Chairman Eric Schmidt as its CEO), has launched a new product, Novell Filr, which is intended to mesh the cloud-based mentality of easily accessible files in the context of the traditional enterprise server system.

[Employees] have been using consumer-based tools designed to share enterprise files.

Where it Makes Sense

The app, intended for users who are utilizing BYOD (bring your own device) phones, is an effort to make files on enterprise servers easily accessible in the same way that they might be with a third-party service like Dropbox or Box.net.

“[Employees] have been using consumer-based tools designed to share enterprise files,” notes Eric Varness, Novell’s vice president of product management and marketing, who spoke to PC World. Varness suggests that could prove problematic for companies, who face danger of losing control of their content.

The Filr app, available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices, as well as Mac and Windows computers, runs behind the company’s firewall, and offers a way for users to reach shared content easily through the current file structure, plugging in Microsoft’s Active Directory or Novell’s Directory Services.

“The content stays in an organization’s existing file system. Our server makes the connection from the mobile device. The user logs in, authenticates back to their existing directory, using the same credential they use to log in from the office. And they get a mobile view to their existing file structure,” Varness told the publication.

Is This Where We’re Going?

The $45-per-user-per-year app, available in license packs of 50, has an approach very much akin to mobile device management (MDM) platforms, which give extra security to corporate data while working effectively with BYOD products.

If Novell’s solution takes off, however, it’d be going against longer-term trends in the computing space, which often are encouraging IT departments to let go of some of the controls.

Have you learned to make peace with the cloud, or would something like Filr make more sense for your needs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct price.

(Novell)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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