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Averail Access aces mobility management test

Innovative service protects data stored in places like Box, Dropbox, SharePoint and Salesforce

By Craig Mathias, Network World
January 20, 2014 05:34 AM ET

Network World - Enterprise mobility management (EMM) can encompass a broad range of functions, from managing mobile devices, to applications, expenses, personnel, and policies. But perhaps the most important aspect is mobile information/data/content management, tracking the distribution and usage of sensitive organizational data, as well as ensuring appropriate security and policy compliance.

Over the past few years, however, a veritable wild west of online storage and file-sharing services have intensified the already chaotic and historically uncontrolled realm of content distribution and sharing - Dropbox and the ubiquitous USB memory key have transformed into the poster children for all manner of threats and challenges to data security and the integrity of IT operations.

Add in BYOD, and without adequate controls many organizations can kiss their secrets goodbye.

The solution, though, can appear tricky: banning the use of all such storage services and devices would likely be counterproductive to both operations and morale, and perhaps encourage even risker workarounds.

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What’s needed, then, is a service that centralizes and unifies online and cloud-based storage and distribution mechanisms under a single policy and operational umbrella – and, in a nutshell, this is exactly what Averail Access does.

The range of capability and control is remarkable – and Averail Access is delivered as a cloud-based service (including, very importantly, managed offline operations), meaning that any concerns regarding availability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness are easily addressed.

We evaluated Averail Access by signing up for a free trial. The process takes only a few seconds, including downloading the required app. Averail is currently focused on iOS, and iOS 7 is required. An Android client is also available but in preview (beta) at the moment, Windows support is slated for later this year and an HTML5 client is planned as well for universal access with no app required.

We used an iPhone 5, downloading the app (there are several of these, depending upon your specific needs) from Apple’s App Store. The app creates a secure container, again centrally managed in the cloud, enabling offline storage access as desired by the user and enabled by policy.

In addition to the app, there’s a Web-based console that provides the visibility and control required to make a solution like this viable, easy to use, and cost-effective. Among the features included are Active Directory integration, selective wipe and even the expiration of content in the secure container, and, of course, encryption of that content as well.

Averail Access currently supports SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, shared network drives, and more, with the final decision as to what services are available and how they are used subject to IT-defined policies, which can be set by individual folder, device, and user.

This flexibility is key – we’re still in the early days of mobility management, and individual IT shops need the ability to define management and control specifics that meet their individual philosophies and objectives.

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