Trouble in Cloud Paradise – OwnCloud shuts down and Egnyte Pivots (again!)

We have reported in the past on an  increasing dead pool of consumer file sharing services and now it seems hosted Enterprise File Sharing Services are having a similar issue.

OwnCloud Inc recently announced that, after 5 years,  it was shutting down its operations. Given the press and announcements coming out of OwnCloud in recent months this seemed a strange turn of events and one surmises that at some level revenues and sales must have played a part. OwnCloud had some stellar partnerships, including Redhat, in the Open Source space, which already seem to have been taken over but other incumbents capitalising on their demise. Storage Made Easy, a commercial not open source vendor, yesterday announced their own partnership with RedHat at a storage level, with a primary focus on Ceph and OpenStack.

Whilst not entirely in a similar vein, but perhaps with a similar ethos, another enterprise file sharing vendor has announced a pivot. Engine announce that they were now focusing on protecting documents rather than Enterprise File Share and Sync which they believe to be commoditised. Engine’s issue is that the hosted Enterprise File Share and Sync is indeed saturated unlike the self hosted space which seems to be much more in demand from the enterprise. Although Egnyte purports a hybrid capability they really are a service provider in which data goes back through their back end eco-system which, since they took Google venture money, is Google’s storage infrastructure.

The Egnyte announcement comes off the back of a previous pivot in which Egnyte announced they were focused on analytics and the adaptive enterprise. Maybe one of these will eventually stick ! Egnyte is not entirely going to have this space to themselves with other incumbents such as Accellion (who had/ have their own issue given the recently reported FaceBook breach), Watchdox ( a BlackBerry company since 2015) and Storage Made Easy all providing audit and governance features across a wide range of storage endpoints and , at least some of those vendors, do provide secure on-site behind the firewall self-hosting.

Expect to see more companies falling by the wayside, even maybe some unicorns in this space, as it commoditises and VC backed vendors come under pressure to prove out revenue models.

Ed Snowdon’s email service shuts down – advises not to trust physical data to US companies – what are options ?

It has been a while since we did a post and a lot has happened in that time including the explosion from Edward Snowdon and the PRISM snooping revelations. These have continued to gather momentum culminating  in the email service that Snowdon used, Lavabit, closing. The owner, Ladar Levision, said that he had to walk away to prevent becoming complicit in crimes against the American public. All very cryptic and chilling. He also had this advised that he “would  strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.” So what to do if you have data stored on remote servers ?

Well firstly you may not care. The data you are storing may no way be sensitive and that is the key ie. you need a strategy for how you deal with sensitive data and sharing of sensitive data so what can you do ?

1. You could consider encrypting the data that is stored on cloud servers. There are various ways to do this. There are client side tools such as BoxCryptor that do a good job of this, and there are also more enterprise type platform solutions such as CipherCloud and Storage Made Easy that enable private key encryption of data stored remotely . Both can be deployed on-premise behind the corporate firewall.

2. You could consider a different policy entirely for sharing sensitive data. On a personal basis you could use OwnCloud or even setup a RaspBerry Pi as your own personal DropBox or again you could use StorageMadeEasy to create your own business cloud for keeping sensitive data behind the firewall and encrypting remote data stored outside the firewall.

The bottom line is think about your data security, have a policy, think about how you protect sensitive data.