Key Benefits of Extending Office 365 with FileFlex Enterprise

Key Benefits of Extending Office 365 with FileFlex Enterprise

Remote Access and Sharing Office 365 Files Today

If you are using Office 365 then you know that the only way to remotely access Office 365 files is either through a VPN or to upload them to OneDrive. If you want to share any of these files, then you have to use OneDrive. The problem is that today’s organizations use a hybrid-IT storage structure – that is they use a combination of both on-premises storage, SharePoint and cloud-hosted storage. Office 365 only provides remote access to one of these many places your files might be – that is OneDrive. That forces your users to either copy and sync their important files to OneDrive or to use OneDrive as their primary storage.

Challenges Using Office 365 on the Hybrid-IT Infrastructure

The challenge comes when you want to access or share Office 365 files stored on your hybrid-IT infrastructure other than on your own OneDrive or desktop computer.

This is where FileFlex Enterprise extends the functionality of Office 365. It provides users remote access, sharing and collaboration of Office 365 files located anywhere on your hybrid-IT infrastructure – not just from your OneDrive account. It does this through a zero-trust platform with robust security and gives IT visibility and control over what and who can access and share your confidential information while providing an audit trail over all activity.

I have highlighted below the many benefits of extending your implementation of Office 365 with FileFlex Enterprise.

Extends Office 365 to the Entire Hybrid-IT Infrastructure

 

Supports remote access and sharing of Office 365 files located on-premises

  • FileFlex Enterprise allows Office 365 users to remotely access, edit and share files that are located on-premises on network attached storage (NAS) devices, server-attached storage such as SAN and DAS storage, PCs and FTP without the need for a VPN.

Supports remote access and sharing of Office 365 files from cloud-hosted storage

  • FileFlex Enterprise allows Office 365 users to remotely access, edit and share files located on the cloud-hosted storage of Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers such as Amazon S3, MS Azure and Google Cloud.

Supports remote access and sharing of Office 365 files located on SharePoint

  • FileFlex Enterprise allows Office 365 users to remotely access, edit and share files from an on-premises implementation of SharePoint without the need for a VPN as well as cloud-hosted implementations of SharePoint.

Supports remote access and sharing of Office 365 files located on public and private clouds

  • FileFlex Enterprise allows Office 365 users to remotely access, edit and share files located on company owned private clouds and in addition to OneDrive for files located on competing public cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.

 

Provides Office 365 Zero Trust Best Practices

 

Addresses Office 365 need for VPN

  • To remotely access, edit or share files located on a hybrid-IT infrastructure that are located on-premises, on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers or on an on-premises implementation of SharePoint, Office 365 users have to use a VPN. However, VPNs provide a direct, trusted connection right past your perimeter defenses and allow access to your entire network infrastructure. Because they are a great way past your defenses, threat actors are always looking for, and finding new exploits. That means they need constant updates and maintenance. That is because VPN technology was never designed to provide widespread access or granular control. If you want to use a VPN as a tool for your many remote workers using Office 365 then you also need to implement an additional layer of PAM or Privileged Access Management. With so many employees and third parties requiring access, the VPN becomes difficult to manage.

Provides Office 365 zero trust remote data access to the entire IT infrastructure

  • FileFlex Enterprise is the industry’s first platform that provides remote access, sharing and collaboration to the entire hybrid-IT infrastructure used by today’s modern organization using a zero-trust architecture. FileFlex Enterprise provides the cloud functionality of remote access, sharing and collaboration to on-premises storage such as your servers, server-attached, network-attached, PC and on-premises SharePoint storage and your Amazon, Azure, Google and SharePoint online Infrastructure-as-a-Service storage.

 

Provides Office 365 Enhanced Security

 

Provides Office 365 zero trust secure processes over data

  • FileFlex Enterprise uses a set of secure zero trust processes to access, secure and transmit data. Others focus either on zero trust in a network access platform or for an application access platform. We employ zero trust every time someone attempts to access corporate data. These include processes for user authentication, secure data transmission, accessing information, protecting credentials, use of anonymous tokens, request management and permission management.

Robust security set

  • FileFlex Enterprise adds a robust security set including AES 256 encrypted hybrid point-to-point communication, double encryption, two-factor authentication, device authentication, virus scanning, single sign-on (SSO), active directory integration, activity log and operation and incident management. As a result, FileFlex Enterprise eliminates both unauthorized access to data and services and makes the access control enforcement as granular as possible.

Adds an activity log to Office 365 for operation and incident management

  • FileFlex Enterprise includes an activity log so that both the user and IT have visibility the remote activities of Office 365 users including their OneDrive activities.  It includes tools to allow export or integration with 3rd party monitoring and incident management tools.

Adds Intel SGX hardware hardening to Office 365

  • Encryption keys can be generated outside of system memory in the secure SGX enclaves of the CPU for the remote access, file sharing and collaboration of Office 365 files. This protects against snooping and intercept even on a system that is compromised by malware.

 

Adds IT Control Over Sharing of Office 365 Files

 

IT management toolkit over Office 365 remote access and file sharing

  • FileFlex Enterprise layers its security with a set of management tools for IT putting them in ultimate control over the security of information in the organization via the FileFlex Enterprise Server Management Console. The toolkit includes strong IT control over file access and sharing with the ability to monitor and enforce security controls and policies.

Customize encryption policies over Office 365 remote access and file sharing

  • The IT management console can be used to specify and enforce encryption policies for access to and transfer from storage repositories which can be customized on a case-by-case basis.

Customize Office 365 user security levels

  • The IT management console can be used to customize security levels for users on a user-by-user basis and/or departmental basis.

Control and manage Office 365 sharing

  • The admin panel can also be used to prohibit sharing of select Office 365 files, folders or devices on an organizational basis, group basis or on a user by user basis. This is an ultimate IT control mechanism that allows remote access of PHI, PII and sensitive data, but ensures that it stays in its source location and copies are not shared with anyone.

 

Protects the Privacy of Confidential Office 365 Files

 

Protects privacy and confidentiality of Office 365 files

  • Privacy and confidentiality can be protected by keeping Office 365 files in source locations, on-premises, behind the corporate firewall, on corporate storage assets, in specific geographic regions and access controlled.

Aids in Office 365 GDPR compliance

  • The FileFlex Enterprise technology for secure remote file access, sharing and collaboration supports and augments an organization’s GDPR compliance endeavors. FileFlex utilizes an organization’s existing investment in technology and combines a rapid deployment capability and ability to support the enforcement of the compliance and auditability controls required by GDPR.

Aids in Office 365 HIPAA compliance

  • FileFlex Enterprise is the ideal file sharing and collaboration tool for HIPAA Covered Entities and HIPAA Business Associates. That is because the FileFlex server is hosted either by the HIPAA Covered Entity itself or by the HIPAA Business Associate that provides FileFlex to the HIPAA Covered Entity. FileFlex can be used to control remote access and sharing of Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

View-only sharing of Office 365 files

  • One important consideration in security and compliance is that some files need to be viewed by others but not edited or downloaded. For these instances FileFlex Enterprise enables view-only sharing for all Office 365 files. This adds a level of protection that supports efforts to comply with compliance regimes such as GDPR and HIPAA.

 

Improves Remote Office 365 User Productivity

 

Increases Office 365 user productivity

  • As opposed to OneDrive that requires transferring and storing duplicated files over the internet to a central data center located miles away, FileFlex addresses the inefficiency issues of uploading, downloading and syncing subsets of data to the limited storage capacity of cloud servers.

Addresses the siloing of information inherent to Office 365 files stored on OneDrive

  • Using OneDrive for remote access creates an inherent information silo that is separate from the hybrid-IT infrastructure of your organization. FileFlex Enterprise uses a single ‘pane-of-glass’ dashboard providing remote access, editing, sharing and file management to the entire hybrid-IT infrastructure of on-premises, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, public cloud and SharePoint from one place.

Large files are tough to manage in OneDrive

  • Frequently staff in marketing or engineering departments need to share and collaborate on massive files and libraries including digital media, AutoCAD and video. FileFlex Enterprise enables fast, secure access without requiring the files be duplicated to OneDrive where the size may prevent easy management. An employee waiting for an AutoCAD file to upload to the Microsoft cloud will look for another solution. FileFlex Enterprise does not require uploads so large files can be shared without delay or in the case of video, loss of quality.

Create Office 365 virtual data rooms

  • Create as many data rooms as you like where Office 365 files and folders of information can be securely and privately uploaded without cost by your associates, vendors, suppliers and clients. Files can then be either accessed in ‘view-only’ mode where downloading and electronic distribution of data room content is prohibited, or they can be accessed with full editing and collaboration rights. Permissions can even be further refined on a user-by-user basis.

Can be used to reduce carbon footprint

  • The migration to the cloud and use of cloud storage such as OneDrive has been the driving factor for more data center capacity, which is dramatically increasing energy consumption. FileFlex Enterprise enables the access of files over the Internet from source locations, without duplication to a data center significantly reducing the greenhouse emissions and carbon footprint of your organization.

Tom Ward is the VP of Marketing for Qnext Corp. He is an expert in the technology industry with a history of achievement. Tom holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.