With the "bring your own device" trend growing, Citrix is expanding its ShareFile mobile file sharing with several new capabilities. One of them, StorageZones for Enterprise, allows IT to determine where the shared data is stored.
With StorageZones, storage could be on-premises at a company's own data center. Citrix said this "best of both worlds" approach provides "follow-me data" services for all corporate and personal mobile devices, but allows IT to meet security, data sovereignty and compliance requirements. The new ShareFile enhancements expand on the existing ShareFile mobile apps for file sharing access, which have been available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
In its announcement, Citrix cited an Enterprise Strategy Group report from August that found 70 percent of organizations know or suspect their employees are using their own personal file-sharing accounts -- but without approval or knowledge by their IT departments.
With StorageZones' software-as-a-service, organizations can manage data on-premises in customer-managed zones, in ones managed by Citrix in its secure cloud options based in locations around the world, or through a hybrid of both. Citrix maintains seven cloud-based storage locations that use Amazon Web Services -- three in the U.S., plus facilities in Dublin, Tokyo, Singapore and Sao Paolo.
Customer-managed zones, which support any Common Internet File System-based network share, can help meet data sovereignty and compliance requirements, and can maximize performance by keeping data closer to the user's area. Beginning next year, Citrix-managed StorageZones can also use Microsoft Azure's global platform, which gives IT another option for placing data closer to a user.
Jesse Lipson, VP and GM of Citrix Data Sharing, said in a statement that interest in StorageZones has been particularly significant in Europe, "where enterprises often require that sensitive documents be stored on premises or in particular legal jurisdictions."
A new StorageZones MPX appliance, powered by Citrix NetScaler, is available to customers who decide to go the customer-managed route. Citrix said the appliance helps customer-based StorageZone deployments by providing integrated security.
Citrix is also offering StorageZone Connectors for customer-managed implementations, which allow IT departments to create a secure connection linking the ShareFile service and user data, regardless of where the data is actually stored.
Bill Carovano, Citrix's director of Product Management, told us that StorageZones "allows customers to store data where they need to, depending on compliance," and that its development had been driven by customers' demands because of the rise of mobility.
There's also a new on-demand sync capability for ShareFile for Windows, which is intended for virtual desktop environments, such as ones using Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. Generally, data syncing in virtual desktop environments occurs at every logon, which loads the network. With on-demand sync, files are downloaded and synced only during viewing, editing, saving or sharing.