Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dropbox Security Breach: You’re Only as Secure as Your Cloud Vendor

Personal Cloud And Sensitive Data Don't Mix

On Friday July 20, news of a new Dropbox security breach started to spread, and let’s just say . . . we’re not surprised.  In fact, we’ve been saying for a while now that both businesses and consumers need to seriously consider how and for what data they use personal cloud services like Dropbox.  The June 2011 security breach, in which Dropbox unintentionally left user accounts wide open, was viewed by some as a one-time thing. Now we know it’s not, and it’s time for folks to take their heads out of the sand.

TappIn’s President and co-founder, Chris Hopen, has long seen the writing on the wall about services like Dropbox and SugarSync. He most recently discussed this in an interview with TechTarget in March, during which he expanded on the challenges posed by these services:

“Insecure or insecurely used remote access technologies – mechanisms that most security teams assume pose little risk – in reality offer an abundance of options for attackers to infiltrate enterprises . . . The biggest concern is that attackers will exploit that remote access connection as a jumping-off point, a hop along the way, to get deeper into an organization.”

Of course, others have seen this coming as well. A May 2012 study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Germany found that the security of many cloud storage solutions is often inadequate.  In fact, none of the tested providers, including Dropbox, CloudMe, and TeamDrive, fulfilled all of the security requirements set forth by the Institute.  Weaknesses in user guidelines were commonplace, and many of the providers even lacked proper encryption.

According to Michael Waidner, director of the Institute, “Some of the services may be suitable for private users.  However, with regard to sensitive corporate data, users should think carefully about whether the security measures really are sufficient.”

IBM also recognized the potential for data security disaster stemming from the unfettered use of Dropbox for storage and access of their sensitive enterprise data.  In May, they banned employees organization-wide from using Dropbox for any purpose related to IBM.

The reality is that Dropbox and its ilk were services built for consumer use, and via the explosive growth of BYOD, have made their way into the enterprise, with or without the consent of IT.  In fairness, IT departments have already been overwhelmed by the onslaught of consumer mobile technology, but the time has come to recognize that these personal cloud services were built with consumer ease, not enterprise security, in mind.

As Network World recently put it, by allowing employees to continue bringing these services to work to access sensitive enterprise data, it’s tantamount to standing by as the inmates wrest control of the asylum.  If you didn’t see it before, this latest vulnerability should tell you – it’s time to regain control.

TappIn Now Available in SnappCloud!

snappcloud app placeTappIn by GlobalSCAPE is proud to announce that we have been selected by SnappCloud as one of the preferred secure file access and sharing solutions for all Toshiba product users and OEM partners.

With so many new apps coming onto the market everyday, it can be hard for your app to stand out in a crowd.  And so, in order for us here at TappIn to extend our reach to a larger audience, and make our app available to anyone who needs TappIn for business or for personal file sharing, TappIn is now available v SnappCloud.

SnappCloud is the leader in distributing the highest-quality, most popular apps today to the most popular laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.  They hand-pick the best apps out there today and make them available in Android stores, web stores and Window stores so that they may reach as many app users as possible.

SnappCloud works with its partners to select and make available the best applications for their users, from productivity apps to gaming to social networking.  SnappCloud selected TappIn for the Toshiba AppPlace based on its best in class remote access security, ease of use, and ability to provide mobile access to content stored on Toshiba devices, without first requiring users to move that content to a cloud storage repository.

We here at TappIn are extremely excited to announce that now TappIn can be found in SnappCloud.  We are also offering a 30-day free trial for any users who download TappIn via Toshiba’s AppPlace.

We hope that through this relationship we are able to provide more and more people with the much needed services TappIn provides such as: safe and secure file sharing, remote access, picture sharing, and video sharing. Remember, TappIn is the one place to access your content without moving all your content to one place!

6 Reasons Why You Should Choose TappIn over Dropbox

Dropbox is cloud storage that ‘syncs’ between your devices.  Any content you put in the Dropbox folder syncs between your devices so you always have access to that content.  After downloading the Dropbox ‘agent’ to your PC and mobile devices, you’ll be able to move content into your Dropbox folder and it will begin to copy all the content in the folder to all of the devices (and the cloud storage).

Pretty cool idea…mostly.

TappIn works differently. With TappIn you download the TappIn agent to your (PC, Mac or Linux) machine and then to your mobile devices.  And that’s it.  No copying, syncing or waiting required. You now have access and the ability to share ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME on your devices.

Here are 6 reasons for why you should choose TappIn over Dropbox:

 

#1 You don’t need to know in advance if you’re going to need something

This is probably the biggest advantage for TappIn.  Our agent gives you access to your entire computer, not just a folder on the computer. So, you never have to worry if you’ve ‘synced’ content.  It’s there –ready for you any time you need it

#2 You always have access to the latest version

Again, if you’ve ever put something in the sync folder you have to make sure you put the newest version (I always have new names like – document_v3, document_v4, etc.) back in the sync folder …or well…you’ll be out of sync and out of luck.  With TappIn you ALWAYS have access to your latest and greatest work.

#3 No cloud storage required

In order to make sure you have access to your content Dropbox copies your content to cloud storage – then charges you for that storage.  It’s expensive – really expensive compared to using the storage you already have on your computer or just buying an external storage device. And, it’s only as secure as your cloud storage vendor is willing to be.  Many have already learned that lesson.  TappIn doesn’t copy your content and then charge you to keep the content.  We let you leave your content safe and secure on your computer or on an external storage device

#4 TappIn lets you store and playback media including music and movies

In fact, TappIn has playlists and other features that essentially allow you to have unlimited virtual storage on your mobile device.  Think about it.  You can have Terabytes of music and movies on your home computer/server and have access to ALL of them from your phone – anytime.  You can even mix and match technologies so you can use your massive iTunes library on your Android phone…or even your Kindle!

#5 What if I’m a small business and need to share large files?

Hey, no problem.  Again, we’re not charging you for storage so just ‘share’ your files with sales people, clients or prospects.  They don’t need to sign up for an account to see your content. In fact, if you use a NAS server or you have a WebDAV storage area – TappIn works with your device!  You can’t do that with Dropbox.

#6 Great cost advantage

TappIn is $20 a year for the Standard Edition and you can access as many computers as you want using as much storage as you want as many times as you want!

Bottom line, the best way to think about TappIn vs. Dropbox (or any other sync vendor) is that with TappIn you have one place for access and sharing without having to move your content all to one place.  Simple!

 

- Doug Wheeler

TappIn vs. Instagram – Picture Sharing

Today, I downloaded the Instagram application on to my iPhone and iPad to test it against the capabilities of TappIn.   Here is what I found:

First off, let me say that these are really very different apps.

Instagram can best be described as a mini-Facebook picture sharing app.  Essentially, you can take pictures, do some interesting editing, create slide shows and share them with anyone that you are ‘following’ or that is ‘following you’ as well as anyone on the ‘public network’.  Like Facebook, you can comment, “like” or share the photos with others in your network.

TappIn is a much different concept.  We are not building a social network. We have created a platform for access and sharing of digital content between a broad range of computing and mobile devices.  The TappIn service manages a much broader range of content and wider range of technologies.

Pricing

Instagram is a free app that was designed to build subscribers not revenue.  Instagram instead makes revenue from advertisements they run in their app.

The Instagram app was designed as a social networking app not a digital content access service.  Instagram makes sense in the context of Facebook as it connects individuals based on their pictures and gives cool tools to make the sharing more interesting (editing, slideshows, etc.).

Managed Content

For photos and videos, Instagram has some cool photo editing tools.  Instagram also gives its users the ability to comment on friends’ content, ‘like’ their friends’ content etc.  Instagram is much more of a social networking app than a broad digital content sharing app.

TappIn supports a much broader range of content than just pictures.  TappIn streams music, gives access to documents and virtually any digital content available on any mobile device.

TappIn will also drive many more connections as we add connectors for cloud storage, users through NAS and disk storage providers as well as other SaaS applications that have digital content valuable to access and share.

Keeping You Updated

Another valuable setting is ‘Push Notifications’.  Instagram will notify you when someone you are following posts a new photo.

The TappIn version of this would be auto-notification when someone updated a folder or added/removed content.  Again, this is a feature we have on our list as a future update.

Platform Support

Instagram is essentially an Apple based app.  It’s implemented for Mac and iOS platforms (Android came out April 2nd).

The TappIn app is far more broad supporting Windows, MAC, and Linux as desktop/laptop platforms and iOS, Android and Windows 7.5+ for mobile platforms.

I have also put some screen shots together of the aesthetic and user-interface differences between TappIn and Instagram:

The Homepage

The homepage for Instagram displays pictures that are from people in your network.  These photos are displayed in chronological order.  And with this running display, users can ‘comment’, ‘like’ etc., on their friends and other people in their networks’ photos.

Unlike TappIn, there is no concept for grouping these into folders, grouping by type, thumbnails for high resolution, or authenticated sharing … the focus of this app is both taking/editing photos as well as unrestricted sharing of photos to a network of personal connections or the network at large.

Creating Your Profile

 

Instagram has its users create profiles.  The profile serves much like a dashboard for the app, allowing the user to control their content in that app from one place.

In the middle of this screen, you will see ‘Photos’.  This is more of a dashboard for who? What? And how many? (Obviously, I did not take a lot of time to upload photos or connect with more than one contact).

TappIn does not quite have this ‘dashboard-like feature’, but it’s a part of our future designs.

Growing Your Network by Finding People to Share With

In order to ‘find friends’ to put in your network, Instagram will search your Twitter, Facebook or let you search their network for a specific user name. To ‘invite friends’ it will bring up your contact list on your mobile device and allow you to select people to invite.

TappIn inherits contacts from your contact list and email, but we do not have a smooth integration with social networks.

Because Instagram is more of a social media app, the profile also allows users to build a web presence for those users who are using the app to expand their online network.  Here is a screen shot of Instagram’s “Popular” page in which the most viewed photos on the Instagram public network are placed in a continuously running display:

While we have discussed the concept, we did not go in the direction of creating an ‘alternate network’.  Hmmmm…$1B for this company…maybe next time.

 

– Doug Wheeler

TappIn Partners with ESET!

TappIn Inc. by GlobalSCAPE is proud to welcome ESET, the newest members of its affiliate partner program!  TappIn is so excited to make this announcement as ESET’s anti-virus solutions and proactive cyber threat protections have made them one of the best anti-malware vendors in the world.

A recent study showed that 81% of workers now use personal electronic devices in the workplace.  And of that 81% one-third of respondents said that their company’s data was not encrypted, making accessing it remotely very risky for business owners.  ESET has been delivering trusted internet protection for years, but the popularity of remote access has only very recently exploded.

A Little Bit About ESET

You already know how we here at TappIn started and how TappIn works, but we wanted to give you a little bit more information on ESET as well.  With millions of users worldwide, ESET is one of the most recommended security solutions in the world.  Their products are sold in over 180 different countries and they have headquarters in North and South America, Asia, and Europe.

“ESET has long been at the forefront of computer security with industry-leading virus and malware detection that protect against a host of evolving threats,” said Chris Hopen, President of TappIn, Inc.

And now ESET users can use TappIn to safely and securely remote access file sharing, picture sharing, and streaming music, all from almost any mobile device.  “TappIn’s approach to mobile content access offers secure access and sharing, and is consistent with the caliber of security our customers have come to expect from ESET,” said Andrew Lee, CEO, ESET North America.

The Business of Data Storage and Sharing

The enterprise data storage landscape is experiencing significant upheaval.  While not all IT departments are making significant changes to their storage models, the insistent push of cloud technology, and the evolving demands of the BYOD (“bring your own device”) trend and its disciples, mean that changes are not matters of if, but when.

While there has been much hand-wringing over cloud solutions and employee-liable devices in the workplace, the time has come to create solutions that will enable the evolution of enterprise storage, rather than trying to quell the tide.

Cloudy BYOD

The most obvious trend driving the evolution of enterprise storage is the cloud, and its advantages are obvious – virtually limitless storage and simplified remote/mobile access to data.

The disadvantages of cloud computing, however, are also significant.  Any time data is transmitted or stored outside the corporate firewall IT relinquishes some degree of control, and there is increased risk of a breach.

The less obvious force bearing down on storage is BYOD, and it is proving to be risky business.
The connection between mobile devices and storage may seem attenuated, but with the rise of personal cloud solutions like Dropbox, the lines are quickly starting to blur.

The fear with BYOD and consumerization IT is that before an IT department knows it, sensitive customer information, personnel files, financial records and strategic planning data may well end up in a cloud repository, completely out of their control.

Clearing Clouds

Despite the significant security implications, enterprises cannot ignore the reality of mobile data access.  Instead, enterprise IT must proactively make decisions about data storage that will both streamline mobile access and protect the most sensitive data.

TappIn by GlobalSCAPE is the most secure, easy-to-use solution for any small businesses’ network-attached storage needs.  This program takes a different approach from cloud services by leaving your content on your computer and not in the cloud, so you retain control of your content on your machine and you control who sees it.

You get all the benefits of mobile data access – anytime anywhere without the risk of storing your content in the cloud.  Businesses large and small have been using similar solutions for remote access – namely SSL VPNs – for some time now.

It provides a much greater measure of control over who can access your data and on what terms, something that is especially critical to businesses in an era when most employees are bringing their own web devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) into the workplace.

4 Things You Need To Know About Using Cloud Storage for Your Business

Things You Need To Know About Cloud Storage for Your BusinessUsing services like Dropbox and Google Drive to store sensitive customer information, personnel files, financial data, and strategic planning data, does come with a few risks.

Unlike storing photos and music files or even business data such as marketing materials, collateral, etc. security is paramount when storing sensitive data.

Here are 4 things you should know about before using cloud storage for your business:

#1 Most cloud services aren’t going to claim an ownership interest in your data but…

Their privacy policies require you give them permission to access your data in order to control it.  Also if their security is breached, someone else might very well steal and use sensitive information.

#2 Your data is only as secure as the personal cloud vendor makes it.

The reality is that anytime you store data in a cloud storage solution, you hand over a large degree of control over that data.

Data moving from repository to repository could be at risk if it is not properly encrypted while in transmission.  The security of whatever repository it is ultimately stored in matters as well.  It’s important to know where these services are located and hosted from to make sure they have to and do comply with US laws.

As the Dropbox security breach last summer showed, these systems are not infallible.  The fact that the data is sitting in an archive doesn’t matter if you suddenly don’t need a password or other credentials to get into that archive.

#3 BYOD has proved to be a significant security challenge for businesses over the past five years.

Any time you move corporate data outside the firewall, be it tax records, financial info, or client data, you are giving some control over how that data is transmitted and stored, as well as who can access, copy, and delete information.

When you (knowingly or unknowingly) allow your employees to store enterprise data in a personal cloud solution, you give up even the right to make procurement decisions.  With these services, you give up control over data security in particular.

#4 Personal cloud is on the brink of being the next major consumerization of IT issue

As employees have taken control of their own mobility with the BYOD trend, it seems inevitable that they would seek to control how they accessed data remotely and via their mobile device, and personal cloud vendors are enabling this demand.

The risks with BYOD now aren’t just that employees are bringing security threats into the enterprise network, but that employees are exposing corporate data outside the firewall.

Bottom line, individuals need to be aware of how they use these services, and businesses need to recognize that, just as with BYOD, it’s only a matter of time before they enter the business environment.

The time to start planning is now, learn how TappIn is the best solution to access and share sensitive data anytime, anywhere

BRAG ALERT! GlobalSCAPE was recently named a “champion” and “exemplary performer” in both security strength and ad-hoc file transfer capabilities for TappIn (formerly HomePipe) and GlobalSCAPE’s EFT Server Enterprise products.

TappIn gives you fast access to all your content from any mobile device without paying for cloud storage.  Get a 30 Day Risk Free Trial Now!