The application, called activEcho, is designed to allow employees to securely share and sync files across devices such as an iPad, iPhone and Windows laptops, said Anders Lofgren, vice president of product marketing at GroupLogic in Arlington, Virginia, which is known for its tools to integrate Macs into Windows environments.
Unlike Dropbox, activEcho doesn’t store any files on GroupLogic’s servers. The software runs on a server controlled by the customer, or, if a company chooses, a service such as Amazon Web Services, Lofgren said. GroupLogic doesn’t sell any storage for activEcho.
Of the 50 companies that have been testing activEcho for the last three months, all but one ran the software on their own infrastructure behind a firewall, Lofgren said. Companies tend to want to be in control over their data, he said.
“Especially in regulated industries, they want to be in control because they have certain standards they have to meet,” Lofgren said.
GroupLogic has put several features into activEcho that should appeal to administrators looking to wean their employees off Dropbox.
ActivEcho ties into Microsoft’s Active Directory access management product, which can be used to manage what kind of files individual users can access through activEcho. The product also creates an audit trail that records who accesses what files, Lofgren said.
All data handled by activEcho is encrypted. The product uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption when the data is being transferred and 256-bit AES encryption when the data is stored, Lofgren said.
A remote wipe ability is also built in. When an administrator hits the wipe command, however, only the data stored within activEcho is wiped and not, for example, all of the data on an iPad or a laptop, Lofgren said.
GroupLogic has not had activEcho evaluated by a third-party security auditor yet, but Lofgren said it has been reviewed by the companies that have been testing it.
One of GroupLogic’s beta testers is Bank of the Ozarks, which runs more than 100 banks in the southeastern U.S. Ron Kuykendall, Bank of the Ozarks’ chief information officer, said the bank needed a secure way to collaborate on files with partners. The bank looked at other cloud-based solutions, but security was top priority, he said.
“Our goal was to be able to easily share files in a secure manner and maintain control of that data and where it is stored,” Kuykendall said.
The activEcho application will run on Windows Server 2003 and 2008 along with XP, Vista and 7. It’s also compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 and higher as well as iOS for iPhones and iPads. Pricing is per user, with volume discounts. Five hundred users, for example, would cost US$55 per user per year, according to GroupLogic.