Huddle Sync - Enterprise Scale [White paper]


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The rise of SaaS has led to a new breed of cloud-based enterprise content management systems that focus on people & collaboration.

These systems borrow useful features, such as comment threads and an event stream, from consumer social networks.

Huddle is leading in this space and is now displacing traditional incumbents, such as SharePoint.

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Huddle Sync - Enterprise Scale [White paper]

  1. 1. Huddle Sync: Enterprise scale
  2. 2. Huddle Sync: Enterprise scaleTABLE OF CONTENTS1 ECM moves to the cloud and becomes more social1 The rise of consumer cloud sync tools1 The enterprise challenge2 Huddle: Bridging the ECM and sync worlds3 Solving the data volume problem3 About Huddle
  3. 3. ECM MOVES TO THE CLOUD AND BECOMES MORE SOCIALThe rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) and the cloud has led to a new breed of cloud-based enterprise content management systems that focus on people and collaboration.These systems borrow useful features, such as comment threads and an event stream,from consumer social networks. Huddle is leading in this space and is now displacingtraditional incumbents, such as SharePoint.THE RISE OF CONSUMER CLOUD SYNC TOOLSMore recently, the popular concept of the cloud has expanded from web-based SaaSand cheap, scalable IaaS to encompass the central repository that provides data for yourapplications across all devices and keeps them seamlessly in sync in the background. Inthe consumer space, DropBox is probably the most successful example of this.This approach combines the familiar user experience and offline capabilities of keepingapplications and data local, with the centralized, access anywhere, cross-platformbenefits of SaaS web apps. It is no surprise that tools like DropBox are very popular forsyncing personal files between devices and some people are starting to use these toolsin the workplace.THE ENTERPRISE CHALLENGEEnterprise content management and collaboration is a very different problem to personalfile management. The focus in the enterprise is on sharing information with large groupsof people and working on content collaboratively with others, while maintaining securityand control over corporate data that large enterprises require. This presents a number ofissues when trying to use consumer and SMB sync tools in an enterprise context.SECURITYLarge corporates require much higher standards of security than consumer tools canoffer. This is not just about securing systems, but being able to prove the tools’ securitycredentials to IT security officers looking to purchase fit for purpose software.AUDITIn a team collaborative environment, audit trails are a useful tool for tracking who madewhich changes to what content. In a larger enterprise environment, audit trails becomeessential security controls and are often required for legislative compliance. This is notsomething that is important for personal sync and, as such, is not a feature found inconsumer or even SMB sync tools.PERMISSIONSManaging who can see what content is straightforward, or rather a non-existent problemfor personal sync, even with small teams, it is not much more complicated. Users canexplicitly name a list of people they would like to share a document with. At scale,this approach becomes completely unmanageable though. To maximize the reuse ofintellectual capital within a large organization, you want to share content as widely aspossible, rather than limit it to a few named people. This will inevitably mean sharing withteams or roles, where the actual people involved change over time. Consumer tools arenot designed to do this, or to offer fine-grained controls over what actions each group ofusers can perform on an item.COMPANY WIDE SEARCHA particular irritation for custodians of corporate data are “digital islands”. Theseare pockets of data that are not joined up, or even known about by colleagues.The introduction of consumer sync tools by individuals or small teams across theorganization quickly makes it impossible to search all corporate data for useful content,or to keep track of what data is stored where. 1
  4. 4. USER MANAGEMENTFor small businesses, the volume of new starters and leavers or people changing rolesis very small and can be handled by ad-hoc, manual processes. At even 100 employeesthis is no longer feasible. At enterprise scale, the number of people moving around andthe number of systems they need access to means that integration and automationbecomes necessary.GROUPS AND SHARINGMuch like the issues with permissions and search outlined above, at scale it becomesmuch harder to define the group of people that you want to share content with. It is veryunlikely to be an explicit list of names and more likely to be defined groups, such as“the sales team” or “the team working on project x”.DATA VOLUMEFinally, but perhaps most significantly for a sync product, there is the issue of datavolume. Personal sync tools allow you to synchronize a few gigabytes of files betweenyour desktops and laptops, and you can select a subset of those files to be available onmobile devices. At the small team level, this can run to tens of GBs of files that are eachonly relevant to a subset of the team. At true enterprise scale, the corporate data storeruns to many terabytes. This is particularly true if the organization has succeeded inliberating useful content, which represents valuable intellectual property, from people’sC drives and inboxes and made them available in a central store. Syncing that amountof data to everyone’s desktop is simply impractical and even more problematic formobile devices. This is where enterprise sync really starts to fall apart.HUDDLE: BRIDGING THE ECM AND SYNC WORLDSMost of the problems outlined above (with the exception of data volume) are solved“out of the box” by Enterprise Content Management systems and, as the leader of thenew generation of such tools, Huddle is no exception.SECURITYHuddle is built from the ground up with security and availability in mind. Numerousgovernments trust Huddle to store sensitive, classified information. All communicationwith Huddle is encrypted (256-bit SSL); access can be revoked for a specific device andall content deleted remotely.AUDITAll actions by users are fully audited and this is baked into the product from the outset.PERMISSIONSPermission groups and fine-grained controls at folder level produce great flexibility inboth permission settings and on-going permissions management.COMPANY-WIDE SEARCHFull-text search is available across all workspaces and full API support allowsintegration with other enterprise search products.USER MANAGEMENTUsers can be easily added to and removed from groups or workspaces. Huddle alsooffers Active Directory integration for user authentication.GROUPS AND SHARINGThe workspace model is a core part of what makes Huddle work at enterprise scale. 2
  5. 5. While these features are common amongst ECM products, Huddle is the first tool tocombine enterprise content management and sync. Huddle Sync offers enterprise-grade content management features with user-friendly and seemingly magical file synctools. This final step in usability removes the last remaining barrier to replacing thenetwork drive with a version-controlled, cloud-based alternative.SOLVING THE DATA VOLUME PROBLEMThe key piece that allows Huddle to solve file sync at enterprise scale, however, is ouranswer to the data volume problem. Our research shows that users only require offlineaccess to a tiny proportion of the corporate data store, but they do not know which filesthey may need access to.Based on the analysis of many years of data on usage patterns within Huddle itself, wehave developed a set of algorithms that can predict – in order of likelihood – whichfiles a user is most likely to need access to. Huddle Sync then syncs these files inadvance to users’ devices. The probability scoring allows us to make efficient use ofthe storage space available on the device. Only the highest scoring files are pushedto mobile devices, which have limited storage, while syncing many more to desktopdevices with larger hard drives.Although originally conceived to solve the sync data volume problem at enterprisescale, Huddle Sync’s content recommendations algorithms have become a great wayfor users to discover relevant content they may not otherwise have known to lookfor. This provides the beginnings of a revolutionary approach to content search anddiscovery within the enterprise.ABOUT HUDDLEEstablished in November 2006 and based in London and San Francisco, Huddle is theleader in Enterprise Collaboration and Content Management in the cloud.With Huddle, you can manage projects, share files and collaborate with people insideand outside of your company, securely. It is available online, on mobile devices, onthe desktop, via Microsoft Office applications, major business social networks and inmultiple languages. Simply: if SharePoint was built today, they would’ve built Huddle. 3