How to Wipe Company Data on Employees’ Mobile Devices while Leaving Personal Data Alone; Interview with GroupLogic, Part V

In this final installment of our interview series with GroupLogic we look at how mobilEcho enables organizations to wipe only company data off employees’ mobile devices, leaving the employee’s personal data untouched. We also hear how GroupLogic is helping telecommunications firms increase revenue by adding value to their customers’ telecommunications experience, and we gain insight into the DNA of the company as a software provider for over 20 years.

Joshua: Why is additional mobile device management needed in file-sync-and-share management, e.g can’t a customer wipe a device using Microsoft Activesync?

Anders: A lot of the time it boils down to who bought the device. So if I bought the device and I bring it to work, I’m probably not going to be all that thrilled with the idea that work could wipe everything off of it.

So what we do is we focus on providing secure access to content that belongs to the organization. And therefore the organization has the right to wipe that information off of the device regardless if the organization purchased it on behalf of the employee, or the employee purchased it themselves. That’s the idea.

Joshua: IT leadership at your customers may eliminate corporate data without disrupting employee personal devices?

Anders: Yeah. So that whole BYOD [bring your own device] trend_or consumerization trend or whatever buzzword you want to put in there_this actually really helps that. Because we just wipe the data that’s associated with mobilEcho.

So if you have your ESPN app or whatever it might be, we don’t touch that stuff. So it’s really good for those situations.

As you know with [many organizations], they basically wipe the whole thing. I think that a lot of people respond like, “Well I don’t think I want to use my iPad for work, then.”

But again, we’re not an MDM [mobile device management] vendor, we’re a mobile file management vendor. We’re dealing with the files, the files sit on mobilEcho, and that’s what we wipe.

Joshua: What’s the value and why are you partnered with Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company?

Anders: Well, first of all, we do a lot of business in Australia and have traditionally done a lot of business there. Australia’s a big country and we’ve always done very well there. We’re doing very well there with mobilEcho, as well.

So, Telstra is a carrier, obviously. I think it’s natural to see why we would want to be partnered with carriers like Telstra and others: because these guys in many cases are selling these devices, we can get in there, and they offer our products in their online stores or their sales people have the ability to bundle products in with some device sales–again, on the enterprise side, on the business side.

That’s obviously a huge advantage for us, because the cost of sale for us there is essentially zero. So, you can expect to see other relationships that we establish with other carriers, although I’m not in a position to discuss any of those today.

Joshua: Would a telecommunications carrier successfully expand into the broader Apple application space by partnering and/or acquiring GroupLogic?

Anders: Yes. You take a look at these guys and their role today: they’re a carrier, they’re always getting asked to reduce the rates they’re charging.

They need to be able to make some more money. How do you make more money? Well, either from a services point of view or from software.

So they see these as opportunities to provide value add. And I would expect we’ll see more of that from these companies.

Joshua:  Beyond telecommunications carrier-class companies, what do companies like Rackspace, Dell cloud services, or HP cloud services obtain by using GroupLogic in a hosted service environment?

Anders: First, our business model is we’re a software company and we’re in the licensing business. That’s what we’re good at. That’s what we do.

We do recognize that there will be opportunities to run these types of software packages as a service on behalf of organizations or consumers or others. We’ve deliberately chosen a model where, we would say, we will license software on a partnering model to organizations like you just mentioned. And there are many others, as you can imagine, that would run this as a service and perhaps collect subscriber fees on behalf of their customers.

We’ve got numerous discussions like that that are well under way. The point is, we won’t go to market with a service that GroupLogic offers, but we will provide software for other organizations to provide services to their constituents.

Joshua: Has this been driven by customer requirements that you currently have?

Anders: It’s really all about the DNA of what you do. Our DNA is as a software company. We write software. We’ve been writing software for 20 years.

For us, it’s more about sticking to what we’re good at and leaving the operation of services to organizations that are good at it, as opposed to attempting to reinvent ourselves along those lines. So we see the opportunity to license software to organizations that choose to either run this internally, run it on one of their servers, run it on somebody else’s server, or run it in a hosted environment.

We don’t really care about the operating model. We’re sticking to our strength. That is being a creator of software products that can be run by organizations.

Joshua: Can you talk to me a little bit about what’s driving you to have the conversation with those companies that can host your software?

Anders: I think I would argue that it’s perhaps driven from the other direction, which is on behalf of the service provider. What they’re looking to do is roll out one of many services that they can provide to their customers as a bundled set of offerings.

We might be one of a handful of services that they provide. And their economies are all about bundling those services together and creating something relevant for whomever it is that they’re selling to.

Specific instances of that are, as you know, organizations out there that provide services to government agencies. There are a whole host of things that you have to do, to do that in a germane and relevant way.

There are organizations that service healthcare companies. It’s the exact same thing. Or, financial services companies.

So, we rely on our partners to provide not only the operation of the service, but also the expertise of what it takes to effectively compete in those markets. Oftentimes they will bundle our technology up with other technologies to create an effective service that they can sell to their constituents.

So I would argue that it’s less about individual customers saying, “Hey, we want to run this a certain way,” because we would say, “Knock yourself out, that’s great”–as opposed to working with organizations that have a vision for the marketplace. That suggests that if we had a total set of services that look like this, it would be something that has broad appeal for a certain sector of the marketplace–as an example, government or financial services or whatever it is.

Joshua: Can you talk about what’s going on with CRM, e.g. Salesforce.com, and what you’re doing with activEcho that’s going to be affecting that environment?

Anders: Well, what we’re doing with Salesforce right now is we announced a partnership in December [2011] where you can now buy mobilEcho off their mobility op exchange, which is just basically a section of AppExchange. We also built some specific inte
gration into mobilEcho,
which allows you to–when you’re sharing a presentation, for example– automatically log into Salesforce.com and log that activity that you presented in the presentation. So, that’s what we’re doing today.

With activEcho, we don’t as of yet have any plans we’re talking about that we would be integrating anything along Salesforce.com and activEcho, or any other CRM platform at this time. But that might be something we do in the future. I will say more generally, though, that when we look at mobilEcho, for example, we just use that as a way to access all these different file repositories.

And I think I’ve already said this; I’m repeating myself, unfortunately. We access the servers and NAS [network-attached storage] devices today, we could access stuff that sits up in the cloud, we access the activEcho server obviously, we’re going to have access to SharePoint next quarter, and we’re looking at some other data repositories, but I’m not going to mention their names.

We haven’t really decided which ones we’re going to do yet. But they’re more from an ECM [enterprise content management] space. That’s the request we’re getting right now. And that’s something we’re looking into that potentially we might do later this year.

Joshua: Does activEcho have the ability to mobile enable any application?

Anders: We move files. So as long as the stuff fits in some kind of file–like a Word file, a PowerPoint file, an Excel spreadsheet, it could be a video file, it could be a sound file, it could be a graphic file, a photograph, whatever it might be–that’s what we’re able to move.

We are, in essence, really application independent. So we deal with the file. The application isn’t all that important from that perspective.

Joshua: Are you evaluating Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) interoperability services to broadly address the ECM space?

Anders: Well, like I said earlier, we have gotten requests from customers to look into having mobilEcho access certain content repositories, some of the more popular ones. That’s something we’re looking at. But that’s the extent of what we’re doing today. That’s with mobilEcho.

In regards to activEcho, we do not want to become an enterprise content management solution. That’s not our intention. We probably wouldn’t do very well there because that’s not what we are.

We’re simply trying to provide very simple enterprise file sharing, secure enterprise file sharing for those customers who really need to have an on-premise implementation of the enterprise file sharing. ActivEcho can take an existing NAS infrastructure and then present it as a part of an overall mobile file share and sync–into the mobile file, share and sync  environment.

Joshua: What would you say is the level of Microsoft Active Directory-directory integration?

Anders: Well, both activEcho and mobilEcho are heavily integrated into Active Directory infrastructure. We use Active Directory to authenticate the users. So that happens with mobilEcho when you log into it.

We also use it to set access control rights for various folders, for example, or file shares that may exist. That’s more applicable for mobilEcho because of the way it functions.

When you log into activEcho, for example, you use your Active Directory credentials to log in, basically. So there’s no need for you to memorize any other type of password. You use your Active Directory credentials to log into it.

I would say that we’ve done more to leverage the power of Active Directory than many, if not all, of the other players in this particular space. Part of that is because we’re running on-premise. There are things that we can do that you really can’t do when you’re working in a cloud space and you’re not controlling exactly who has the ability to share a file with other people.

This concludes our series with GroupLogic, recently acquired by Acronis. GroupLogic, like Accellion and Mezeo, provide products in the file-synch-and-share segment of IT industry.  As this segment matures, you will see more coverage from DCIG.

In Part 1
of this series, GroupLogic shares how it approaches the market for
“enterprise file sharing” or what DCIG has been calling
File-Sync-and-Share.

In Part 2 of this series, we explore
licensing options and how the enterprise mobility space has opened up a
new market for GroupLogic.

In Part 3 of this series, we look at how GroupLogic integrates customer-driven innovations into
its products to stay ahead of the enterprise file share and sync curve.

In Part 4 of this series, we look at how GroupLogic integrates customer-driven innovations into
its products to stay ahead of the enterprise file share and sync curve.

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