Nov 23, 2011 (10:11 AM EST)
Trend Micro Offers Secure Cloud Storage For Workgroups

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

Trend Micro's SafeSync for Business is a cloud storage application aimed at workgroup and collaborative app storage and sharing. It goes above and beyond competitors' simple cloud storage or cloud backup offerings.

You manage the SafeSync environment from a Web console, from which you license the product, add new users and network folders, and control available storage. Once you have licensed the product, you download clients directly from within the console. You add new users by using their email address, to which they are sent a link for the appropriate client software for their platform (Windows or OS X). Mobile users on iOS or Android can download the mobile client from their appropriate store.

Once installed on the client desktop computer, the application creates a SafeSync folder, the default folder that is synched to the Trend Micro cloud. You can create subfolders and give users access only to the folders that they need for their work. Any folder on the client computer can be made a SafeSync folder, allowing data to be shared to the cloud with a few clicks of the mouse. The folder can be synchronized as a new online folder, or it can be connected to an existing folder in your SafeSync cloud. Once SafeSync is configured on all of your desktops, the shared folders will be kept synchronized at all times. Only the mobile clients have their content reloaded on access to the application.

You can even share data externally by creating a public link to specific content. From the Web console simply right click on the item you want to share and select "Get link to this". For example, I created this link to a copy of the screenshot below. Unfortunately, these links, which are hosted by Trend Micro, contain ads.

For more traditional uses, the SafeSync folders offer features such as document versioning, access from any Web browser, bandwidth management, and unlimited file size uploads (up to the size of your contracted storage). For business licensees, service-license agreements (SLAs) are in place, with a schedule of discounts that are applied to the monthly rate if uptime goals are not met. If monthly uptime drops below 96%, customers are offered the option of terminating their contract.

Prior to this new version of SafeSync, only the network connection to the Trend Micro datacenters was encrypted. Now, user data is stored on encrypted drives--an included service Trend Micro calls SecureCloud. Given some of the issues that have arisen over the security of cloud data, this is a major improvement and an advantage over better-known options such as DropBox and box.net.

Both the SafeSync Windows desktop client and the Web console are straightforward and easy to use. Unfortunately, the mobile software is somewhat lacking. The iOS client is extremely limited, basically only suitable for browsing the SafeSync shares that the user has access to. And though the Android client offers much more functionality for uploads and making use of files stored on the cloud, it too has some odd limitations. Most notable is that it can only upload files that are on an external microSD card, not files stored on the phone's internal memory.

I can see how the mobile apps would be of interest in industries such as insurance and real estate as photos can be taken and immediately uploaded to the cloud. In these cases, SafeSync might be too limited. But because mobile devices are more often used in other businesses as content-consuming devices and not content creation, the limited capabilities of the SafeSync mobile application might not be a deal breaker.

Pricing for the business version of SafeSync, which differs from the consumer version by offering team-sharing synchronization and the SLA guarantees, starts at $90 for 50GB per user.