As the world grows more and more connected virtually, people and systems are distributed further and further physically. Companies don’t work traditionally anymore; digital workplaces are quickly becoming the new normal. Cloud services have helped implement new methods of productivity and collaboration, but the transition from traditional office environments to a secure mobile-first, remote workforce still has much room for improvement.
We know that most organizations have a mixed bag of tools and systems for collaboration.
Thanks to the BYOD movement, most have a variety of devices in play ranging from mobile devices, tablets, and laptops, to desktops with different operating systems. The commonality for all these devices is that they usually always contain important organizational information. If we are honest, we must admit that we all have documents on our local devices that we should have stored on a secure, centralized management system like a file server, ECM, or cloud collaboration tool but never did; that mission-critical information now lives on our local devices.
And with cloud service accounts being so easy to spin up and navigate, remote workers have wasted no time introducing Shadow IT into an organization’s environment. While they provide critical remote productivity and collaboration capabilities, the downside to these services is that most control is assigned to the end user. As an organization, it can be very difficult to regain control over that content.
So when it comes to content integration projects, most organizations have three major, distinct use cases to address: content within centralized on-premises systems, content stored within cloud systems and content on local drives and devices. The ideal scenario would be to consolidate all that data to a single location or even synchronize it, so it is available on each system; to do so, however, you’ll need a content integration platform capable of meeting each unique deployment requirement.
Content within centralized drives
This is where traditional migration and synchronization tools deliver on their value, at least when it is just one location they need to include in their scope. However with most tools, a multitude of locations means that you need to configure each setup repeatedly; if the configuration is not centralized, the reporting will not be centralized, causing a lot of overhead in project oversight.
If your content integration platform includes the concept of Remote Site Agents, the administrator can configure the important, high-level synchronization parameters and distribute the responsibility for the location- and system-dependent parameters to the administrator of each location or subsystem via the Remote Site Agent. Under this scenario, the administrator can control the integration parameters from a centralized environment while letting the experts in the particularities of their locations/systems handle those more granular settings. Meanwhile, the Remote Site Agents will communicate important details on the file transfers to a centralized administrator console, enabling centralized oversight of each location.
Remote Site Agents live behind the firewall, eliminating the need to open any incoming ports. The communication between the Remote Site Agent and the administrator console happens over an outgoing https tunnel. The Agent delivers a direct line of communication between the source and destination platforms and locations, eliminating the need to pass the content through a proxy.
Content within cloud services
When synchronizing content from cloud-to-cloud, there is no reason to deploy your migration or synchronization tool on-premises. Downloading the information just to upload it again is simply not a good practice. For cloud-to-cloud, you should choose between two options: Running your synchronization from the machine hosting your administration console, or hosting within the public cloud. In a powerful content integration platform, the administrator console should contain a synchronization engine allowing you to run the synchronization jobs from the same machine where the administrator console lives. However, if you need to scale beyond a single machine, you may want to consider deploying a Remote Site agent on a virtual machine hosted in Azure or AWS, depending on your preference or affinity with the different IaaS offerings.
Content on local drives
For most migration and synchronization tools, this scenario is often overlooked. The reason most lack support for local devices is not hard to understand: local devices are remote and difficult to reach, resulting in a high impact on administrators when an organization decides to include them in its integration project. Additionally, the state of devices can be a mystery: Is it going to be powerful enough to run the synchronization software? Do we need to support Windows, Mac, and Linux, etc.? New to the enterprise content integration market is the idea of giving power back to end-users. With a robust platform that provides Desktop Agents, you can easily include these devices in your project scope. Desktop Agents support all major operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux, and are light-weight engines specifically made to operate on local devices. The administrator can configure the important synchronization parameters – e.g., which systems the local drives can synchronize to, which file types are allowed, etc. – but it is the end-user that ultimately defines where and when the content is synchronized. This type of self-service allows the administrator to provide the common centralized configuration, while the end-users perform their specific synchronizations or migrations.
These particular, complex deployment requirements can all be met by the SkySync Content Integration Platform – which truly delivers content without boundaries. SkySync’s Desktop and Remote Site Agents enable an organization to pick up all content on local drives and make it easier for a single administrator to manage multiple remote locations. These different deployment options allow you to completely customize your synchronization and migration projects through without burdening IT staff.
Jethro Seghers is the Program Director at SkySync. He is responsible for Technical Evangelism, Product and Brand Recognition. He has over 15 years of experience in consulting, development, marketing, and product management. Jethro was an Office 365 MVP for five years. He is an internationally recognized author and speaker for Azure, Office 365 and Cloud Services.