Businesses face a common challenge in how to securely and seamlessly exchange data with other organizations they work with. The secure IT solution is to set up an FTP connection, but this takes time and isn’t exactly integrated into the non-IT workflow. Impatient users will often take the ‘Shadow IT’ route and share a Dropbox, Google Drive or some other consumer cloud service folder with those partners. Adeptia Connect provides a more seamless solution that adheres to IT security requirements.
Another Shadow IT Problem
Shadow IT is the use of IT services by non-IT users outside of the watchful eye of the data center, a common example being the sharing of data with suppliers, customers and business partners. The problem is that Shadow IT for collaboration leads to either a “share everything with everyone” strategy or creating a shared folder for each specific relationship.
The shared everything option not only puts all of the organization’s data at risk, it can also place the business partners’ data at risk. For example, at Storage Switzerland we’ve been asked to upload data to a shared folder which also held the work of other competitive companies. Since this would have given us full access to those companies’ data, we obviously declined.
In most cases the problems with a ‘shared everyone’ folder leads to creating a specific folder for each relationship and sometimes one for each project within those relationships. This causes another problem – orphaned folders – either at the client or project level. For example, we have access to a folder that a client created for us over two years ago. The project has long since been completed and the company has actually been purchased. But this orphaned folder still exists, giving us access to data that we no longer need and probably should not have.
The problem is that the IT team seldom knows that these folders are being created. And even if they do, they don’t know which ones are legitimate and which folders have outlived their usefulness and should be removed. As stated earlier the IT solution to this problem is to create FTP sites for this data exchange. Of course, it takes time to create specific FTP sites and their use is not as seamless to the connecting partners. There is also still the issue of manual maintenance being required for each folder.
Managing Data Relationships with Adeptia Connect
Adeptia Connect resolves this issue by creating a managed connection between a wide variety of cloud solutions and their partners. With the Adeptia solution, a company creates a series of ‘connectivity adapters,’ similar to a company profile on LinkedIN. Each adapter is for a specific type of data that needs to be received or sent. A company might have an adaptor where it wants invoices uploaded or it might have an adaptor where it places updated price lists to be downloaded by a specific set of business partners. There can be 4 types of adapters – File In, File Out, API and Form. IT can manage and monitor these adapters as needed.
In addition, Adeptia Connect allows business users to integrate cloud applications between businesses by selecting from dozens of preconfigured use cases. To support this, Adeptia Connect provides data mapping capability for non-technical users to convert structured data between the applications.
Real World Example
As an example Storage Switzerland might use this to solve one of our biggest challenges, receiving the right presentation from vendors that are planning on briefing us. We are involved in 15+ calls per week with these vendors and almost always there is a last minute scramble to find the presentation or to make sure we have the latest one.
With the Adeptia service we could publish a file-in connector that would allow vendors to securely upload their presentation without being able to see other presentations in that folder. This could be made generally available to those vendors as part of the calendar invite. That connection could link to a folder on our file, sync and share service via the application connector which is accessible to our dispersed team. The net impact would be that we would always have access to the correct presentation without having to dig through or wait for emails.
The ability to quickly create a series of folders that can be accessed by potentially thousands of organizations in a seamless, secure fashion brings tremendous value to both the organization’s users and their IT staff. Adeptia also provides a way to rein in Shadow IT by putting a control layer over the very applications that are the source of the problem. With it, users could continue to use the application that they have already adopted while IT can make sure that organizational data governance needs are meet.