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Ctera rocks up at BYOD party with big boy's cloud storage

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Employees using their own laptops, tablets and smartphones under bring-your-own-device policies at work can securely access enterprise cloud storage facilities through gateway supplier Ctera.

Ctera sells a Cloud Storage Gateway appliance through which an enterprise's servers can send files and backups to the cloud. This appliance can be embedded as a virtual machine, although that facility hasn't been productised yet.

Ctera is introducing iOS and Android mobile apps. Mobile users can access their encrypted folders, in the cloud and on the Ctera cloud storage gateway, protected with personal passphrases – "passphrases" being the term and not passwords. At the cloud end, Active Directory integration allows to authenticate users with no additional IT overhead or manual intervention.

Ctera says "the apps ... include native support for opening various image formats, and enable uploading files to the cloud, including photos taken with the device’s camera."

The focus here is file-sharing, not file synchronisation.

This is not a Dropbox-like facility with file synch across the devices. A laptop user – with differnt Ctera app – can update a file and the updated version will be seen by tablet and smartphone users with mobile Ctera app access.

However, if users update a file on the tablet and smartphone, it is not copied to the Ctera-entered cloud, and remains on the tablet/smartphone device. This is a limitation/feature of this first edition of the mobile app and may be extended in the future to include Dropbox synch-type functionality.

The channel-friendly company sells its products to private and public cloud service providers (CSP). Public CSPs can brand the mobile apps themselves and sell them on as an own-label mobile cloud access app to consumers and business users. SwissCom IT services is currently doing just that.

The mobile apps are free to Ctera customers and will be available to download from the iTunes App Store and Android Market later this month. ®

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