Pierre-Eric Belzile runs IT for several enterprises. He knew they needed a better file sharing solution when he discovered employees were using free services like Dropbox to store potentially confidential information.
“Being on a public service and sharing sensitive files, you can’t do that,” says Belzile, who is vice president of information and communication technology for three entities – the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the Bell Centre (where the team plays), and evenko, an events company that handles more than 800 shows a year in Canada and the eastern United States.
The larger problem was that the internal file-sharing system these enterprises used for years was clumsy and inefficient. Belzile sought a solution that would ensure employees and outside parties could access files securely and easily from multiple devices.
“I started to look at the mobility of files, being able to send huge files – sometimes we have some graphics, a poster or small video,” says Belzile. “All the touring companies that are coming through are sharing files with us, all the marketing companies doing graphics and artwork, any publicity we do with newspapers or the web. So we needed the ability to share files with external partners, with employees, and to be mobile.”
After considering some other options, including Dropbox, Belzile opted for Egnyte’s Cloud File Server.
“I started it as a small pilot project” early in 2012, says Belzile. He was impressed enough to go all in on the enterprise edition by last November.
Egnyte is designed to enable easy file access and transfer for users via permission-based folders. The software also allows users to share by easily attaching file links to emails, documents and web pages, and via social networks and texting.
Customers can store files exclusively in the Egnyte cloud or they can opt (as Belzile did) for Egnyte’s HybridCloud, which includes the company’s off-premises cloud and a local cloud deployed as a VMware virtual appliance that synchronizes files between on-premise storage and the cloud file server.
“One of the best things about Egnyte is that the appliance is running here in my building,” Belzile says. “The appliance is like one of your servers, and you designate that server to sync with Egnyte on the cloud.”
For administrators, Egnyte offers granular permissions at every folder level, along with audit reporting and authentication integration designed to make central management and monitoring of activities simple.
Belzile says the ability to designate a person as a “standard” or “power” user is important to him because of the large number of business partners that share files with the events company in particular.
Power users have access to all Egnyte features, including file access via browser, desktop mapped drive, FTP client or mobile device, while standard users – touring companies, journalists, etc. – have limited access options (browser and mobile).
Belzile says the two Egnyte appliances his enterprises are using each store 4 terabytes of data (though Egnyte offers storage from 100 gigabytes to 16 TB). For the pair of appliances and support, Belzile estimates he’s paying Egnyte about $1,600 a month, an outlay he considers well worth it.
“Sometimes it’s not about money, it’s about the functionality you need to make your operation run better,” Belzile says. “I saw Egnyte as something that would solve not eight or nine of my problems, but all of my problems.”