U.K. Start-Up Claims First Smart Enterprise SyncFebruary 28, 2012
Wall Street Journal
by Ben Rooney
Cloud-based storage is a hot topic, with Google Drive aiming to challenge the popular Dropbox. But a British company has launched what it claims is the first intelligent synchronization tool aimed at sharing for companies, not just individuals.
Huddle Sync looks like a good contender to solve the problem of allowing company documents to be worked on by multiple users in a controlled environment, allowing executives to work on their own desktop and more likely, mobile devices.
According to CEO Alastair Mitchell, “There is a conflict between what users want, the ability to work on their own devices, and what the company wants, security. A small U.K. company has delivered a world first.”
Personal synching tools have been available for sometime, he said. But providing those tools for the enterprise is much more complex. “Enterprises have to sync not just an individual’s data, but that of everyone across the organization and make it securely available offline on multiple devices.
“Consumer sync tools lack the security, scalability and intelligence required for the enterprise. They’re a time bomb of costly data loss waiting to happen.”
What Huddle has done is to take a simple computing technique, a shared drive, and brought it up to date. “A shared drive is a shared space on the network where everyone can post their files. Most companies have them. But if you are outside the [corporate] firewall you can’t access it. What people then do is to use their personal email, or perhaps other tools which are designed for individuals, not enterprises.”
Effectively what Huddle has done is to put a shared drive in the cloud. Users can see all of the data on the drive, but the system only downloads onto a user’s laptop or tablet the files that he or she needs to work on. How does it do that?
“We figure out what is the most important information to you. We use learning algorithms to determine what you need. It uses the same concepts as Autonomy. It learns who you are, who you are working with, what workspaces you have access to, which folders you use, and who you work with.
“It works out those documents you need based on that. In the background it pushes it to your device, encrypted, so that when you get on your plane and you need to work on, say, a spreadsheet, it is already on your iPad.”
All data is encrypted and the system has a remote wipe capability so that should a device be lost, data can be deleted and access denied. The system launches today in public beta.
Huddle, with offices in London and San Francisco, was established in 2006. It was recently given clearance to allow U.K. government classified data be used on its service.