Data is one of the most significant assets of every organization and with digital transformation acceleration fuelled by the pandemic , the need for storage has increased.
Founded in 2009, Storage Made Easy provides a multi-cloud data management and data protection product called the Enterprise File Fabric™. It solves the problem of unifying enterprise storage data into a single, secure, collaborative namespace irrespective of whether company data is located on-premises, a data center, or increasingly, the Cloud.
We, at The Technology Era, had a conversation with Jim Liddle, the CEO and Co-founder of Storage Made Easy to find out more about the company.
A Core Problem that Led to the Inception
From the start, Storage Made Easy’s journey was focused on solving the core problem of ‘ how does an enterprise secure and present data from different sources to its end users’, whether that is on-premises data, or on-cloud data.
At its MVP inception the File Fabric supported very few storage solutions, but today it supports over 60 including SMB / NFS file servers or solutions such as Nasuni, Microsoft Azure, Google Storage, Amazon S3, and many S3 compatible enterprise storage solutions such as Cloudian etc.
Let’s have a look at how it works.
A Cutting-Edge Solution
The Enterprise File Fabric provides hybrid workers a secure unified Workspace for Remote SMB file shares, Azure, and S3 compatible storage Assets, as well as public cloud data stores such as Google Drive, Office 365, DropBox etc.
Inline indexing storage promotes frictionless setup and adoption. No data is replicated or proprietized. Storage metadata is ‘smart-indexed’ and this forms the basis of the File Fabric being able to provide secure sharing and collaboration, content search and PHI/PII discovery, and intelligent policy based enforcement of data for compliance legislation such as GDPR / CCPA / HIPAA.
M-Stream®, an exclusive feature of the File Fabric, is able to accelerate large data assets to/from destinations up to 10x what would normally be expected. FIPS certified encryption ensures corporate file/object assets are protected in-flight and at-rest.
Once deployed the File Fabric provides immediate end user and enterprise workflow productivity gains with transparent DLP compliance scanning and policy protections, enabling a company to make a ROI return on its most important asset, its data.
The original vision and mission of Storage Made Easy was to provide intelligent policy-based enforcement and productivity enhancements across the company’s entire data estate satisfying three major imperatives:
- A single unified namespace into corporate data sets for end users and system workflows.
- ‘Joined up’ Data Governance / Data Compliance / CyberSecurity for corporate data assets wherever the data may be stored.
- Frictionless, non-proprietary Enterprise-Class deployment.
The company values encompass honesty and integrity which is of the highest importance with its investors, employees, business partners and customers.
Helping Businesses Protect their Data at all Levels
Major data breaches have been commonplace these past months, and although the File Fabric has always been well positioned to add additional data protections, Jim tells us that this has been even further enhanced in the latest product release.
There are many layers within the File Fabric that can help protect a company’s data. At the physical level, the product determines whether an inbound connection should be accepted. At the authentication level, the product integrates with existing corporate Identity Access Management solutions such as LDAP, Active Directory and SAML to validate user authentication. An additional Two Factor authentication module is also available to be activated for additional security even where storage solutions such as SMB don’t support this which is not only an additional security layer but can also now be a pre-requisite for cybersecurity insurance policies.
Once a user is authenticated, all user events are transparently audited and logged. File assets under management by the File Fabric are constantly monitored for PII / PHI information and if detected, the assets are quarantined until they are dealt with by human interaction.
The product can also replicate end user data to a secondary, often cheaper, data store which can be used to quickly restore data in the event of a Ransomware attack, a quicker and easier way of restoration than trying to work with backup sets and backup deltas.
Such features all occur transparently to employees / end users, whether they are working from the office or working from home making it a perfect solution for remote or hybrid workers.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Jim believes that the success of the company is a combination of the technology and the people. The old adage that ‘people buy from people’ may seem out of sync with the modern B2B2C world but it still holds true in the Enterprise.
There are also some key tenets as to why people purchase SME’s product as opposed to perhaps a competing product or solution:
- The File Fabric does not presume to introduce new storage to solve problems a company may have. It works with what a company already has or indeed may yet procure.
- From an ethos and design perspective it promotes – ‘no lock-in’. This means companies have full bi-modal access to their data and they can totally remove SME’s solution and continue to access their data.
- It tries to avoid the ‘centre of the universe problem’ – too many times software is designed in a way that presume that company applications and entry points have to integrate with the software rather than the other way around. The File Fabric is designed to work with existing best of breed enterprise applications, be that from the access and authorisation (LDAP, SAML, Active Directory), right the way through the back-end storage (over 60 storage connectors).
- It is designed with modern access mechanisms and API’s. In today’s world, companies want web scale access not to be locked into proprietary API’s.
- Its people – its solution engineers are some of the best in the business, something the company has been constantly told by end customers.
Always Delivering Value
Talking about the future, Jim told us, “We are a start-up and we recognize that like every start-up we have challenges and aspirations and we look for our technology to have the best platform it can whether that ultimately resides with us continuing as a private company or in the future being part of a larger company.”
He adds, “Whatever path we take we look to deliver value not only to our investors and shareholders but also to our employees and customers.”
Hear it From the Customers
John Dollin, Senior Media Operations Manager at Arsenal F.C. said: “Working with the team at SME has been a great experience and the product does exactly what it says on the tin, it makes it easy. In an ever changing and more demanding media landscape we, as a media team, need to adapt quickly to new requirements and as a result, require tools and services that are flexible and easy to configure. The File Fabric has already proven its worth and with its simple API, it was easy to integrate into our facility.”
Jonathan Dursteler, Director of Technology at Adams Wealth Advisors said: “The transition to the cloud has been pretty easy and our users have been using the system seamlessly.” He adds, “we are pleased and happy with the File Fabric and have streamlined our processes while also improving our security and compliance.”