REVIEWER: Dallas LaRose, enterprise systems supervisor for GSD&M.
BACKGROUND: GSD&M Idea City has become a leading national marketing communications and advertising company, using the power of purpose-based branding and dynamic collaboration to create a destination for visionary ideas that make a difference to our people, our clients, our country and the world. GSD&M Idea City is part of Omnicom Group, Inc.
PLATFORMS: VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The ability to collaborate both internally and externally with clients on creative ideas and concepts is critical to the success of GSD&M Idea City. This collaboration requires the sharing of large digital assets, including documents, audio and video. With an increase in the size and number of files being exchanged electronically, email quickly proved incapable of supporting the transfer of these large assets. Idea City needed a way to exchange large files both internally and externally that was reliable, easy to use and low maintenance. Due to the countless benefits of virtualization, we have adopted a virtual first policy. As a result, it was important that the solution to this problem integrated into our VMware environment.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The core functionality of the Accellion product is secure large file transfer. The Accellion solution was delivered to us as a virtual appliance, which is preconfigured with an operating system and applications that you can simply transfer to VMware and start up. We were able to set up the system and transfer files within minutes. The system is reliable and resilient, and we have yet to find a limit to the size of files we can successfully transfer. The product was designed specifically for delivering large files securely. Today, our users quickly and easily transfer large files internally and externally using the Accellion Virtual Appliance. The feedback from our employees and clients has been very positive. In addition to shorter times for file distribution to clients, vendors and partners, there is also a cost savings associated with the ability to send files electronically as opposed to physical shipping. We are also leveraging the return receipt functionality to ensure that files are delivered and attachments are being received by our clients. Additionally, utilizing the auditing and reporting functionality, we now have a better understanding of the types and frequency of files that are being sent. This enables us to have a better handle on our data needs and to build our business processes around these needs.
STRENGTHS: Reliability, ease of use and ease of deployment are clear strengths of the Accellion product. Our clients are very happy with the reliability; when we send a file through the Accellion system, it works 100 percent of the time. The maintenance is very low, as our internal users and clients can quickly pick it up and use it without requiring any type of assistance or training. The cost of the appliance is very reasonable, and it will pay for itself within the first year when we factor in the elimination of courier and overnight charges and IT support hours. Having the Accellion product available on a virtual machine was a definite strength as it parallels with our virtualization efforts. The fact that it is a virtual appliance makes it self-updating and self-maintaining, further reducing our total cost of ownership.
WEAKNESSES: It would be nice if the product allowed for interface customization, such as the addition of a company logo and change styles through CSS without having to engage Accellions professional services team (and pay the associated fee). The only other weakness we encountered was using the Java applet on the Macintosh. The Java applet enables users to attach not only files but also file folders. After speaking with Accellion about this issue during our deployment phase, they are looking into the possibility of addressing this issue in a future release.
SELECTION CRITERIA: In addition to following our virtualization strategy, we chose Accellion because it was by far the most agile and reliable solution we discovered. Accellions virtual appliance provided the best support for virtualization of any secure file transfer products on the market. Accellion clearly jumped ahead from a technology standpoint, including support for virtualization, completeness of solution, and ease of use and deployment. In fact, we believe Accellion is the benchmark for how a secure file transfer solution should work.
DELIVERABLES: The primary deliverable is the ability to successfully send and receive data files to our clients, vendors and partners in a secure and fast manner. An added bonus is the reporting we get out of the system, which helps us better understand our data needs and how to manage those needs.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Accellion was extremely responsive to our needs during pre- and post-implementation. From start to finish, their support manager was engaged with us. Their technical knowledge of the product and how it interacts with our environment was A+.
DOCUMENTATION: For a base installation, the documentation was complete and easy to understand. In order for some of the more detailed product configurations, we did have to speak with customer support.
Accellion Secure File Transfer Virtual Appliance
1900 Embarcadero, Suite 207
Palo Alto, CA 94303
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