One of the challenges that network admins face these days is the constant fight against the cloud storage system like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google drive, box, etc. These systems are very appealing to end users but are a never-ending source of frustration and a huge security issue for the organization. In addition to being a huge open hole for data to leave the friendly confines of the organization, and in addition to not having adequate password and/or encryption security on the data being removed, the terms of service of these services normally do not align themselves with the best interest of the company.
With that in mind I set off to find a solution that would be a good substitute for Dropbox.
It was almost by mistake that I happened about ActivEcho. I was actually looking for a solution to allow a MobilEcho type interface on Macs and PCs that weren’t on the network. I was asking my sales rep at Acronis about this issue and he suggested ActivEcho.
While not what I was looking for originally, the users and abilities of this software quickly piqued my interest. This piece of software was far and away better than the Dropbox that most of my users were using. Some of the features that made it superior are:
1) Essentially unlimited storage. It is only limited by the size of the storage array I attach to the server.
2) Integrated with Active Directory (and thus enforcing my password security policies on it.)
3) Encrypted file storage
4) The ability to restore precious versions.
5) Logging to see what happened when and by whom.
6) No Terms of service that conflict with proprietary rights.
7) Price based on user base and not storage amount.
8) Data is hosted in house on our servers.
9) Integrates completely with MobilEcho on mobile devices.
ActivEcho has a web interface as well as a PC and Mac client.
Because my network is spread out and connected via expensive MPLS data lines, I prefer not to use them to transfer the data to the ActivEcho server, so I configured my DNS to give the external IP address of the server and the configured the local firewall to redirect that IP address to the correct internal IP address. Another way to do it would be to put the server in a DMZ behind the firewall. So the one downside to the whole solution was the additional internet bandwidth it requires in my configuration. But still it is better than using the expensive MPLS bandwidth.
The user adaptation has been very high and it a great collaboration tool to use with clients and co-workers alike. I highly recommend this software for anyone looking to get our of the Dropbox trap.