By MATT GALLAGHER, Red Herring journalist
As NTP Software’s CEO Bruce Backa is fond of saying: “The business of file data management may not be as sexy as Google or Facebook, but like death and taxes you can’t get away from it.”
Luckily now you don’t have to. Thanks to NTP’s Universal File Access, a product the company debuted this week, file data management can be done from the beach, the golf course, the car pool in rush hour traffic.
It works as simple as Dropbox’s “synch and share model,” uploading digital content from any device with a few simple commands, but is far from ubiquitous. The company provides an end-to-end solution that enables corporate users the ability to interact safely and securely with the organization’s file data from any device on an Internet or mobile connection.
Content is immediately compressed, encrypted, and sent to the data center, where corporate policies are automatically enforced by software. NTP Software claims to be the only vendor with extensions in the OS and file systems of Windows, NetApp, EMC and HNAS. Policy enforcement is the company’s special sauce. Cloud agnostic, UFA uses the cloud only to transport, not to store the sensitive data. The tool enables 1000 mobile devices to connect to the database with a secure connection.
“Our goal isn’t to synch with every machine and share it with your closest friends,” Backa said. “Our goal to recognize these are valuable digital assets, governed by security. In addition to encrypting them, we ensure existing data center policies continue to be enforced. Objects used in our application receive the same security they’d get from a desktop.”
It’s an ideal tool for insurance adjusters on the road downloading sensitive accident photos that could be used in a court case, or child welfare agents on assignment sharing sensitive client data within the agency.
Founded in 1993, the 20 year old company has a rich history in file data management. It started working with Microsoft to help consolidate file data management on Windows. In the early days of the Windows NT platform, Microsoft competed against NetWare, which had intrinsic quota reporting functions Microsoft lacked. NTP provided Windows a higher level of file data management, and overtime, adapted their software to perform similar functions for the platforms of NetApp, EMC and HNAS.
That kind of legacy has earned the company an impressive list of clients that include 82 of the Fortune 100 and 76 of the Global 100. Its markets include government and education, finance and insurance, technology and media, healthcare and life sciences, energy and retail. Honda, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, and Starbucks use NTP’s products. Every day, over 20 million users are using the company’s software.
Its traditional products include NTP Software QFS, an integrated policy engine; NTP Software File Reporter, a file analytics tool; and NTP Software File Auditor, an audit and compliance tool. Each is deeply integrated with the OS and file systems of Windows, NetApp, EMC and HNAS.
Its latest product UFA features a Cloud Connector, which maintains a connection between internal storage hosts and the BYOD Manager. It integrates with Windows Active Directory and provides control over limits on size, quantity and type of file data. Connecting end user devices, its BYOD Manager provides flexible caching options, proxies Active Directory security and aggregates communications. Its BYOD Suite provides end users with the ability to immediately upload and delete file data, and allows for lost or stolen devices to be shut down and wiped of business-critical information.
The new product puts NTP’s technology closer to the user, which essentially opens up its market to the smaller business community and completely changes the game, Backa explained.
“Up to now, we just managed storage, and end users don’t really know we exist,” Backa said. “With this latest tool moves us much closer to the end user, the person who really drives benefits from the technology. Overtime, this will allow us to reach smaller and smaller players. Previously, you had to be in at least the top half of all organizations to have enough storage, people and money to get real value. With this, even a one person company could get value.”
To Backa’s knowledge, its new product offers a singular technology that begins a new space competitors have yet to enter. NTP’s data center heritage and legacy technology put it at a unique advantage. Backa estimates the company is ahead of the competition by several years.
“Nine women can’t make a baby in a month,” Backa said. “If a company plunks $100 million on the table, they can’t write technology faster. This technology takes years to develop.”