The Great Eastern Shipping Company needed a remote collaboration solution for its employees at sea. The solution would have to be secure, in-house and not cloud-based, with centralised administration. It would need to support iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Most importantly, it would need to work with limited Internet bandwidth in the middle of the ocean. In short, the solution would have to be Filr.
About The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd.
As the deputy IT manager for GE Shipping, Nilesh B. Kamble needed a shipboard collaboration solution.
“It was very difficult to access files residing on file servers from any location or device,” he recalls. “On ships, bandwidth is a huge constraint. We couldn't use email to send attachments larger than 4 MB. We were using legacy FTP to share files with external parties, but it didn’t provide the security and audit features we needed.”
In fact, bandwidth limits made it nearly impossible to simply use email aboard ships. Many times, employees weren't able to send or download important files.
The ability to share large files was one of the top criteria Kamble used in his search for a solution. Other requirements included:
- Security, an in-house, secure sharing solution that wasn't FTP or cloud-based Mobility, a solution that worked
with iOS, Android and Windows Mobile
- Ease of management for IT, with centralised administration and LDAP support
- Ease of use for employees
“File-size limitation was a huge problem,” he says. “We looked at other solutions, but they were all cloud-based and didn't fit our requirements.”
After learning that Filr could solve the bandwidth problem and meet all GE Shipping requirements, Kamble brought it aboard.
“As we have a VMware environment, the installation of Filr was fast and easy,” he says.
“Web-based administration is allowing us to manage remotely from anywhere. Employees can simply use the Filr app on their smart phones, tablets or web browsers. They have the flexibility to choose the device.”
In addition, Filr didn’t require Kamble to move files to special servers so users could access them. It also protected the existing file, user and group access rights IT had already established.
“Files remain on the same file server behind the firewall, so our data is protected,” he explains. “Filr gives me the ability to determine which files and folders my users can share either internally or externally. This helps my IT team to have complete control over file sharing.”
GE Shipping employees are enjoying the ease of use, and Kamble is enjoying the ease of management that Filr provides.
“We are currently observing how Filr helps with employee productivity and efficiency. Employees are used to solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive for their personal use. Filr is just as easy to use, and it helps improve their collaborative work,” he says. “Filr eliminates the email file versioning syndrome and allows users to leave comments for each other, so everyone stays on the same page.”
Since deploying Filr, GE Shipping has been able to decrease the email attachment size limit because employees use Filr for sending bigger files. Decreasing the mailbox sizes has reduced mail server backup time and storage utilisation.
“Now our mail server won’t become a file server,” Kamble says.
File transfer security worries are also a thing of the past for GE Shipping.
“Filr allowed us to stop using FTP for file transfer to external parties,” he says. “With Filr, employees on ships can securely share files of any size to internal or external recipients, even with limited Internet bandwidth.”
Kamble predicts the company will eventually save 50 percent or more in backup time and storage requirements because of Filr.