As your enterprise begins to grow, you must answer some difficult questions. For instance, how many of your corporate digital assets are saved to the local hard drives of laptops that leave your office each day? If your one-person accounting department smashes the hard disk in his or her computer before resigning, do you have a backup of those files?
The answers to these questions revolve around your organization's ability to manage its data. However, with PDAs able to carry entire customer lists and engineering plans these days, data management is increasingly complex. So how do you lasso in all that data that's walking around without a leash?
Novell now offers data management tools that don't require the use of the Novell operating system or client. One example is the Novell iFolder. This tool has great promise, and it might even help you become a better data cowboy.
How iFolder works
No matter where you're located, iFolder uses standard protocols to provide access to your user files. It replicates files from your local computer or laptop to a central repository. From this repository, you can back up the files and manage access to them per user or for multiple users.
When you log in to an iFolder-aware computer, it replicates the files from the central store to the system you're using and presents a directory view. If you choose to edit or view a document, it retrieves the file from the repository to the local system. Afterward, the system transparently puts it back in the repository. For most application formats, it transmits only the changes you made, not the entire document.
The basis of the system is the iFolder server. This server ships with NetWare 6, but it's also available for Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Linux, and Solaris. The exceptions are the Linux and Solaris LDAP v3 directories, which aren't yet compatible with the iFolder services.
If the iFolder server is installed in a Windows environment, it communicates with Active Directory, with the option to use Novell eDirectory. However, eDirectory is mandatory, not optional, when the iFolder server is installed on the Novell, Linux, and Solaris families.
Once the server is up and running, you can install the lightweight client to gain access to your information via an interface that gives you an iFolder drive within Windows. If you can't load the thin client, you can access your files via a secured Web site. More advanced users might even map to multiple iFolder servers with Novell's NetDrive software.
No matter which client you use, all data is encrypted when it's transmitted, which eliminates the need for a VPN connection. In addition, the iFolder administrator can encrypt the data on the drives to keep files safe from prying eyes.
iFolder helps protect your digital assets, and it will also make your life easier the next time someone loses a laptop. Novell is offering a 10-MB account on its test server, so take this opportunity to try iFolder for free.