F-Secure iCloud rival opens to operators

The security firm entices operators to go head to head with Apple's cloud storage offering.

F-Secure today unveiled its Content Anywhere solution, offering a cloud sync and backup platform to ISPs wanting to challenge the likes of Apple’s iCloud.

The security company hopes operators and existing customers - like Virgin Media - will jump on the service to offer a "more flexible" platform to build things akin to the iCloud and DropBox.

F-Secure built both the web-based desktop client and mobile applications working across iOS and Android devices for Content Anywhere. The apps will not appear on Windows Phone 7, even though F-Secure has a tight partnership with Nokia.

Operators can then customise the various front-end options, giving them branding opportunities and getting rid of any F-Secure logos if they so wish.

The Finnish firm will host as much data as operators want them to, and will even build data centres if companies want to host information in their home nation. In most European cases, F-Secure will host information in its chief data centre in Paris.

According to F-Secure security advisor Tom Gaffney, the iCloud is currently somewhat “restrictive.”

“The ‘Appleverse’ shuts out any operator interaction,” he said.

As for why operators wouldn’t just build their own cloud sync and backup service, Gaffney told IT Pro such services are particularly hard to build.

“Sync is way more complex than just backup... rather than just being a DropBox, this gives providers flexibility in their offering,” Gaffney said.

He admitted the cost would go up significantly if operators wanted to have F-Secure build them a unique data centre.

“If an operator does want to host data in their own environment, it does make an economic difference,” the F-Secure researcher added.

F-Secure believes its two key differentiators here are the security expertise it can bring to such cloudy services and its solid understanding of the operator space.

The company uses the same scanning technology from its security products in Content Anywhere, including a sandboxing feature to separate and check the integrity of files being loaded into the cloud. This also includes the ability to check whether files are breaching copyright laws.

“A lot of our services really do cater to the needs of operators," said Elizabeth Bell, vice president of global operations at F-Secure. "A lot of other players don’t have that area of expertise."

“We have a good feel about what those customers want.”

F-Secure already has a good base of cloud backup customers, with 40 operators signed up to its offering, including Virgin, which provides its V Stuff service over the platform.

However, it would not comment on which providers it was having talks with about upgrading to Content Anywhere.

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