Flexible Security

Flexible security almost sounds like an oxymoron.  How can you provide the flexibility you need while maintaining security?  In our blog post on 10/14/16 (The Balancing Act of Security), we discussed the need to balance security with the usability of software.  AMS Connect is designed to be flexible enough to adapt to your individual security needs; we offer a variety of features that you can adapt to your specific requirements.

  • Dual-Factor Authentication – This feature, when turned on, requires users to verify their identity through a unique code sent via text or email. This feature can also remember (if enabled and the user selects it) a particular computer/browser so that the user only has to authentic once for a designated time frame.
  • Granular Security – Since its inception, AMS Connect was designed to provide security down to the individual item. Meaning that in order for a user to access a specific item in the software, they have to be granted access.  Additionally, if the user doesn’t have any permissions to an item (even a matter/workspace) the user won’t be able to see the item.  This is perhaps the main feature (in addition to custom branding) that makes AMS Connect stand alone, very few if any SaaS collaboration solutions offer this kind of security.
  • Groups – To ease the setup of new users, an administrator can create a group for each matter. For example, under Client A’s workspace you can have a group called “Firm” for those within your organization, a group called Client A Executives for the executives who need high level access to their information, and a group called Client A Admin for the administrative team at Client A.
  • Password Rules – The AMS Connect software allows administrators to set up customized password rules. Do you want a simple 4-digit pin or do you want a 20 character, upper case letter, lower case letter, special character, etc.?  AMS Connect can match to your password requirements, even setting password expiration and preventing repeat passwords (up to a number of your choosing).   Additionally, AMS Connect allows you to set your account lockout fail number (e.g. user inputs wrong password three times, the account is locked).
  • Password Forget – In the event you have users that have a tendency to forget their password, you can turn on a feature that allows the user to have their password reset automatically. The user simply clicks on forget password and inputs their email address (the one in the AMS Connect System) and their user id.  An email is generated to the user with password reset instructions.

There are many other features that are customizable as related to security.  If you need to step up to the best and most flexible security contact us today.

Customized Branding

Branding is an important component in the successful management of your business which speaks about who you are and what you offer. Branding is the business practice of telling your customers and employees what they can expect from you, setting you apart from your competitors.

What is your brand?  Elements of your brand include your logo, your color palette, your website, and any marketing or promotional materials.  Any and all of which are used to communicate who you are and what you offer.

An established brand is obviously vital with regards to externally sharing your business (e.g. marketing purposes), but what about your internal branding, resources used by your employees and customers? The AMS Connect software provides our clients with a truly customized extranet that makes your users (including your customers) feel like the site is truly theirs.

No matter your industry, your customers need to know that when they use your site (for purposes such as sharing documents or updating project management databases) their data is secure and that they have complete control. AMS Connect provides this security and assurance, and then takes the application one step further by taking your branding elements such as your logo and color scheme, and incorporating these into the extranet used by your customers on a day-to-day basis so they feel as if they are utilizing your website versus a third party software.

Our secure extranet site can be completely tailored to match your brand and your website, incorporating your logo, colors, images, verbiage, and overall feel so your customers have that sense of security which is a top priority of AMS Connect.

Contact us today to see how we can create a customized extranet site for your organization that matches your unique brand while providing your customers with data security and protection.

Not Your Average Database

The database feature in collaboration software can be one of the most utilized and valuable tools that you will use on a day-to-day basis. Anything that you would use a spreadsheet to track or manage, our database feature can do and then some. Database needs vary depending on the organization and internal/external needs; as such, our resource is designed to assist you in organizing employee or client data, tracking duties and assignments, customizing work flows, and efficiently managing projects.

AMS Collaborator is constantly improving our database tool with the goal of enhancing flexibility, usability, efficient organization, and customization to provide you with a tailored resource with security remaining a top priority. As part of our recent release of updates to the software, the database feature underwent a number of improvements, including:

User Interface Updates

In addition to the general user interface updates affecting the overall look and feel of the database tool, many of the navigation and operational elements within the database feature have been enhanced to create an easier and more intuitive workspace for end users. Complete customization is an element of the AMS Connect software that gives our clients the ability to create functional databases for each unique need.

Sortable View Lists

View lists within the database feature may now be assigned a custom sort. This feature controls the way views are displayed, both from the view list as well as when working within a particular database. This update simplifies searching, creating a simpler overall process.

Display Options

Additional options have been added to further control what displays within a database view. Similar to the sortable view lists update, this update created a more streamlined visual effect in addition to providing you with ability to securely manage who views what within your database.

View Record Scrolling

Record lists that display more data than can fit on the screen will now contain list scroll bars so that records can be viewed without scrolling away from other page elements such as navigation controls, paging, and record operations.

The modifications made within the database feature of AMS Connect have created a more user-friendly, simplified, and functional resource. Contact us today to see how the AMS Connect team can help you efficiently restructure and manage your database and online collaboration needs.

Intranets vs Extranets – What is the Difference?

Everyone has heard of the internet. In fact, we all use it nearly every day, and even our cell phones can be used to access content from the internet on a daily or hourly basis. While virtually everyone understands what the internet is, most of us get confused or wonder if someone needs to learn how to spell properly when we see the words “intranet” or “extranet.”

What is an Intranet?

Wikipedia describes an intranet as “a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol technology to securely share any part of an organization’s information and network operating system within that organization.” The key words here are “securely” and “within that organization.” This means that only members of the organization have access to that particular set of electronic files.

The concept of intranets first appeared a few years after the public introduction of the internet and the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.  They are in wide use today, providing a familiar environment for employees and executives to access company information.  Security is usually managed through the network, requiring some form of local authentication.  Information is often proprietary and strictly pertinent to the company.  Perhaps the most widely known intranet software solution is Microsoft SharePoint*.

What is an Extranet?

While an extranet has many similarities to an intranet, an extranet performs a very different function. The Wikipedia entry for an extranet describes it as “a computer network that allows controlled access from the outside for specific business or educational purposes… an extranet is similar to a DMZ in that it provides access to needed services for channel partners, without granting access to an organization’s entire network.” Here we see some key terms: “securely” and “access from the outside.” While both intranets and extranets differ from the internet in general because of the “security” component, the key differentiating factor between intranets and extranets is this: Intranets are designed to communicate within an organization and extranets are designed to allow for communication outside the organization.

Read along in our next post as we discuss how to determine which to use (an intranet or an extranet) in what situation, depending on a variety of factors and needs.

How Secure is your Cloud?

Ask this question, “Where does my file go?” Can the provider provide an audit trail—not just to the individuals with whom you have chosen to share your file, but perhaps more importantly, individuals and organizations you have not chosen to share with. When a file is deleted, is it gone? What surprises may be found six months from now—or six years? Even if the file is not directly shared, what about the content? Providers routinely scrape file content so that full-text searching can be performed. But other purposes can be applied to that scraped content as well: tagging and matching files, recommendations to related services (advertising), and even notifications.

For most service providers, file sharing and collaboration is nothing more than a commodity service. Accessibility trumps security. It is easier to answer the question, “Can I access I my files?” than it is to ask the question, “Who else can access my files?” If the provider cannot or will not answer that second question, then seriously consider what information you are willing to post.

Articles are becoming increasingly common raising this question. Virtually all of the major providers have undergone some form of review and critique. With a commodity service, agreements are limited and often in the favor of the service provider. Some providers have admitted to back-end sharing of data. Some scan the content of all files posted to provide additional services such as directed advertisements and connecting interested parties.

Any service provider that offers “free” or “freemium” service is likely making up the cost through one of these methods. Careful review of the service agreement often demonstrates exactly what rights to security and privacy the end-user is giving up when posting content to these providers.