F-Secure offers iCloud rival to operators


F-Secure has launched its Content Anywhere solution, a cloud sync and backup platform designed for ISPs who want 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 has 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.

The Appleverse' shuts out any operator interaction.

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. A lot of other players don't have that area of expertise," said Elizabeth Bell, vice president of global operations at F-Secure.

"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.

F-Secure said it was unable to comment on which operators it was talking to about Content Anywhere.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.