100% availability for Safe4 again in April 2015

Safe4 continues to record the highest possible availability levels for its secure online document delivery and storage service, with 100% availability for April 2015.  This means that the law firms, will writers, accountants, financial advisers, insurance brokers and their clients who are now using Safe4 in ever-increasing numbers to deliver and manage confidential information are enjoying completely uninterrupted access to the system, wherever they are based.  Safe4 is also used extensively in the health sector and by very high-profile groups within the UK public service, which again means that the information that they provide is available whenever it is needed.

As well as recording such high levels of availability, response times for displaying information held in Safe4 have been falling.  Information is therefore being accessed more quickly and effectively – average page display times have fallen to 477 milliseconds.

If you would like more information about Safe4, please get in touch.  We would be delighted to help you to manage confidential information with complete security.

Safe4 achieves 100% availability again in March 2015

Based on figures from an independent agency, Safe4 has been given a 100% availability rating for March 2015.  This means that not only is Safe4 among the most secure services on the internet, is is also available at any time, from anywhere.  Safe4 aims for 99.99% availability, and has reached 100% on many occasions since its inception in 2010.

Added to an average page delivery time of half a second, this makes Safe4 a fast and safe option for the delivery and management of confidential information.  This performance rating has been achieved in conjunction with ever-increasing numbers of users and volume of information stored.

For more information on how Safe4 can help your business to get information to clients and other external parties faster and more securely, please get in touch with us.  We will be very pleased to assist.

Share files internationally

We are pleased to announce the release of a small – but important – update to Safe4.

Over the last 18 months Safe4 has seen increasing use of the system to share files internationally. Until today Safe4 displayed all dates and times in GMT/UTC. This update has provided the ability to show the dates and times in your local timezone, making it much easier for international users to understand the information presented without needing to do time computations.

Time settings are configured in the “My Account” page, reached by clicking on your name in the top right.

At the bottom of the My Account page you will see three options :-

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 15.41.24

 

  • Location – Select the major city closest to you. The system will also take into account daylight saving time at your location if it applies.
  • Date Format – Select the display format for dates.
  • Time Format – Select your preferred format for the display of times.

Safe4 hope this new feature will make it easier for you to share files internationally and for your international clients to easily understand the chronology of the files transferred in the system.

More uptime availability and performance success for Safe4

During January 2015 Safe4 maintained 100% availability of the service except for a short period  when our hosting partner applied a critical security patch to the infrastructure.  Since we take the security of our customers’ information very seriously it was felt that applying this patch was essential. The downtime was scheduled for overnight at a weekend, so it is hoped that it did not impact any of our users. Please accept our apologies if you were unable to access the service during this time.

Availability

We hope you are pleased with the performance you are seeing when using the system. In order to help target improvements Safe4 tracks the time taken to display pages in the system. Since there are a number of factors that can cause performance problems we have implemented an approach which measures the time it takes for you to be able to use a page. This is the most realistic measure we can find.

When developing Safe4 the team treat any page that takes longer than 2 seconds to load to be a defect. This is our performance target.

We are pleased to advise that during January the average (median) page load time experienced was 0.89 seconds. This is well under our target so it is hoped that we are meeting your performance expectations.

Performance

If we examine individual geographies we can see the impact of the internet on the performance.

  • Performance in the UK, where our data centre is based, is averaging out at 0.78 seconds.
  • Performance in South Africa is averaging out at 1.5 seconds, despite the extra network connections we are pleased to be getting great performance here.
  • The slowest average performance at 1.6 seconds seems to be for users in the United States where increased network delays seem to be adversely affecting performance.

Safe4 will continue to monitor performance and availability of the service to ensure that we meet the demands of your businesses. Look out for updates to these charts in the coming months.

Safe4 achieves Cyber Essentials accreditation

Cyber Essentials Badge Medium (72dpi)

The Cyber Essentials accreditation scheme was implemented by the UK Government to establish criteria for the management of information in order to prevent intrusion from external attackers.  Accredited organisations are entitled to display the Cyber Essentials logo, which confirms that they have met the standards required.

Safe4 have received this accreditation, and we are now able to display the Cyber Essentials badge on our website and our secure cloud service.

This is part of an ongoing process to ensure that Safe4 remains one of the most secure sites on the internet.  It is accompanied by annual penetration testing, performed by licenced external laboratories, and constant surveillance of the ever-growing range of internet security threats.

The objective is to ensure that Safe4 customers’ data is protected to the highest standards available, and that our user community in the legal, financial, insurance, health and government sectors can trust their confidential information to Safe4.

For further information, please refer to the Contact page on our website.  We would appreciate an opportunity to speak with you.

Safe4 Information Management Limited

February 2015

New Feature: Index of files in a vault

Recently a number of customers, particularly in the Legal sector, have been asking for assistance with producing an index of all of the files in a vault. Discussing the reasons behind these requests with our customers has shown that while the folder structure is a convenient way to manage the contents it can make it hard to get an overview of the complete vault.

This problem is exacerbated as our users have gained confidence in the usability and security of Safe4. The service is being used for increasingly complex projects and matters involving larger numbers of participants.

Safe4 customers are building increasingly large folder structures and using the advanced security and encryption capabilities in the system to store ever more files – some vaults now have over 100 folders and some contain in excess of 10,000 files.

While the Safe4 servers are more than capable of handling these large vaults – their very size can make it hard for the users to understand the complete vault and to focus their attention where necessary.

To assist with these situations Safe4 are pleased to announce a small new feature that enables Provider users to quickly produce an index of files in a vault.

Accessible from the Action menu on the Clients page, this function produces a simple index of all of the files in a vault in a format that can be saved as HTML or copied into Excel for further processing.

This new feature is available in Safe4 today.

The index function respects the security established in the vault – so a user producing an index can only see those files they are entitled to view.

We are very pleased to see our customers make increasing use of the secure distribution, collaboration and storage facilities in Safe4.

Features, such as the new vault index function, are especially important as they are the result of feedback from our users. We hope that this new capability in the system makes Safe4 simpler for users working with the large volumes of critical information produced in many projects.

Alistair StubbsChief Technical Officer

Later updates to the system will make this functionality available to Client users, and will simplify the process of exporting the index to Excel.

Safe4 Launches New Website

Safe4 is very pleased to announce the launch of a newly designed website. In developing the new site we have tried to ensure it contains information for both prospective and current customers.

As well as a new design, which you will see roll out across all our material in the coming months – we have restructured the website to help you find the information you need more quickly.

The site is structured around the benefits and features of the Safe4 service that any business will obtain by making use of the solution. While these provide important information we have added a much clearer section on “Business Sectors” which provide specific examples of how the Safe4 service can deliver specific benefits in a range of industries and business sectors.

Covering Legal and Professional, Finance, Property, Health, Public Sector and Corporate uses these pages provide a lot of insight into how Safe4 can supplement your existing processes and deliver significant returns.

We have also taken the opportunity to make it easier to find Case Studies, and detailed White Papers applicable to different industries which provide much more detailed information on how a business can maximise the value of using Safe4.

Finally News and Articles have been provided which list product development news, customer announcements, security advice and other business ideas.

We hope you like the new design and the structure of the information in the site. Please do let us have your feedback and suggestions for more information you would like to see in the system.

Reporting of carbon emissions is becoming an issue – and soon

New legislation will shortly be putting pressure on many organisations to reduce their carbon footprint.  This applies to small and medium-sized companies too, if they are suppliers to either public-sector organisations, or corporates that fall within the scope of the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment requirements (annual energy expenditure of more than £500,000, or listed on the LSE main exchange).

But before any organisation can start to think about reporting on their carbon footprint, they must of course measure it – what is the starting point?  This will almost certainly involve the need for specialist skills and tools – hence the importance of the partnership between Safe4 and Co2conut.  Safe4 can assist with bringing down carbon emissions by reducing dependence on paper and hard-copy information deliveries; Co2conut can provide expert guidance, and access to tools that will help with the accurate measurement of current emissions.

How does this issue affect your business?  We would be glad to hear from anyone who has a view on this issue – please post your blog entry below.

Safe4 Moves All Customer Data to the UK

Moving to the UK

You will have seen the announcement by Ben that we have moved the hosting of the Safe4 system from servers based in the US to the UK, where the majority of our current customers are based.

This means that all your files and data are now stored in the UK. This can, in most cases, make it much easier for you to comply with Data Protection requirements.

Background

Like a lot of internet services, Safe4 is run in the “cloud”, which provides you as customers with fast connectivity and gives us, as a service provider, flexibility, resilience and much easier growth without the headaches of buying, installing and maintaining a lot of hardware.

When we started Safe4, almost 2 years ago, we considered a number of options when we selected our cloud provider including capability and location in the decision. We eventually selected Rackspace, despite at the time their not having a UK offering on the basis of their very comprehensive service, fast connectivity, security and their outstanding support. We knew in making this decision that Rackspace were developing a UK based service and that we would move when the need arose.

The “need” became much more important during 2011 as we grew and new customers have asked, increasingly, for their data to be based in the UK. So we have taken advantage of the availability of cloud infrastructure in the UK to “move house.”

A lot of planning is needed in order to achieve the move with as little disruption to our customers as possible. In the end the site was unavailable for a little less than 25 minutes overnight one day last week – the real test is whether you actually noticed?

Making the move

It is an honour that you trust us with your business data, and it is something we take very seriously indeed – it is not acceptable for us if there is any risk of missing data!

Therefore one of the key challenges we had to solve was how we moved all of the files that have been uploaded to the system and know beyond any doubt that every file had transferred successfully to its new home. It was therefore not enough to simply “copy” the files – the real challenge was to establish whether we had successfully moved ALL of the files that the system stores.

In the end the only way we could satisfy ourselves that the move of the files was successful was to write a dedicated tool that moved the files one at a time, and then validated that the file had been successfully moved. The final run of the tool took over 3 days to move every file. The tool was very successful making it easy for us to see the progress of the move and to satisfy ourselves that the move was successful.

Designing in scale

We took advantage of the planned move to redesign how we implement the infrastructure that runs the system, to allow us to grow more easily in the future and to build in more resilience into the service. We have also changed some of the configuration of the application servers to further improve the security of your information.

We believe that our new infrastructure is better placed to grow as the needs of our customers increase and the Safe4 business continues to grow at the rate it has over the last year.

What’s next?

We have some major development activity planned for this year, beginning with an update to the service that will provide Safe4 with the ability to track multiple versions of the files on the system.  Look out for this update in the next couple of weeks.