By far the most common feedback we have received regarding Simul Documents Teams is:
Hey, this is great and it really adds value… but… there’s no way we can upload our confidential documents into the cloud.
This makes sense, there are a lot of pros and cons of a hosted service and each organization will have a different set of priorities.
We are excited to announce that you can now choose to run Simul’s version control software on your private infrastructure.
So, you’ve evaluated Simul Documents Teams online for free and want to leverage it in your organization.
You now need to decide which edition is right for you. Let’s start with a general pros and cons list of cloud vs hosted (on-premise) software:
As always, there is no obvious choice. This blog will try to give you an idea of what this means in the context of Simul and an understanding of how our software can fit into your organization.
Documentation is extremely important to all businesses and who you share it with should be carefully considered. At Simul we take security and privacy very seriously. As stated in our terms, we never index the contents of your documents. This is one of our main differentiations from Google Docs who profit from consuming your content.
There have also been reports of legitimate users having access to their Google Docs blocked when algorithms have incorrectly identified the content as a breach of its terms and conditions: Google Docs is accidentally blocking access to documents.
Our enterprise edition takes privacy one step further and allows your documents to never leave your private network. The only communication between Simul Enterprise and our servers is to validate licenses.
Our enterprise edition is functionality identical to our cloud offering. We strongly recommend you evaluate Simul online with some test documents before considering the enterprise edition. You can get started for free here.
Your IT support team will install and configure the software on your local intranet. Simul Enterprise will then be accessible by a URL which will only work within your private network. It will be at the control of your IT administrators who can access the service.
Simul requires a dedicated Windows Server 2016 machine on your network. Once registered, you can download our installer which provisions all of Simul’s services and allows you to configure how Simul functions.
Simul Enterprise is installed using Windows Containers. This means that our software is isolated from your network and doesn’t require any service accounts or permissions.
The entire process is automated and once complete you will see a status page like so:
This shows all of Simul’s services, the URL Simul is listening on (it will respond to all URLs which resolve to the server) and provides links to configure the product. The URL will be determined by your network administrators.
Simul Enterprise supports storing documents on any local directory or drive, network attached storage (such as a SAN) or in Azure Blob Storage.
This allows you to store documents on your existing systems taking advantage of your current redundancy and backup infrastructure.
A complexity for organizational governance is that they are not the owner for an identity registered with a cloud service. Typically, users register using their email address and create a password. If an employee leaves your organization, they will still have access to the cloud service and its contents. Even terminating their email access will most likely not be enough to prevent them accessing the service. Users can also simply share documents with their personal accounts.
Hosting the service on your own network and using Active Directory for authentication provides a solution for user management. When bound to Active Directory, Simul Enterprise will only allow valid users to login and restrict sharing of documents to members which exists in the same organizational unit.
Security is the number one reason businesses take on the additional complexity of hosting a service internally. Even the most secure platforms are still more vulnerable when hosted on the internet. Preventing access to the service at a network level could stop scams which have hit cloud services in the past: Google Docs users hit by phishing scam.
Simul Enterprise allows you to configure an SSL certificate ensuring documents are always encrypted during transmission on your network. This allows you to operate Simul Documents as an Extranet is desired.
Keeping software up to date is paramount to keeping it secure. Simul’s cloud service is constantly being patched with zero down time. This is possible due to the nature of our cloud environment, we can provision new updated servers and replace our existing ones on the fly.
Applying updates is a little more cumbersome in an enterprise environment. Your administrators would be responsible for periodically checking for new updates. Simul’s installer requests authorization to install new updates when they are available. This is because there will be a short outage to the platform as they are applied.
Simul Documents will automatically ship updates to our software and the Microsoft virtual containers isolating our product.
In more sophisticated enterprise environments, it may be necessary to host two instances of Simul allowing for users to test updates before applying them in production.
The most expensive aspect with on-premise software is the local support. This is often underestimated; storage, servers, network changes, monitoring and planning updates all need to be considered.
It’s crucial you have trained IT professionals available in your company to install and support Simul Enterprise.
We recommend having your IT support services review our support documentation before installing our product.
To get started, you need to register for a fully functional 60 day free trial license [here]. We currently review each application manually and will get in touch as soon as possible with download instructions.
You can then follow the instructions in our Installation Guide
Once installed, Simul will require a valid license download from our dashboard. You can find details here.
You will need to upgrade your free trial if you want to enable more than 10 concurrent users or continue using Simul Documents after 60-days.
Simul Enterprise licenses are acquired in blocks of 10 seats. A seat is a slot which any user can occupy and a given time. If you have purchased 10 seats, you can assign 10 users to use the platform concurrently. Users can be swapped at any time by your administrators.
Simul also supports auto-allocating of seats meaning that when a user signs-in they will be automatically assigned a seat if one is available.
Please review the following articles to gain a better understanding:
Simul Enterprise is the same software that we run in the cloud and hence is well tested and robust. However, please be aware that the installation procedure, licensing and updates are all BETA products. We would greatly appreciate any feedback and to be informed if you face any issues. We are here to help!
Hopefully this has helped you understand the benefits of cloud vs on-premise software and specifically shown how Simul can best help your organization.
We are excited to bring superior version control to private intranets and hope you enjoy working smarter with your documents.