Trevor Walters, Vice President at Ross Maritime, shares how his organization uses BitTorrent Sync to keep critical documents synchronized between vessels, ports, and their central office:
Ross Maritime is a shipping agency headquartered in Mobile, Alabama that specializes in streamlining the passage of passenger and commercial vessels through the Port of Mobile, the ports of the Gulf Coast, and further. We specialize in logistical solutions to meet a vessel owner’s needs, including everything from agency services to freight forwarding.
The nature of our work requires close coordination with a myriad of government agencies, from US Customs to the individual Port Authority that oversees each harbor. Each public agency and private ship management company requires careful tracking of documents like customs forms, cargo manifests, and passenger logs. It’s absolutely essential that this sensitive data is kept secure and updated.
Before BitTorrent Sync we exclusively used USB thumb drives to move data back and forth between vessels in port and our central office.
This was secure, but incredibly cumbersome and time consuming. Employees spent hours driving back and forth between ports, sometimes late at night or on the weekend depending on when vessels were arriving or departing.
We also used a single laptop, which we called the “football,” as a master source of the latest forms and timesheets. The football had to be taken to all of our branch offices to update their forms and files when new versions were available, which was a real pain.
In our search for a solution cloud services were out of the question. We’ve found that such solutions are resource-intensive on access endpoints and oftentimes our employees need to synchronize data in areas with poor connectivity, where uploading to or downloading from the cloud is difficult. We also regularly are entrusted with sensitive personal and financial data as part of our operations and needed a solution where such data existed at rest exclusively on our own private infrastructure.
Brent Nevison is the CEO of Wolverine Investigations, an IT consulting firm whom we retained to help us in our search. Brent recognized that Sync’s P2P technology provided a more secure alternative to the public cloud.
He introduced us to the product, saying that “BitTorrent Sync would provide the workflow improvements Ross Maritime needed and at the same time deliver on the security and reliability aspects required.”
Brent was right — BitTorrent Sync offered an ideal solution.
It’s fully cross-platform, so we run an instance on a central linux server in our main office that syncs data to Android tablets used as endpoints. We can easily push new documents or formats from the server to the endpoints, and when an employee updates a bill of lading or other document in the field, they don’t need to do anything and data is automatically synced back to our central office.
With Sync, data moves even when connectivity is poor and the application uses very little resources on the tablets.
No more thumb drives or laptops to bring back and forth!
We also use CrashPlan to backup all the data on the central anchor server for additional redundancy. Sync has saved us literally hours in lost productivity and provides the peace of mind that our data will both be accessible and secure.