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Weill Cornell Medical College
Office of Academic Computing improves the way
internal and external researchers share information,
with Accellion.
“Accellion’s secure file
sharing solution was
exactly what we
needed. Not only can
internal users transfer
files quickly and easily,
but external users can
use the solution as
well. The issues we
dealt with in the past
have been completely
Steven M. Erde, PhD, M.D.
Senior Director and Chief
Security Officer
Cornell University’s Weill Medical College (WMC), situated in the heart of
New York City, operates one of the premier medical research institutions in
the United States. Comprised of various research centers and institutions
dedicated to a wide range of medical studies, Cornell’s Weill Medical
College has built a reputation for excellence in numerous medical fields.
WMC’s Office of Academic Computing (OAC) supports more than 5,000
computer users, over 100 servers, and numerous clinical, research, and
administrative software applications.
The College’s own research laboratories have been completely renovated in recent years, increasing
the laboratory space by more than 25% and enabling more extensive research by medical faculty
members. The WMC OAC is creating innovative computer systems and applications for specific
clinical and research projects, including cutting- edge work in genetics and structural biology. It has
also created hundreds of award winning web sites for both Weill Cornell and New York-Presbyterian
Hospital— as well as dozens of critical back-end systems to support the Medical Center’s Internet and
Intranet resources.
The faculty members at Cornell University’s WMC have a long history of medical research in a variety
of fields. Medical researchers need to share information with colleagues and collaborate with research
partners around the globe. In addition to WMC’s world-class research institutions, WMC operates one
of the premier medical universities in the United States.
The nature of medical study and research makes it a collaborative science; students and researchers
must work with classmates and colleagues in order to complete classroom and research projects.
Researchers often work closely with each other to develop grant proposals, compare results, and
finalize presentations. While technology has allowed researchers to trade and compare data more
efficiently, often times the sheer size of the files sent by medical researchers can pose problems for
the parties receiving WMC files.
Cornell employs a number of methods to alleviate the strain sharing large files can place on servers,
but external users, outside of WMC’s infrastructure, can encounter difficulty receiving data from and
transmitting data to researchers at Cornell’s WMC. Steven M. Erde, Ph.D., M.D., Senior Director and
Chief Security Officer at OAC, recognized the problem presented by the electronic transmission of
Case Study |
Weill Cornell Medical College
Quick Facts – Weill Cornell Medical College
Deployed Since
Number of Users
1000 internal
unlimited external
Custom Web Interface
Email Integration
Mobile Integration
Eliminated need for end
users to use FTP and
offloaded file attachments
from email servers
Ability to share and receive
large files in real time, with an
easy interface for non-
technical users
Reduced IT support for file
transfer issues
medical research to external recipients. “Researchers need to
share a surprisingly large amount of data, and often do so via
email, which can pose problems for individuals not operating on
the WMC servers,” said Erde. “It was important that we identify a
method that would allow for the quick transmission of research
data to external parties, and would simultaneously permit
recipients to transmit data back to WMC researchers.”
to WMC personnel, we had to identify a solution that wouldn’t
require them to undergo extensive training or have detailed
technological knowledge of file transfer systems.”
OAC finally settled on Accellion, a secure file sharing solution
that offers an intuitive interface for internal and external users.
The solution provides a web interface for users to send an email
with a link to the file in lieu of the actual attachment. Recipients
simply click on the embedded link and the file—which can be up
to 20 gigabyte in size —is downloaded from the Accellion
solution, shortening the amount of time it took to share files, and
improving the process for all involved
Erde began to research ways to resolve the problems presented
by sharing large files. Cornell’s WMC had implemented a file
transfer protocol (FTP) solution that allowed users to transfer
large files with external parties via guest accounts.
Unfortunately, the FTP solution proved to be far too complex for
the average user. In an attempt to update the WMC’s file transfer
system, Erde turned to solutions that were both effective and
The WMC team specifically wanted a web-based solution in
order to minimize needed training and ensure ease of use. “The
reason that so many people depend on email to share files and
information is because everyone knows how to use it,” said
Erde. “As one of our main objectives in finding a new file sharing
solution was to help external users easily send information back
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Accellion, Inc. is an award-winning private company that provides mobile solutions to enterprise organizations that enable increased business
productivity while ensuring security and compliance. As the leading provider of private cloud solutions for secure file sharing, Accellion offers
enterprise organizations the scalability, flexibility, control and security to enable a mobile workforce with the tools they need to create, access
and share information securely, wherever work takes them. More than 12 million users and 2,000 of the world’s leading corporations and
government agencies including Procter & Gamble; Indiana University Health; Kaiser Permanente; Lovells; Bridgestone; Harvard University;
Guinness World Records; US Securities and Exchange Commission; and NASA use Accellion solutions to increase business productivity,
protect intellectual property, ensure compliance and reduce IT costs.
Email: sales@accellion.com
Phone: +1 650 485 4300
Accellion, Inc.
1804 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
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For additional successful deployments: www.accellion.com/resources/case-studies
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