Archive for the ‘FileCloud’ Category

Top 5 box Alternatives for Business File Sharing in 2020

 

Looking for alternatives to Box? Many people want Cloud Content Collaboration software to help with the interface, file sharing, file support, and file Audit. What’s important is finding out what software is right for you. We have a list of Cloud Content Collaboration tools that are best suited for your needs if you are looking for an alternative to Box.

Before jumping on to the list of the best alternatives, let us breakdown and see what box offers and compare the features with others

Box

Box is a cloud content management solution that enables enterprises to transform how they operate digitally; enabling a secure, digital workplace that drives employee productivity and team collaboration from anywhere, while streamlining collaborative business processes and driving intelligence across the extended enterprise.

The system places a strong emphasis on security, especially with collaboration and workflow. For instance, a user or administrator can protect their shared links via passwords set with an expiration date. Or, they can view the times and frequencies of when specific content is viewed or edited. Box also allows users to share content outside of the company (i.e. clients or other partners), no matter what device they use. It does offer 10GB of storage for free

  • Mobile access
  • Integration with other applications  such as: Microsoft Office, Google, Salesforce, DocuSign etc
  • Ability to add/edit multiple users
  • Editing documents
  • Workflow automation
  • Box Notes functionality for project management tasks, such as status updates and meeting notes
  • Custom branding
  • Global compliance standards, such as ITAR, HIPAA, PCI DSS 3.1, FINRA/SEC 17a-4, FISMA, ISO27001:2013, and ISO 27018

 

Box Sync 4.0.8004 Download for Windows / Screenshots / FileHorse.com

Pros

  • Sync allows users to sync folders/files from Box Cloud to your finder so it feels like your just working from finder but it’s being backed up the cloud! BoxSync when used in conjunction with a box account does a great job of doing automatic backups on the cloud, that also help in access from different computers/collaborators simple.
  • Box is a great way to securely store and share files in the cloud. The granular permission settings within each folder allow the administrator to help regulate privileges from editing to downloading, and reading which is a great tool when looking to share with multiple parties at different levels.
  • Box is easy to set up and uses with decent functionality for the initial version
  • MetaSearch on Enterprise allows granular searching. Every time someone has ever used a single word is indexed.
  • Security focuses on compliance, encryption, enterprise-grade management.

 

Cons

  •  There’s no indication when a file is open by another user. This has led to multiple users editing a document, and those documents don’t merge well or at all, leaving a red exclamation point indicating there’s an issue or an alternate file.
  • When compared to its competitors (Google Drive/OneDrive), Box does look a bit unappealing owing to its price tag.
  • For new users, it can be a bit difficult getting started with Box
  • Box sync doesn’t work on older Windows OS versions
  •  The user interface is not the best for Box. It’s not as user friendly as some of the other software

Now that we have covered some pros and cons on Box let’s go through some of the other  FileSharing software available

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is simple. It’s just a folder—a magical folder that syncs everything you put in it up to the cloud. Before Dropbox, file sharing and sync were geeky and confusing, so it’s no wonder that it quickly became the default cloud-storage app after it launched in 2007. While it’s far from the only way to sync your files, the hidden features put Dropbox a step ahead of the rest.  Dropbox has provided the opportunity for employees in the organization to manage and share files locally and remotely without the need for carrying thumb drives from workstation to workstation. Not only has this feature enabled flexibility and efficiency in the workspace but also improving the standard of work, saving time and energy as compared to other file management solution. While the sharing of information is critical Dropbox for Business allows the administrators to issue special permissions for users to access links and files. Administrators can further perform other security tasks such as the setting of expiration dates for every information that has been shared with the Cloud. These types of security measures are available to avoid a breach of information on Dropbox for Business.

 

The new dropbox.com—files and team activity, all in one place ...

Pros

  • File Versioning – Once a file has changed still it keeps an older version of the file and can be accessed as well which is great and is kind of a backup on its own.
  • Dropbox has fantastic conflict resolution features – automatically creating a “conflicted copy” of a file whenever a potential conflict is detected (i.e. a file is being edited by two people at the same time).
  • Dropbox also has plugins for Microsoft Office that allow for multiple people to edit a file simultaneously without creating conflicts.
  • Dropbox provides a “smart sync” feature, allowing for files to be seen on the computer locally, but not stored locally until opened up. This allows a user to access all of his/her Dropbox files without using up disk space

Cons

  • Dropbox for Business is very limited compared to alternatives. Both Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 cost comparable or less, and includes not just file syncing capabilities but an entire office suite.
  •   You cannot edit files without downloading them. It would be great to see this feature added in the future.
  • The Dropbox file compression will degrade the media quality to a noticeable extent when clicking a direct play link.
  • Mobile version faces challenges when dealing with big files hence not as flexible as the desktop version Syncing folders from desktop

 Google Drive

Google Drive is simply a cloud-based storage option that gives you the ability to keep your photos, emails, and other files on their server.

But having extra storage is just the beginning.

Google Drive also comes with a suite of office tools rivaling the heavyweights from Microsoft Office, including:

  • Docs, Google’s word processor comparable to Microsoft Word
  • Sheets, Google’s version of Excel
  • Slides, the Google answer to PowerPoint

You can even share these documents and make edits in real-time so collaborating with your team has never been easier.

How to Use Google Drive | Tips, Tricks, and Advice | Digital Trends

Pros

  • With mobile application and website access, You can access your files anywhere you have internet.
  • It is free, which makes it a great asset to any small business that does not have a lot of funds to spend on IT.
  • Readily compatible with many apps. All your data stored in one place. With your google account, all the stored data can be accessed at any time.
  • Ease of installation, ease of setup and you don’t need the knowledge to use it as an end-user.

Cons

  • The processes of uploading (automatically), deleting, scrolling, and downloading are tedious as they have to be done by checking each file.
  •  Sometimes the interface could become a bit cluttered with the files that were uploaded and it was difficult to tell which ones were most recently shared/ uploaded without sifting through and organizing them myself, however, this is probably more of an aesthetic issue.
  • There isn’t an offline option to work on a document saved to Google Drive.
  • No mounting to your computer to use as a hard drive

 

One Drive

Microsoft OneDrive supports a specific file-syncing technology called block-level copying, where files are broken into smaller packages. When you make a change to a file, only the packages that house those changes are re-uploaded to the cloud—instead of the entire file. The result is data transfers that take far less time. Microsoft OneDrive’s backup options are more limited, only allowing for photo and video backup. But on the plus side, you get more control over your photo backup settings, including organization options for new photo uploads and the ability to select a file type for HEIC photos

 

Microsoft OneDrive - Screenshots

Pros

  • It interfaces with the Microsoft suite well, which is good if you’re already engaged with much of the other software applications. Being able to access anywhere with the shortcut is very useful.
  • Great with device synchronization which ensures access of files from any device. Integration is more reliable and effective. Cloud storage of data makes it’s easy to access files and documents.
  • Multiple files can be uploaded simultaneously. If we add the Active X tool, you can upload elements unlimitedly.
  • , OneDrive is far easier to set up than using a flash drive. The reason why is because all you need to set it up is a Microsoft account and you’re good to go!

 

Cons

  • Private vault doesn’t have great 2FA options. Need to get an authenticator app code, vs just using something like Windows hello – More difficult to upgrade storage once you get past 1TB
  • It has less storage on a free plan compared to drive.
  • User Interface is clunky and takes time to get used to
  • Synchronization of shared files needs work.

Citrix Sharefile

The latest version of ShareFile has updated workflow options allowing you to send documents out for signatures, feedback, and approvals. There’s integration with Microsoft Outlook, which lets you push document attachments directly from Outlook to ShareFile, sharing those documents securely with others. There are new desktop integrations, similar to those you’ll find in Dropbox, which let you do drop a file into a folder on your Mac and have it synchronize with ShareFile so it’s available on all your device. While it still lacks the kind of refined group management tools we see in a file-sharing application, the service’s Distribution Groups are a move in a good direction.

ShareFile Dashboard

Pros

  • Great plugin support, such as the Outlook plug-in makes provision for secure file-sharing with customers as well as secure emails very easily.
  • Flexible folder creation and sharing.
  • Easy to share and request for large size files to personnel inside and outside the organization
  •  Ability to integrate with existing Office 365 Deployment for ease of use. It allows multiple remote teams to collaborate in real-time with a simple management process.

Cons

  •  Interface not always intuitive compared to other solutions.
  • Not commonly used in all industries, presenting a learning curve to some users.
  •  Sorting out your preferences, in the beginning, is time-consuming. As a standalone product it suffers from not being that well interconnected to Google and/or Microsoft products.
  • Sharefile subscriptions come with very different pricing options with varied features. So, if you go with a basic plan you would only get basic features like storage and sharing. Other plans are a little bit costly and include features like Office 365 co-editing, Gmail and Outlook plugins, encryptions, and electronic signatures.

FileCloud

FileCloud, by Codelathe, is an on-premise as well as a cloud-based file sharing and sync solution offering a much secure environment for sharing and storage with unlimited client accounts allowing for a much greater ROI (return on investment) compared to Dropbox. The client base spans globally with over 3000+ enterprises.

FileCloud has been focusing on security, data leak prevention, content classification, data governance, and retention for some time with an intuitive and easy to use interface and advanced administration controls.

  • Access files from anywhere for uninterrupted work on the go. You just need an internet connection to access data in real-time
  • Remote file sharing without VPN or FTP
  • A collaborative workspace ensures that multiple teams working on same project can collaborate seamlessly
  • FileCloud ServerLink provides geographically-distributed multi-site enterprise file sharing solution
  • Hybrid storage for fast, low-latency access via LAN and anywhere access from the cloud
  • Security and encryption for protection against data breaches
  • Regulations and Compliance for HIPAA, FINRA, EU-GDPR, FIPS-140 2
  • Unlimited file versioning
  • Free unlimited client accounts
  • A storage agnostic solution which can be deployed across any scale-out NAS or an object-based storage system

FileCloud has two plans FileCloud server (self-hosted/on-premise) and FileCloud online.

Plans start at $5,000/ year for 100 users and go up to $18,000 for the enterprise version. Dropbox’s comparable Dropbox business advanced plan costs $24,000/ year for 100 users.

Uploading Items - FileCloud - FileCloud Support

Pros

  • File cloud allows users to quickly able to upload and share with a customized link and easy to organize. Setting the restrictions is fairly easy as well and notifications of who accessed what is a good confirmation that the intended party received the files.
  • The FileCloud user interface is simpler and completely web-based for full functionality, which is a nice change from the most popular cloud-based file-sharing tools. Drag and drop to copy, click to share, the URL for a file can be easily copied by any user who understands “Paste” into an email.
  • The GUI is simple to use and massive files can be exchanged with anyone anywhere in the world. Speeds for uploading and downloading seem pretty good and there have been no vendor issues when transferring files of 100 + MB to GB.
  • With FileCloud you can share and store commercial data and at the same time offer a backup and guarantee of access through mobile devices. Its interface is very minimalist and you can access its options with a few clicks. There are various ways in which you can access the files of the company or organization in which you work, without compromising security.

Cons

  • The setup process can be a bit intimidating but I found various resources that walked me through the process
  • We would like a better outlook plugin. I feel it could be more powerful and some minor changes would polish it.
  • We would appreciate being able to use a protocol different than HTTPs for the downloads as some companies can restrict it. Having the possibility of using sFTP would bring a huge plus in the flexibility of the tool.
  • It’s not a free service, it costs money.

Customize Your Notification for Better User Experience With FileCloud 20.1 – Admin Settings

In this part, we will delve into different ways in which the Admin can modify notification settings using the Admin portal.

Admin Portal

The administrator can set notification settings with the following methods:

  1. Global notification settings

You can enable global notification settings in the Admin Portal under Settings -> Misc -> Notifications

 

2. Policy

You can also set Policy rules for notifications under Settings -> Policy.

Under Policy settings, we have added a notification tab to manage notifications, as shown below

 

 

In the admin portal, you can also go directly to the Notifications tab and manage/edit path rules manually, provided that it is a valid path of a valid user.

You can also manage Network Folder Notifications from the admin portal. You can enable or disable notifications for these, as shown below

 

Admins can also go to the Users tab to manage notifications for each specific user

 

Customize Your Notification for Better User Experience With FileCloud 20.1 – User Settings

Getting notifications is a choice and we allow our users to make it. Notification is supposed to be a productive intimation rather than a constant, annoying ping in the background. We understand that and have refined our notification settings so that you can opt to get notified for the things important to you and mute or rather not be notified by the things which are not of your concern.

FileCloud’s notification system has been redesigned to give users control over what notifications they receive. Previously, email notifications could only be controlled by administrators, and users could only mute, allow notifications, or unsubscribe from notification emails.

In this update, we have given users the ability to override admin settings (only if the admin has that option enabled), opt for notifications at the granular level, and change the frequency at which they receive notifications.

This blog will be covered in 2 parts.

The First part will be to let you know as a user where you can change the notification settings and in the second part, we will take you through the different ways the Admin can change the notification settings using the Admin Portal.

Notification Settings

These settings can be set and managed in both User and Admin Portals. Before everything, the Admin must enable user override permissions.

 

 

The Main settings are set at the Admin Portal as before. The admin must allow the user to override his permissions before the users can change their notification settings in their portal.

Effective Rules for Notification

The following shows the hierarchy of the notification settings. The settings that come after override the ones before (provided that the admin has enabled the override feature for users).

If, say, the policy settings had disabled certain notifications for a folder, the user can then override this with the user setting and enable notifications.

User Portal

Users are able to change the notifications settings within the user panel, in two ways.

  1. Global Settings – Under Settings there is a new notification tab through which users can change the notification for all their Files and Folders at a time

 

Users can also select the frequency of notification emails here. You have the option to choose instant mail notifications to receive emails for every update or select between for daily, weekly or monthly digest wherein the changes for each file/folder are accumulated and sent at the end of the day, week or month respectively.

Users also have the option to set custom frequencies, where the user can select their preferred frequency (in minutes) to get notification emails.

 

2. Path Rules – Users can also change the notifications from a specific file or folder using Path Rules.

 

Changing to Default

If you have custom notifications enabled and you attempt to switch back to default settings ( i.e. the notification settings from your admin) you’ll get a pop up confirming that you want the user-set notification to be disabled and that the default admin settings will be put in place. You can do this globally or to a specific file/folder.

 

 

Notification Icon in User Portal

After the effective rule is applied, users can view whether the notification for the file/folder is set.

If the effective notification is disabled, then the bell symbol in the Detail tab of the file/folder is inactive.

If the effective notification is enabled, then the bell icon will be blue. The detail tab also lists out the actions for which notifications are enabled, as shown below.

 

In the next part, we will show you how an Admin can change the notification in the Admin Portal. Stay tuned!

Top 10 File-Sharing Solutions in 2020

Top File Sharing Solutions

In our age of information, most modern enterprises have started to move towards the digitization of data. Never have there been quite so many enterprise file-synchronization and sharing (EFSS) solutions available on the market — and while a wide range of choice is always good, it also makes it much more difficult to choose the perfect solution for your organization. 

After all, investing in a solution that offers either too little or too much functionality can cost you valuable time, money and resources. And no one wants that! As such, we’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of great EFSS solutions for your consideration, so that you can pick the one that offers all the features your enterprise might need, while remaining affordable and within your price range. 


Our Criteria

Naturally, being one ourselves, we have compelling opinions about what makes a fantastic EFSS solution. Here are the factors that we’re taking into account when choosing our list of Top 10 Enterprise File Sync and Sharing solutions on the market:

  • Pricing: Shelling out the big bucks doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best solution. Aside from the base price, making sure a solution offers the features that you need (for example, unlimited client accounts) could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
  • User Interface: What good are all the features in the world, if you and your team can’t figure out how to use them — or worse, if they’re hidden in so much clutter that using them feels more like a chore than a convenience?
  • Data Governance & Compliance: If your organization regularly handles sensitive data, you might be familiar with data governance policies, such as HIPAA or GDPR. A good solution helps you comply with these policies and avoid hefty legal fines by offering granular file-access, user policy management and data residency.
  • Data Security: Features like remote data-wiping, encryption in-transit and at-rest, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), and alert notifications help keep your data in the right hands, even when devices are stolen or lost. That’s pretty important!
  • Integration: More than likely, you and your team uses Microsoft Word or Google Docs as your main word processor. Perhaps you send your emails via Outlook. A good EFSS solution integrates with popular office programs such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive and Outlook, so that your workflow stays uninterrupted.
  • APIs: Besides integrating with commonly used programs, the ideal EFSS solution should offer a wide range of APIs so that it can work and interact with the software that your team uses.
  • Customization: When your team, customers, partners and vendors access your files, do you want them to see the EFSS solution’s logo plastered across everything, or do you want to be able to label your portal with your own logo, assets and branding?
  • Mobile & Remote Access: You might not have constant access to your office computer, or even your laptop, but most of us always keep our phones around.
  • Administrative Tools: A great EFSS solution doesn’t just make it easier to collaborate and share files, but also to manage your team. An admin panel for you and your sysadmins to manage user policies, view real-time performance reports and a centralized device dashboard, plus other security tools, is a must.
  • Collaborative Tools: As more and more enterprises move to remote work, we believe that it’s not enough for modern EFSS solutions to simply store files, but also to provide tools for easier, more efficient team collaboration. These include common team folders for remote teams to share files with each other, the ability to comment on files and send messages to each other while working.
  • Identity Management: This means integration with standard enterprise identity solutions, such as Active Directory (AD) and Single Sign-On.
  • Virtual Drive: The ability to mount remote files as local files, so that data is only downloaded when they are being accessed and edited. This means a lot less memory usage on your part, and tons of space saved on your hard drive.
  • Content Management: A good file-sharing solution offers file-versioning, metadata classification, user policy management and light workflows for the easier management and organization of your team’s hard work.

Now that we’re on the same page about what the perfect EFSS solution looks like, without further ado, let’s move on to what you’re here for: the list!


1. FileCloud

Browsing Folders - FileCloud - FileCloud Support

  Pricing: FileCloud Online: $10/user/month (Standard), $15/user/month (Enterprise) || FileCloud Server: $4.20/user/month | FileCloud Server: Contact for Quote

✓  Storage: FileCloud Online: 1TB out-of-the-box, +100GB/user  (Standard), +200GB/user (Enterprise)  || FileCloud Server: Unlimited

✓  Security: FileCloud is compliant with all the most stringent data governance policies, such as HIPAA and GDPR. Encryption at rest and in transit, 256-bit AES encryption, granular file-sharing, password-protected, public and private shares.

✓  Features: From deployment models to unlimited client accounts, branding capabilities and more, FileCloud is filled with incredible enterprise-level features.

Naturally, we’re proud of our own product and firmly believe FileCloud to be one of the most powerful and affordable EFSS solutions on the market. FileCloud offers on-premise, public and a unique hybrid cloud deployment model. This deployment flexibility separates FileCloud from its competitors, and ensures that your team can enjoy the benefits of both on-premise and cloud storage systems — read more on our hybrid infrastructure here.

Our pricing is also one of the most affordable on the market, while offering larger storage plans, better enterprise-level features, and unlimited FREE external client accounts — all great for your wallet and your ROI. Feature-wise, we consider seamless, remote access to your data as the bare minimum that a good file-solution should offer. Collaborative and content management tools, a comprehensive admin panel, plus infinite customization options are all features that ensure not just your team, but also your clients and sysadmins get in on the enhanced EFSS experience.

Last but certainly not least, FileCloud is compliant with most data security governance policies, meaning that you’ll never see your organization’s good name tainted in headlines labelled with “Security Breach” or “Data Leaks”. Plus. it’ll save you tons on the fines and fees that’ll rack up if you go with a less-secure option.

ProsCons
Affordable, no paywalls, money/time-saving featuresUnfortunately, FileCloud isn't an open-source software.
Compliant with all data security governance policies With all these features, FileCloud's UI can get a bit complex for beginners and laymen
Integration with most common office softwares, APIs

2. Google Drive: GSuite

How to Find Anything in Google Apps - The Ultimate Guide to G ...

  Pricing: Free Plan: Free | Basic Plan: $6/user/month | Business Plan: $12/user/month | Enterprise Plan: $25/user/month

✓  Storage: Free Plan: 15GB | Basic Plan: 30GB | Business & Enterprise Plan: Unlimited, or 1TB / user if less than 5 users

✓  Security: Encryption in transit; no option to encrypt individual documents. Multi-factor authentication.

✓  Features: Google Drive comes with powerful, recognized collaborative tools, such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Having quickly risen in popularity over the past couple of years, Google Drive is now a powerful file-sharing solution on the market. A file storage and synchronization program created by Google, it’s best known for its collaborative capabilities via Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, which offer real-time collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets and slides respectively. 

The solution’s enterprise plan, GSuite, comes with a similarly clean and intuitive UI, as well as integration with popular enterprise softwares such as Autodesk, Salesforce, and more. Apart from this, Google Drive for Business offers unlimited cloud storage, access from any device, offline file access, includes apps like Gmail, Google Keep, Google Sites, as well as enterprise-grade access controls, e-discovery for emails, chats and files.

However, reportedly, users have encountered frequent connectivity and syncing issues while using Google Drive. Plus, while Google Drive has fairly beefy data security with encryption in-transit and at-rest, human error on part of the developers has led to security issues, such as when Google Photos started sending private videos to strangers

ProsCons
Strong team collaborative toolsHas had major security issues through developer error
Clean mobile and desktop softwareOn the pricey end: $30,000 for 100 users/ year
Allows offline mode and offline file-editingKnown occasional syncing issues

3. Dropbox

Dropbox -

  Pricing: Basic Plan: Free | Plus Plan: $11.99/user/month  | Professional Plan: $19.99/user/month

✓  Storage: Basic Plan: 2GB | Plus Plan: 2TB | Professional Plan: 3TB

✓  Security: AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest and AES 128-bit encryption for data in transit; however, known past security issues

✓  Features: Unique “Paper” and “Showcase” features: basic “Notes” and “Portfolio” app respectively

Of course, we’d be remiss to not mention Dropbox in a file-sharing solution comparison post. With its clean, intuitive UI and easy-to-use features, Dropbox has become a well-known, household name in terms of file storage. Dropbox also offers password-protected links, integration for Office 365 and Google Drive, and strong administrative tools. However, while it certainly has its pros, we feel strongly that there are better enterprise-level file-sharing solutions — and here’s why. 

Due to the system’s popularity, it’s always been a popular target for hackers. Even now, it doesn’t offer local encryption. Their customer service certainly leaves more to be desired, as seen from their lack of 24/7 customer support.

And above all that, despite having fewer features than many enterprise-level solutions out there, Dropbox is far from the most affordable on the market, especially with their 5-user minimum. Plus, with their measly 2GB- free storage and paywalls for unlimited storage, it certainly feels like the solution is out to milk their users dry.

ProsCons
Clean mobile and desktop applicationsDisappointing 2GB starting storage space
Automatic synchronization of files and foldersFrequent past security issues
"History" feature allows access to past versionsPricier end of things, 5 user minimum

4. Box

Cloud Storage Services for Business Use - armix.one

  Pricing: Box Starter: $5/user/month | Box Business: $20/user/month | Box Business Plus: $33/user/month | Box Enterprise: $47/user/month

✓  Storage: Box Starter: 100GB | Box Business: Unlimited | Box Business Plus: Unlimited | Box Enterprise: Unlimited

✓  Security: A regulatory-compliant Zero-Knowledge Provider. Tools to manage user perms and customer-managed encryption keys.

✓  Features: Secure collaborative and project-management tools, as well as rule sets for work-flow automation

While perhaps less of a household name than Dropbox, Box, founded in 2005 and based in California, is also an incredibly strong contender on the EFSS market. With tools that integrate with other services, like Google Docs, Box also goes above and beyond in offering custom branding capabilities and letting users create a professional appearance for their organization.

Plus, Box’s security is nothing to scoff about, being a uniquely zero-knowledge provider and offering tons of options for encryption and user management.

Unfortunately, with their heavy local encryption, Box transfers tend to get slow — something that could impede or even cripple the seamless remote workflows that have become the norm today. Box also does not offer any options for on-premise or self-hosting, nor local storage, and does not perform end-point backups. Plus, while it certainly provides tons of enterprise-level features, it’s also significantly pricier than almost any solution on the market.

ProsCons
Platform-independent, apps for most major devicesMore expensive than most competition
Secure, regulatory-compliant solutionLocal encryption can slow file transfers
Tons of features, intuitive to useNo on-premise or local storage

5. Egnyte

Egnyte Business Review | PCMag

  Pricing: Office Plan: $8/user/month | Business Plan: $20/user/month | Enterprise Plan: Contact for a quote

✓  Storage: Office Plan: 5TB | Business Plan: 10TB | Enterprise Plan: Scales with your needs

✓  Security: Standard encryption, includes user and group access permissions

✓  Features: What stands out most with Egnyte is their great auditing system which timestamps user activities, plus a robust access permission system.

Egnyte has recently become one of the leading choices for enterprises, claiming to have been designed with businesses in mind. Egnyte provides the branding capabilities to customize logos, URLs and message headers, providing a more professional look. In addition to useful sharing and collaborative features, Egnyte also provides great security features, such as intuitive access permissions and encryption. It also integrates with most operating systems and devices. 

Unfortunately, there have reportedly been frequent sync/network problems with the solution. While robust in features, Egnyte provides little documentation for these features — combined with poor customer service, creating a steep learning curve for their product. There are also paywalls for features such as audit reports and storage sync, for an already-relatively-high price tag.

ProsCons
Great security measuresMore expensive than most competition
Robust user and group permissionsNo Linux support
Custom branding capabilitiesReported network and sync issues

6. OneDrive

Microsoft updating OneDrive with better web UI and sharing options ...

  Pricing: Business Plan 1: $5/user/month | Business Plan 1: $10/user/month | Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $5/user/month | Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50/user/month

✓  Storage: All Plans: 1TB – extra storage space can be purchased separately for up to 1TB/$9.99/month

✓  Security: Standard encryption, file-locking, paywalls for SSO/SAML Authentication

✓  Features: Advanced sharing, mobility and security. Heavy integration with Office software.

Microsoft OneDrive is a file hosting service and synchronization service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office. Naturally, this Microsoft-based solution heavily integrates with Office 365 programs that most teams use, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as Outlook, which is a huge plus. Certain plans even grant access to said software. It also provides encryption at rest and in transit. Overall, it has robust features that make it a strong solution, as expected from Microsoft.

Unfortunately, data privacy issues have surfaced time and time again with large corporations, and OneDrive is no exception. When using this solution, Microsoft can scan your files for “objectionable content”, stating that file security cannot be guaranteed for said content.

ProsCons
Integration with Office 365 programsFile-size limit of 10GB
Provides file-versioning featuresNo on-premise / self-hosting options
Great security measuresSecurity measures locked behind paywalls

7. OwnCloud

ownCloud Phoenix - rebirth of the ownCloud user interface – ownCloud

  Pricing: Standard Subscription: $3,750/50 users/year | Enterprise Subscription: $9,000/50 users/year | Custom Subscription: Custom pricing for 10,000 users and above

✓  Storage: Unlimited Self-Storage Space

✓  Security: Standard Encryption, Multi-Factor Authentication, NTFS Support

✓  Features: Custom branding, open-source customizability, local storage options

ownCloud is a reliable file sharing infrastructure with a client-server architecture, allowing users to setup a complete private file-sharing service with data encryption server side while avoiding popular public ones like Google drive or Dropbox. An open source solution, it offers rich features and the ability to use on-premise / self-hosting.

However, most potential users balk at the massive price tag of $9,000/50 users/year — even if you divide that into per user per month, it’s still pretty hefty — especially compared to available file solutions that have the same features while staying at 1/4 of that price! Due to being open source, there’s also a lack of a strong support system, and poor documentation. It also doesn’t offer endpoint backup, nor granular subfolders.

ProsCons
Feature-rich, open sourceRelatively high cost
Support for local storage and on-premiseNo endpoint backup or granular subfolders
Work across all popular operating systemPoor support and documentation

8. Citrix ShareFile

Localized ShareFile WebUI available | Citrix Blogs

  Pricing: Standard Plan: $55/5 users/month | Advanced Plan: $85/5 users/month | Premium Plan: $135/5 users/month | Virtual Data Room Plan: $375/5 users/month

✓  Storage: Unlimited Storage Space

✓  Security: Standard encryption and SSL/TLS. Recovery sites in both the US and EU.

✓  Features: Collaborative and productivity-enhancing tools, custom electronic signature tool. File-versioning features.

Sharefile is Citrix’s enterprise-class cloud storage solution, and they’re well-known in the commercial software and service industry. Notable features of Sharefile include an auditing system that generates activity reports, integration with Single Sign-On, download alerts, and two-factor authentication. This cuts down on the amount of time it would take to print out a document, sign it, and scan it to the cloud.

Unfortunately, despite their generous offer of unlimited storage, they do have a file size limit. The solution itself doesn’t support Linux. Plus, with a standard plan starting at $55, paywalls for features and their enforced 5-user pricing plan, it’s safe to say that Sharefile isn’t the most affordable solution for smaller organizations. Reportedly, Sharefile’s licensing plans are also misleading.

ProsCons
Great security measuresFile-size limit of 10GB
Provides file-versioning featuresNo Linux support
Simple to use, clean user interfacePricey, misleading licensing plans

9. NextCloud

Nextcloud 16 introduces machine learning based security and ...

  Pricing: Basic Plan: $2,136/50 users/year | Standard Plan: $3,823/50 users/year | Premium Plan: $5,510/50 users/year

✓  Storage: Unlimited Self-Storage

✓  Security: Standard Encryption, SSO, SAML Authentication, 2FA, File-Locking

✓  Features: On-Premise and Cloud file-hosting, large file support, local storage support, OS compatibility

While NextCloud is a free, open-source software, NextCloud Enterprise comes as a powerful, pre-configured EFSS solution that takes some of the guesswork out of configuring their free, alternative solution. It certainly totes the basics expected of any EFSS solution, such as audit logs, a desktop sync client and user management, and has great security with end-to-end encryption.

Unfortunately, similar to ownCloud, which NextCloud was a spinoff of, the open-source software can come with a lack of support and documentation. As such, many deployments, updates and bug fixes fall to you and your team — wasting precious time that could have been used on other productive activities.

ProsCons
Strong collaborative featuresLack of support and documentation
Good security measures, with encryptionSelf-dependent for updates
Compatible with common operating systemsOn the pricier end of things

10. Syncplicity

Syncplicity Cloud Storage Service Review | Cloud Storage Advice

  Pricing: Personal: $5/user/month | Business: $5/user/month | Enterprise: Contact for quote | Government: Contact for quote

✓  Storage: Personal: 100 GB | Business+: 300GB

✓  Security: Standard encryption in-transit and at-rest, SSO, 2FA

✓  Features: Hybrid solution, remote access and mobility

For a solution that’s much less popular and well-known, Syncplicity offers a surprising punch with their rich features, hybrid hosting options, great security, file restorations and backup. In addition, good things have been said about their customer support, with online chat and a 24/7 phoneline. 

At a price of $60 for even the lowest personal plan and a whopping minimum of 25 users, Syncplicity is far from the most affordable solution on the market. Syncplicity also doesn’t support customer-managed keys. Plus, Syncplicity uses a traditional interface — great for the early 2010’s, but perhaps not the most modern for today’s standards.

ProsCons
Hybrid file-hosting solutionHigh user minimum, expensive
Great customer service, 24/7 supportNo user-managed encryption keys
File restorations and automatic backupLow storage - 300GB

Top 10 Cloud-Based File Sharing/Sync Apps For Android/iOS

The concept of cloud computing was born 60 years ago. Yup, even before the internet, as we know it, came into play! Since then, the world has been trying to move file- and data-sharing from physical to the remote space. Let me give you a simple and prevalent example: movies & music, from physical performances, have evolved to become the radio, TV, cassettes, floppy disks, pen drives & memory cards, and finally to streaming services. In almost every technological form, we have come a long way.

What’s made the cloud-based file-sharing prevalent today? If you ask me, I think the reason behind the growing popularity of cloud-based file sharing is globalization. After all, from the biggest to the smallest businesses worldwide – we all depend on globalization.

If you have a small business in a quaint locality, and you are happy with your income, why would you want globalization? The answer to that question is simple, every business, no matter how big or small, works incessantly for profit, the margin here being irrelevant.

So, if through instant data sharing, analysis, and profitable results, your business can grow, not only beyond your locality but beyond even your country’s borders, wouldn’t you champion such technology? I know I would.

Now, onto the most important question that you can and should ask before investing in such a novel technology:

What Can Cloud-Based File-Sharing Do for Your Business? 

The undeniably biggest benefit of cloud-based file-sharing is the increased accessibility. You and your team can access any file, at any time and from anywhere when you choose cloud-based file-sharing over traditional options.

A lot of money, time, and effort are also saved in this process. No maintenance charges, and upgrades, no need to buy extra machinery, no need to train employees about complicated infrastructures, and no accidental data leaks.

One of the biggest concerns that people have about the cloud is the issue of security. Yes, the fear of data breaches, of hackers taking away your data, and of data loss reigns supreme among the doubters. And certainly, some file-sharing solutions have had these issues in the past. However, a good file-sharing avenue is protected by two-factor authentication, anti-virus, specific permissions, policy enforcement, access control, password protection, and end-to-end encryption.

When you make smart choices in your file-sharing solution, there is no need to worry about “security issues”. In fact, advanced security should be one of the reasons why you choose to move to the cloud. Now that we’ve discussed some of the key factors, intrinsic qualities, and FAQs of cloud-based file-sharing technology, it’s time to give you some of the best options in the category. Should you choose this fast-evolving technology, you should be armed with the right information. Let’s go.

The Best Cloud-Based File-Sharing Apps for You

FileCloud

Of course, we have to start with FileCloud; we believe in our product. FileCloud serves as an ever-evolving file hosting and sharing platform for businesses of all sizes.

You can use FileCloud to sync up all your data in all your devices without the need for an external storage unit, no backups necessary. Also, you can use this software to collaborate with your partners, clients, employees, project partners, and even clients if required; and that too, in a secure, hassle-free manner.

Of course, we put FileCloud first for a reason; there are many benefits associated with the solution. Here’s an overview, have a look for yourself!

  • The administrator has robust tools and handy functionalities to monitor users, files, and sites, allowing him/her to create the best-suited workflow & policies for him/her.
  • FileCloud has multiple access points including, web browser, browser add-ons, mobile apps, and virtual drive.
  • With FileCloud, you can enjoy multi-level file & folder sharing. Additionally, you can share files publicly protected with passwords, or share files privately protected with permissions.
  • Users can enjoy endpoint backup, instant updates, customization, data loss prevention, and selective sync.
  • FileCloud offers it’s service in various price points, customized based on industrial and individual needs. Also, the scalability of FileCloud is appreciated by many.
  • Unlimited storage depending on client requirements is another one of FileCloud’s offerings.

An added bonus of using FileCloud is that it is extremely user-friendly and always innovating to accommodate new tools and techniques to create a better user experience.

best file sharing app

Google Drive

The Google ecosystem will never let you down. Even in cloud-based file-sharing and cloud storage, Google has brought in a winner, aka Google Drive. It is available for personal use, for industrial use, and for company use. It allows the users to access any file from anywhere, edit them with admin’s permission, share & collaborate easily, and it is also compatible with a wide range of devices allotting the same benefits to a multitude of file types.

Google Drive uses a multi-layered SSL encryption along with other security measures to protect the data stored in it.

However, it is not all good and no foul with Google Drive; after all, it is limited just to Gmail. Also, it offers a limited amount of storage, the prices are a bit on the higher side after that, and Google, as we know, has faced problems with data breaches previously.

file sharing app

Dropbox

Dropbox launched almost 4 years before Google Drive and hereby, manages to rank high among Cloud-based file sharing apps worldwide. If you were to compare the two, you would see that while Google Drive wins at first because of it’s storage capacity, Dropbox wins it all because of it’s foolproof, robust security, slightly easier file-sharing, and faster sync.

Dropbox has automatic file backup; so, you will not lose your file accidentally. It’s advanced software integration allows it to mesh with some of the most popular companies among users, like Microsoft, Slack, etc. It can even work with comprehensive and diverse cloud storage systems. One functionality to blow your mind is Dropbox’s ability to keep working offline.

The storage space, however, is limited in Dropbox. Search functionality is also not as robust as it is in others, and sieving through deleted files can be a real pain.

file sharing app

Box

Of course, there is no mentioning Box without comparing it to Dropbox. Box, you see, is geared towards organizations and enterprises, in simple words big conglomerates, whereas Dropbox focuses on individual consumers and SMBs. However, that has changed since 2018.

Both Box and Dropbox have been heading straight into enterprise collaborations along with cloud content management via G-Suite and similar services.

Box has more flexibility with 4 plans, it offers unlimited storage, and is cost-effective for the services it provides. Box is also extremely secure, user-friendly, corporate-friendly, customizable, and a lot more smooth-functioning. On the flip side, it has been accused of being a little non intuitive when compared to the others, there is a lag in sync, search functionality needs a lot of work, and version control is abysmal sometimes.

file sharing app

OneDrive

OneDrive, Microsoft’s brainchild & the new kid on the block suffered from a severe identity crisis wandering from name to name: Windows Live Folders, Windows Live SkyDrive, SkyDrive, and finally, it appears to have settled on OneDrive.

The capacity and capabilities of this software varies from version to version. However, it is considered to be one of the leading cloud storage and file-sharing platforms in the market today. People who use Microsoft Office in any way form, be it Word or Excel, prefer this software to others.

It’s no surprise that OneDrive integrates very nicely with Microsoft Office, along with it’s mobile apps offering awesome real-time collaboration. It also offers a free plan to give the clients a taste; 15GB of free storage along with a chance to EARN extra storage space through a referral incentive. You can store and access any kind of file on it.

Collaboration is easier because it works best with Microsoft Office, it’s preferred platform. An added bonus is that your company’s social media networks too can be linked with your OneDrive.

As far are cons are concerned, the biggest con and the most appreciated pro of OneDrive is that the software integrates the best with Microsoft Office. With others, it’s just not as good. It also has some privacy concerns, it has been one of the biggest targets of hackers, and the data is encrypted in transit through SSL but remains unencrypted at rest.

file sharing app

Tresorit

Tresorit, the popular cloud storage, and file-sharing service based in Switzerland & Hungary was officially launched in 2014. Did you know they hosted a hacking contest for 468 days offering people up to $50,000 to hack their data encryption methods gaining access to their servers? Nobody won. Tresorit’s security is just that beefy. Many awards and accolades later it ranks as leading cloud storage and file-sharing software.

Tresorit, as discussed above, is probably the most secure cloud service provider, it has client-side encryption & zero knowledge storage, which are quite rare. It is also easy to use, has a great syncing capacity, works on multiple devices, and each file is safe through deletions.

However, it’s not all good even with Tresorit because conflict files are common, it freezes often freezing the entire device with it, it can seem a bit expensive when compared to others, it can also be a little slower, and some people complain that retrieving a lost password is quite difficult.

file sharing app

Egnyte

Egnyte hasn’t been around for as many years as many others, but it has some unique features. It is a cloud platform offering “enterprise file synchronization and sharing,” according to Egnyte’s spokesperson. It was co-founded by Vineet Jain and incorporated in 2008, while it’s mobile apps were released in 2015. With 16,000 clients worldwide, Egnyte has already reached the benchmark of $100 million recurring revenue.

Egnyte is notably easy to install and user-friendly. Amongst Egnyte’s other offers are excellent file storage, file-sharing, fast uploads as well as downloads, great UI, version control, a great structure of permission, and outside organization sharing.

However, it isn’t flawless. It can crash easily with large files, has some syncing issues, does not support drag & drop, tracked changes are not visible while previewing word files quickly, it can lag sometimes, and it has broken links.

file sharing app

Citrix ShareFile

ShareFile is a content collaboration platform offering file-sharing and syncing opportunities. ShareFile was acquired by Citrix in 2011, and since then it has been named Citrix ShareFile. It has a lot of robust and compelling features including but not limited to workflow management, easy collaboration of documents, e-signatures, and easy Microsoft as well as Gmail integration.

ShareFile offers a free trial for 30 days with unlimited storage and inclusion of up to 5 employees. It uses 256-bit SSL, a highly appreciated security measure that is used by banks and popular e-commerce sites like Amazon. However, it has a complex folder structure, it is slow, expensive, have low upload speed, and sync might be delayed sometimes.

file sharing app

HighTail

YouSendIt started it’s journey in 2004 and ended up as a successful cloud service provider rebranded as Hightail in 2013 changing it’s ideal from file-sharing to offering collaborating services. On it, you create a new space, name it, and create a project with a goal in it. In it, you can ask for approvals for files from included members, track activity, share drafts in a private mode with an access code. The best thing about Hightail is that despite being it’s competition, Hightail works smoothly with other file-sharing apps. Additionally, it comes with two types of plans, file sharing and creative collaboration.

On Hightail, however, it might be difficult to search, links expire pretty fast, sync lag is not uncommon, and you cannot copy download links for files. Also, the paid version is quite expensive.

MediaFire

MediaFire is comparatively unknown to the cool crowd, but, it’s 10GB free plan is comparable to that of Box. It can be the starting point for the budget-friendly pupil. You can easily upload files of up to 4GB in size, and MediaFire ensures that every file is scanned for viruses, a very rare feature. It is also easy to use, has great intuition, and very cost-effective.

Conclusion

Have you found a match yet? Look, the features and the prices are quite comparable, but you should always match features to price. It has to serve you in the long term. Software that is readily updated, and has great customer service and serves you the best is your best choice. The choice is yours — we hope that we helped you make an informed decision.

Working from Home and the Threat to Business Continuity

work from home

In January 2020 the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease to a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As the epidemic’s full implications became apparent, governments across the world begun issuing stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and travel restrictions in a bid to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and prevent the overload of public health systems with patients affected by the disease. This forced many organizations and institutions to rethink their mode of operations. The result was remote work becoming a requirement for many, sometimes overnight.

With the ubiquity of mobile devices in this digital age and most business applications being available via cloud services, migrating workloads from the office to home should be a relatively simple process. However, very few organizations were prepared for large-scale remote work.

For most IT teams, the challenge lies in ensuring their IT infrastructure can handle most, if not all their employees working remotely. But for the sake of the health and safety of their workforce, it’s a challenge they have to rise to while ensuring the continuity of their business operations during an unprecedented pandemic situation that has affected everyone across the globe.

Remote Working is Not a New Phenomenon

Remote work is an already attractive option for employees who prefer greater flexibility. It completely eliminates commuting time for workers with familial obligations; and as the workforce segment that supports aging family members continues to grow, the demand for flexible working arrangements will only rise. However, while remote work is being increasingly demanded by workers and facilitated by technology, according to Gartner, most enterprises (93%) defer to supervisors to decide who works from home and when they do. But due in part to an innate lack of trust, only 56 percent of supervisors actually all their employees to work from home – even if there are supporting company policies in place to facilitate it.

Enterprises that have already invested in the cloud from an infrastructure perspective, or largely rely on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps are naturally at lower risk of experiencing technical difficulties during this time. The inescapable use of remote work for business continuity should signal to all enterprises that it is time to revisit their remote work policies and redesign them for robust use.

While the shift to remote work has accelerated, we believe that employees and organizations will begin to see the advantages of remote work and become better adapted to to it. Though the coronavirus disease has certainly affected work patterns in the short term, there will almost inarguably be far-reaching global technology implications, including increased demand for solutions such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Infrastructure is Key to WFH Productivity

A lot of the technology currently used to facilitate remote working has been around for decades. For most organizations, the underlying software, hardware, and support infrastructure have been designed to accommodate a small subset of the workforce. Performance, reliability, security, and the availability of applications and data are crucial. With the number of new at-home students and workers in the tens of millions, organizations are rushing to shore up their infrastructure to support new users while ensuring basic performance expectations are met.

Apart from the clear-cut, procurement of the correct tools, licenses, and deploying them quickly across a broad workforce: IT teams must also make sure that their colleagues can reliably utilize the resources. This includes access to basic apps like email, file sync, and sharing, via remote desktop access and other virtual desktop infrastructures.

Naturally, unanticipated stress has been put on remote working technologies, leading to security and bandwidth concerns. Whether or not existing on-premise enterprise setups are able to cope with the sudden, yet prolonged increase in users trying to access the organization’s applications remotely, solely rests on the quality of the network connections available.

Right of the bat, most businesses tried to access how much capacity they’ll require by running one-day tests. Agencies like NASA ran remote networking stress tests to understand what the impact of adding thousands of new remote workers would have on their networking capacities. Teleworkers will have to connect to their data repositories, applications, and other offerings to maintain business continuity. The effective transmission reliability and throughput of a VPN in combination with the internet can easily become a bottleneck.

A VPN is Not the Answer to All Your Problems

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud is becoming mainstream among enterprises. Several applications now run in the cloud, making it easier than ever to leverage and acquire those apps to make enterprises more efficient and agile. The cloud has given rise to a world of mobility where workers can be productive from anywhere since access to applications is no longer tied to physically being in the office. With the coronavirus outbreak triggering a sudden influx in the need for work-from-home precautions, the need for easily accessible applications has never been more apparent.

As it stands, typical enterprise infrastructure involves applications that are hosted and installed within the office, and are only accessible from the confines of the office network. Most file servers are either hosted on Windows or Linux, with the two main types of file systems being NFS (Network File System) on UNIX/Linux and CIFS (Common Internet File System) on Windows. A vast majority of the organizations that have been in operation for a while, typically use CIFS or NFS file systems. An NFS allows remote hosting of resources over a network, by mounting file systems that facilitate the interaction as is if it was local.

CIFS is also cross-platform and folders can be shared over a local network or across the internet. Accessing files on a CIFS network over a VPN via a mobile network is possible, but the connection can be patchy, access to client applications will likely be limited and extremely slow. Whenever a remote worker needs to access an enterprise application or document, they must first turn on the VPN application, which in turn grants them access to information sitting within the company network. For VPN applications to work optimally, they require adequate network throughput and VPN hardware capacity. While this is easy to achieve on systems built for about 20 -30 percent of employees working remotely, it can easily be overloaded when this number skyrockets; regardless of how many licenses are available for the VPN application.

Overloaded VPN concentrators may require massive injections of rules managers and hardware. However, VPN hardware is not the type of thing you can easily pick up at your local BestBuy, it calls for a rigorous procurement and installation process that could end up taking weeks. The VPNs that organizations typically rely on to manage and access critical files have multiple limitations. With full office closures happening overnight, and workers being asked to work from home. Several of those workers are going to turn on their VPN to access business files and applications, only to discover that their connections are down. IT support staff should brace themselves for a flood of calls from frustrated colleagues trying to navigate through the nuances of remote connectivity, support issues will be hard to diagnose remotely because they involve third-party hardware and networks.

Luckily, several apps that once had to be hosted within an office network have since transitioned to the cloud. Productivity applications like Google G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and communication platforms like slack have seemingly eliminated the need for VPN applications. Sadly, VPNs are still central to how several enterprise workers access their files and applications. And an overnight migration to a public cloud architecture overnight is not a practical solution for them.

Making the Most Out of What You Have

In the event user or performance, issues arise. There are steps that IT teams can take to reduce the load on networks and various on-premise IT resources. Managing employees’ expectations is important and making them aware of possible degradation in the performance of the services and applications they rely on to complete their tasks may lessen the amount of stress the IT department is under.

To ensure workers remain productive and business continuity is not stifled, IT teams must find a way of enabling mobile access and file sync for data that lives behind a cooperate firewall without the need for a VPN and without re-configuring permissions whilst utilizing existing LDAP or Active Directory authentication. Several enterprises have heavily invested in scalable Network Attached Storage solutions like EMC Isilon and NetApp Filer. Solutions like NetApp provide low latency access to files as network shares via a WLAN or LAN. But they can still be used as part of a remote-work infrastructure with virtual desktop infrastructure applications.

There are no one-size-fit-all software, infrastructure or bandwidth that an organization can purchase to solve this problem by using legacy approaches, including the use of VPNs. Fortunately, the solution is simple. A solution that will allow enterprise data to sit securely on-premise at the office, and still be accessible to users via the cloud and not through a VPN. FileCloud can help remote workers collaborate, access, and share files securely with ease by mapping existing file servers on EMC Isilon and NetApp Filer as network folders and instantly make them available on networks outside the office. FileCloud easily integrates with existing active directory, NTFS file permissions, and network shares; giving employees low latency access to large files without having to recreate complex permissions.

Image courtesy of freepik.com

Author: Gabriel Lando

How To Do Document Approval Workflows Using FileCloud Custom MetaData

 

In this blog post, we show you how to use FileCloud custom metadata to add features like approval or verification of documents for it to be shared internally or externally.

How To Do Document Approval Workflows Using Filecloud Custom MetaData

In this blog post we show you how to use FileCloud custom metadata to add features like approval or verification of documents for it to be shared internally or externally.

In the remote work scenario, it is often difficult to monitor and regulate document access and shares. Be it a Marketing Manager trying to make sure the PR release is verified by him before sharing it to the PR agencies or a Sales Manager trying to make sure the contract is verified and approved by him before sending it across to his clients.

In the following example, we show you how to implement the document verification in an organization using FileCloud and how to make sure the documents cannot be shared until and unless approved.

 

I. How to implement workflow for Document Verification in FileCloud

  1. Log in to your Admin account to enable the workflow and click on Metadata

 

 

 

 

  1. Under Manage Metadata Settings. Click on edit in Verification Status

 

  1. Under Edit Metadata set Definition tab, under Attributes add the Metadata Set Name and description and status of the verification. Click on edit

 

  1. Under Edit, Attribute adds Verified and Pending Verification as predefined values and save it.

 

Now you have set the attributes for the Metadata Rule.

  1. Now go to Smart Classification where you will be able to see the verification engine rule you just created as enabled

 

  1. Next go to Smart DLP, where you can see the Document verification Pending Rule under Manage DLP Rules

Here –  Select Affected user action to share using the dropdown. Add the Rule Expression to Verification status to Pending Verification. Select DLP action to deny and DLP mode to Enforce. Add accustom notification to display like- This Document cannot be shared until it is approved and update the DLP rule.

This is how you implement the Document verification workflow using FileCloud

 

II. Now how does this work at the user end?

  1. At the user end,  you see the documents with the Verification engine enabled with a tag   and you can see the pending verification status under the metadata tab as shown

If you try to share the document, you will get a display notification

 

 

III. How can Managers Approve the Documents?

So the managers after reviewing the documents can then go the metadata section in his account of the particular documents he wants to approve and select the verified from the dropdown.

 

 

IV. Sharing the Document after the approval

After the Manager’s approval, the user can then be able to share the document. He will be able to see the status of the document as verified in his metadata tab once the document is verified and approved by the Manager.

 

The main idea here is to make sure the collaboration between the manager and his team in a remote work scenario can have a better process to make sure the documents are not shared within or outside the organization without being verified and approved first.

 

 

Working From Home Amidst Corona and How FileCloud Can Help You Access Your Work Files With Permissions

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way most companies work, perhaps forever. The need to maintain social distancing in the bid to stop the spread of the virus meant that all organizations had to necessarily work from home. Since the pandemic has been ravaging almost all countries around the world, the work from home option was the only way for organizations to continue their operations, and sustain their business.

Here is the best part; most major organizations have been able to make this shift, rather easily. Many of them already had a global, distributed workforce, and were using collaboration apps for their daily work and meetings. Employees had company-issued laptops with the necessary means and tools, and more importantly, these organizations have their important applications and data on the Cloud.

Also, many of these industry leaders have been harping about the remote work culture, and connected workplaces as the way forward, for a long time now. Last, but not the least, the home broadband connections of most employees have also been good and stable. Organizations have evolved rapidly to accommodate the issues being faced during the lockdown work from home scenarios, and are even reporting an increase in productivity!

Work from home will be the norm for the future, and this has been possible because of the one major factor driving this – The Cloud. The organizations who have not yet made the move to the Cloud are ruing. And considering the cost-effectiveness of this move, many small and medium enterprises have also either already made the move, or are in the process of doing so.

There never has been a better time to move to the Cloud, any doubts that the IT heads were ruminating on about this move, no longer seem as valid. While country heads prefer to choose lockdowns in a bid to save lives over the economy, organizations are left with little choice, but to ensure that work from home is enabled. But considering that you may end up getting more than you bargained for, and more importantly, will be sustaining your business, it is not so bad a deal after all.

The Prerequisites – The FileCloud Advantage

As mentioned above, for the work from home to be successful, employees must have company-issued laptops and a good Internet connection. The most important ingredient of all though would be the Cloud. The organizations must already have or should Cloud enable their applications, tools, and data. These things collectively will ensure and promote remote work culture. This is where FileCloud comes in with a perfect solution that more than meets the need of the hour for the organizations looking to make the shift to the Cloud.

The FileCloud infrastructure has a lot of the important prerequisites, in-built into its products such as FileCloud ServerSync, FileCloud Drive and Mobile Apps. Some of the powerful features enabling seamless work from home are:

  • Flexible hosting solutions
  • Easy integration with existing File Servers
  • Attractive customization and branding options
  • Uncompromising security, including compliances
  • Collaboration tools
  • File Sync, Share and Mobile Access
  • Advanced content management
  • Integration of many third-party tools
  • Powerful administrative features
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Complete control through data governance

The FileCloud Remote File Server

This product will help you to quickly Cloud enable your existing File Servers easily, by providing secure, remote access to them from anywhere, using any device. There is no VPM or FTP required for this, and the installation for this can be done in minutes. The best part is that it honors the existing NTFS permissions on network folders and applies them to user access, saving you the time and effort to recreate the same on the Cloud. The FileCloud mapped drive automatically picks up the mount point in our systems and securely maps a drive to your network, that can be accessed from anywhere. Also, conflict management is built into this product, making it more attractive.

It is highly intuitive and people can easily learn and start working on the product and access their remote files as if they were local. The product comes with unlimited free client access, enabling you to share the confidential files with your required stakeholders outside the organization. However, you only pay for employee accounts and not client accounts. The best part of this whole arrangement is the maximum ROI you gain since you are leveraging your existing infrastructure, and yet gaining the flexibility of the Cloud.

User auditing becomes easy as the product has in-built logs to track the activities, and also comes with analytics to help you understand the client portal activity. Apart from this, you also get protection from email spoofing and ransomware attacks through its unlimited file versioning and branding capabilities. The foolproof security features in this include 256-bit AES SSL encryption at Rest, two-factor authentication, anti-virus scanning, recycle bin and endpoint device protection.

The FileCloud ServerSync

Perhaps, for those organizations that are looking to make a quick shift to the Cloud, there is no better solution than the FileCloud ServerSync product. This is simply Cloud-enabling your Windows File Servers and turning it into a powerful enterprise file-sharing, sync, and mobile access platform. If you are wondering about the existing storage and permission structure, then you need not. This product synchronizes the files and permissions stored on your on-premise Windows File Servers to the Cloud. How it does this is, by maintaining copies of files and permissions in sync between the Cloud and the on-premises storage. It enables a hybrid cloud approach that allows traditional LAN access when on-premise and the Cloud access when off-site or remote. This model offers a high availability as well as a high amount of flexibility for remote work operations.

Alongside this, you can also modernize your IT infrastructure and adopt the cloud for digital transformation without disrupting your current operations. This product can help you to set up branch office collaboration and disaster recovery as well.

The FileCloud Drive

Using this app from FileCloud, you get a virtual drive for your remote files and can access them as if they are stored on your local drive. With this product, you no longer need to sync the files to your local system. It comes with an easy to use interface that is easy to learn. It allows all file operations like open, edit, save, move, etc. But the beauty of the product lies in its auto file locking capabilities. It automatically locks a file on the server for when one user is editing it so that no other user can use it at the same time. This is a very useful conflict management policy that is implemented to avoid all conflicts in changes.

Another attractive option for companies from highly regulated verticals such as finance and healthcare is that they can limit offline copy of sensitive files on employee devices, using this product. Additionally, it can be used in a Terminal Server environment and is a great fit for companies with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Also, for those working with newer laptops which have limited disk capacity, this is a blessing in disguise.

The considerations

While it is obvious that FileCloud products seem to be highly flexible and cost-effective and can quickly help you become Cloud-enabled, please do take a look at the storage and client application limits. This table will help you choose the right storage option, and also gives you a clear idea about the workaround options available, wherever possible. If you do not find what you need in this table, you can also check out our comprehensive resources section. You may also write to us to know how we can help you with your Cloud-enabling considerations.

Use Cases

Implementation 1 – Education

The University of South Carolina was seeking a file-sharing solution that would help students, athletes, coaches, and staff to share files and training videos among themselves and with people outside of the university. Considering the large and diverse user base, their challenges were many, that typically goes with educational institutions of such scale. They needed a simple and secure file sharing solution that would provide a greater level of control and have auditing capabilities for their administrators. Also on the checklist, was a system that could store large media files at a reasonable cost. They tried FileCloud for 15 days, and after a satisfactory trial rollout, they decided to go with Tonido FileCloud. The benefits they derived from this solution include:

  • Storing large training videos and sharing with athletes and coaches
  • Large storage option at affordable price
  • On-premise cloud to protect their intellectual property and prevent IP from getting to the Public Cloud
  • Mobile apps to support BYOD (bring your own device)
  • Granular controls to provide various levels of permission

Implementation 2 – Technology

ECi Software Solutions o­ers ERP business software, e-commerce software, and dealer management systems tailored for specific industries. ECi off­ers innovative solutions for small to medium firms’ to succeed in competitive industries and against the Big Box enterprises. As their work involved a lot of communication and sharing of data, they required a secure way to perform this task. Besides, due to the nature of their work, it was imperative that the data remained in-house and did not go through third-party data servers. Having total control over the files being shared and the ability to set expiration dates, coupled with an admin functionality of monitoring the data usage was also on their checklist while looking out for the perfect solution.

They found it in FileCloud and are happy with the following benefits from the switch:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Has desktop and mobile clients, which allow sharing and syncing of files through the browser, desktop, mobile or tablets.
  • All the data stays on-premises.
  • Highly customizable; allows full control over shared files.
  • The powerful admin features help monitor the activity of all users, and remotely control their access and even issue a remote wipe of mobile devices if required
  • Unparalleled security features with secure access, data backup, and version control

Mount a Share on FileCloud with NFS and CIFS for Easy Access From Anywhere

Today, we live in a data-driven world, and every transaction that we do is driving more data into some Servers somewhere. All this data would be stored in some form, depending on the Operating System (OS) of the File Server, and are called File Systems. The enormous amount of data that is being generated, as well as the cost to maintain the related infrastructure, was a cause of concern.  Added to this, getting a globalized workforce to seamlessly deliver by working collaboratively was another challenge that organizations were dealing with. Apart from all this, ‘work on the go’, enabled by anytime access, and trends like BYOD, also looked like good problems to solve.

Perhaps, all these problems gave rise to the Cloud, especially Public Clouds. Necessary infrastructure, security, flexibility, high availability, accessibility and integration with many existing applications and collaboration tools, brought about a change in the way the major organizations worked. Virtual offices are a reality, and the Cloud is the norm. Organizations leveraging on this, benefitted majorly since it meant, productivity was on the rise, as people could work from anywhere, using any device. Perhaps, someone out there foresaw what would happen in times of crisis like the current Coronavirus pandemic. Those organizations which were already on the Cloud-based working model could adapt easily, while the rest have quickly recouped their strategies, so ensure continuity.

Understanding File Systems

Considering that the majority of the File Servers are either on Linux or Windows, the two main types of File Systems are NFS (Network File System) on Linux/UNIX and CIFS(Common Internet File System) on the Windows OS. In computer terminology, these are also called network protocols or file access protocols. This is because they allow the users of the OS to access the files and work with them. NFS was originally conceptualized by Sun Microsystems, in 1984, as a distributed File System, allowing for remote access, over a computer network. It is now managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It is now a Client-Server application permitting the sharing of files and devices, working on the request-response model.

CIFS was conceptualized in 2000 when the need for file sharing based on Internet protocol was felt. CIFS was designed based on the Client-Server model which was typical of all Internet programs. Hence, a Client would make a request to the server, and the server would send the necessary response. However, CIFS was introduced in a public version by Microsoft as SMB (Server Message Block). CIFS accommodates the sharing of all network devices like printers, files, ports, and more. CIFS is a Client-Server Program, which keeps initiating requests for file access and hence is referred to as a more talkative protocol than NFS.

How do They work?

Most organizations that have been around for a while, irrespective of their size, would be using either NFS or CIFS File systems. An NFS allows remote hosting of resources over a network, by mounting file systems that allow the interaction as if they are local. Mounting is a process, through which the OS makes the files and directories on a storage device (eg.  hard drive, CD-ROM, or network share) accessible for users. This is done, via the computer’s file system, which allows for the interaction. CIFS works with HTTP, and FTP, based on Internet Protocol (IP).

So, all the data that you generate will be going into some file on the Server, which is mounted on a File System. This will include multiple user access with appropriate authentication, and also the files will be arranged under logical directories. Each of these will be shared on a need basis, with necessary permissions to the required operations like edit, delete, copy, etc. A network administrator would have put all these in the required form and the whole system will be running smoothly.

The Challenge

The challenge comes when an organization decides to move the data to the Cloud.  Moving to the Cloud brings in a lot of implications like security, cost, ease of access, and a few other important aspects. However, for the administrators, the biggest challenge would be to recreate their complete working File Systems in the Cloud. No doubt, if required, it can be done; But, it would involve huge efforts and costs, no to mention time and few technical hitches. This exercise can also be error-prone since one small permission here and there missed out, or wrongly assigned, can cause havoc, data loss, availability issues, or even worse, like reputation and revenue loss. Hence, the ideal thing would be to keep your existing File System as is and access it through the Cloud.

You need a Cloud File Server, which will act as the interface to securely, remotely access the on-premise files, from anywhere. This should be hassle-free with no VPN or FTP required, with a branded page that provides easy access. Neither should you burn a hole in your pocket, or have to deal with any access issues. This just might sound too good to be true, but this is precisely what FileCloud offers.

Why FileCloud?

FileCloud offers you the easiest, and most economical option to get remote access to your existing File Server shares, without any VPN or FTP. The remote access could be through a web browser, iPad, iPhone, Android, or any other device. The best part is that it honors all existing NTFS permissions and AD authentication on the folders, and applies them on the basis of user access. There is simply no need to recreate any folder structure or permission lists on FileCloud. It is also easy to set up and can be done in minutes with some basic commands. It is also very easy to learn and use, as it is intuitive. The tutorials can guide you through easily for setting this up. Alternatively, you could also get in touch with our support team, if you need any help.

Here is what you gain, when you choose FileCloud, besides the points mentioned above:

  • Powerful file sharing features, that include Public, Private and password protected shares with expiration dates, and granular subfolder level permissions.
  • Remote connection to files using our mapped drive which allows you to securely map a drive to your work files from anywhere. It automatically picks up an available mount point in your system. Also, the lock system makes it impossible for others to save/edit the file, preventing any conflict. There is no local data storage, which is the need for many highly regulated industries like Healthcare and Finance.
  • Free unlimited client accounts for external file sharing.
  • Leveraging your existing IT infrastructure, you will be Cloud-enabling your File Server, and saving on costly Cloud subscriptions, ensuring maximum ROI.
  • Advanced audit capabilities that provide you share analytics to see what has happened, when, and where.
  • Foolproof security of FileCloud includes 256-bit AES SSL encryption at Rest, two-factor authentication, anti-virus scanning, recycle bin and endpoint device protection.
  • Powerful administration for complete control and visibility through your client portals.
  • Remote wipe of files on client devices (PCs, Mobile apps).
  • Strong metadata management capabilities to classify files using tags and custom meta data sets.
  • Manual retention, share deletion policies and manual classifications.
  • Unparalleled branding/customization (change logo, change login screen, branded file sharing emails, Run on a custom domain).
  • Federated search to support e-discovery and GDPR compliance.
  • Virtual drive & selective sync capabilities.

Probable Use Cases

Healthcare

Organizations in the Healthcare sector have a set of unique challenges that revolve around security, realtime communication, process automation, and strict regulatory compliances like HIPAA. Most of them maintain on-premise data centers as they feel the need to maintain full control, and do not want to disturb their established data centers will all necessary permissions and compliances built-in. If they are into SAAS, service costs may be a concern and may want to improve the speed of response, efficiency, flexibility, and disaster response or recovery capabilities.

Many organizations also look for stability in mission-critical systems aided by smart monitoring and alert applications. They do not want to spend more on infrastructure for this, and wouldn’t want to disrupt their existing structure and operations for this sake.

Financial

Dealing with immense data that is highly confidential and sensitive, and yet having to be customer friendly with initiatives like Mobile First, is a fine balancing act for financial institutions. Delivering on business productivity targets in a highly competitive field is the least of expectations in this sector. Application modernization through process automation, ease of access, parallel workload balancing, scalability, batch processing, high performance, better data analytics aiding fast decision making, complete over their environments, etc. are the unique challenges they look to solve. These are above and beyond the strict regulatory and security requirements and processing historical data on demand.

Implementation 1 – Mass Media

Multinational Mass Media and Information companies like Thomson Reuters, work with clients across the globe. They need to share files and data securely with their clients, and they were looking for a modern solution that met the challenges of replacing their FTP solution. Mitigating security breaches and viruses, and also enabling a robust solution that aided audits and version control was what they were looking for. They wanted to make sure that their administrators could ably manage the whole system, and that all stakeholders would be able to use it easily. Above all, they needed a solution that was easy to deploy in their existing IT infrastructure. This is how they found the right partner in FileCoud. This is what they gained out of it:

  • The security offered by hosting their data on-premises and under complete control of their own IT administrators.
  • Full encryption coupled with user logins secured by two-factor authentication.
  • An easy way for clients to share files that is secure and confidential.
  • Data sharing can be monitored and audited by administrators.
  • Procedures for sharing and backing up files that are easy enough for all employees to follow.

 

Implementation 2 – Healthcare

MedLab stores and shares large amounts of very private, personal information, as they are the regional powerhouses in the field of medical testing. The data needed to be guarded closely within their organization having detailed auditing options to meet the strenuous medical and privacy regulations. While maintaining the control and security of their data, MedLab also needed to be able to share with stakeholders across various platforms, computer types, devices, and operating systems. They needed a solution that worked across all desktop and mobile systems and devices to ensure seamless sharing of data while maintaining total security. This is why they decided to go with File Cloud, thus getting a great partnership going. What they gained from it:

  • Complete control afforded by self-hosted file sharing
  • File sharing that provided exceptional security and privacy
  • Ability to set policy and access controls for complete client privacy

Implementation 3 – Financial Services

First United Bank was looking at file synchronization and sharing, as part of its information management strategy. As a dynamic communication and collaboration solution, it would also support the bank’s mission to “offer innovative financial products and services delivered by responsive, friendly and knowledgeable professionals who will strive to create the ultimate customer experience”.

Together with productivity and efficiency, security is therefore also an important consideration. First United Bank wanted to host its own file sharing and synchronization service in a way that fitted in with its existing IT architecture and our capabilities to protect data across all accessing devices – including monitoring, preventing and resolving any instances of data leakage. Banking and government regulations also required user activities to be recorded within a secure system for audit purposes.

Apart from this, they also were looking for a cost-effective solution that provided mobile access as well and this search landed them with FileCloud. What they gained:

  • Integration into the bank’s IT infrastructure without the need to either move data or reconfigure permissions. Immediate interworking with the existing Active Directory implementation made it easy yet safe to give users access to files and data.
  • Detailed connected devices inventory and activity and access logs brought First United Bank all the tools needed for data compliance too.
  • A solution to their executive team and board members for accessing confidential bank data outside our network using mobile devices.
  • Further ideas about how to enhance the end-user experience, while maintaining full security.

Top Reasons Customers Choose FileCloud

 

 

FileCloud — one of the leading EFSS solutions on the market, recognized by the Gartner Customers’ Choice Award in 2018 and 2019, and serving thousands of organizations internationally as their primary file-management solution. How do we do it? We asked around, and here are some of the top reasons why you guys chose (and love!) FileCloud.

| Responsive Support and Service

With support teams on a daily 9-to-5 standby and the guarantee that your questions get fully addressed within the business day, it’s no secret that the customer service you get with your purchase is extraordinary. Our support begins even before you become a valued part of our community — interested customers can schedule a demo with an experienced member of our team before making the big decision of enterprise file-management software. All these factors work in unison with our comprehensive, easy-to-follow documentation to ensure that every single one of your questions, issues, and concerns are promptly answered to your satisfaction.

| Ease of Integration with existing Infrastructure

It’s stressful to have to switch from or start using a new file-management solution, and we know it! That’s why we make sure FileCloud causes minimal disruption to the workflow you’re used to — our software integrates seamlessly with your current infrastructure and conventions while working with your existing storage systems and processes.

| Value

At FileCloud, we strive to offer more for less. In contrast to some of our biggest competitors, we boast numerous more relevant, impactful features for you and your team, all while guaranteeing much lower prices. Compare our features with our competitors here. Combined with the ability to leverage your existing infrastructure and save on overhead costs, FileCloud remains one of the most affordable, yet powerful file-management solutions on the market.

 

Top Features of FileCloud

ITAR Compliant File sharing

ITAR provides a set of government regulations dictating how to prevent the distribution of defense items and services outside the US. ITAR violations may result in high criminal or civil penalties. FileCloud, paired with AWS Govcloud provides end to end encryption, FIPS 140-2 encryption, smart content classification. FileCloud is also cost-effective and since ITAR compliance comes with the enterprise version, you do not have to pay extra for this add-on service we offer.

Custom Branded File Sharing

Customize FileCloud with your own logos, domain names and provide the exact branding experience and professional look that you want to give to your clients and customers. We believe in giving our customers complete control over software and data. Unlike many solutions that offer ‘One Size Fits All’, we want to give options that help our customers select a right cloud model for them and adopt the cloud at a pace that is right for them.

FileCloud Online hosted in region of your choice

With FileCloud Online, you get the complete flexibility and choice to decide where your organization’s data is stored. FileCloud Online is hosted in secure, world-class data centers in the US, EU, Canada, Australia, and Asia. You can select a region that is right for your business which can help you improve your business’ scalability and performance.

No Upload limit

You can easily manage a large set of files, share large files easily with FileCloud. Share and access using any device. FileCloud offers on-premise solution or cloud-based EFSS solution that enables you to share and sync very large files with no size limit across multiple devices. FileCloud simplifies team collaboration and improves productivity while ensuring enterprise-grade security and many more features.

Access From Anywhere. No VPN

VPN is a way to get secure remote access to your company file servers but configuring the same as well as the on-going training and maintenance drains a lot of IT resources and money.

FileCloud offers the easiest way to get remote access to your existing windows and network file shares. No VPN or FTP required. FileCloud can be easily installed on top of your file servers and get remote access in minutes. It honors existing NTFS permissions on network folders and applies them to user access which eliminates the need to recreate access permissions in FileCloud.

FileCloud is Fast, Secure and Reliable 

You can use multiple ways to access data securely: Web access, Sync, Remote Drive, Mobile Apps, Outlook Add-on, etc. Security, privacy and data ownership is fundamental to FileCloud’s security architecture. FileCloud security starts with 256-bit AES SSL encryption at Rest, Active Directory integration, two-factor authentication, SSO (single sign-on), granular user and file-sharing permissions, client application security policies, automatic anti-virus scanning of files when uploading, unlimited file versioning, file locking, endpoint device protection, comprehensive HIPAA compliant audit trail, and GDPR compliance. FileCloud also supports federal security standard FIPS 140-2. With FileCloud, you can be rest assured that your corporate data is well protected in your servers and employee devices.

 

With the increasing shift to working from home worldwide, you can maximize your FileCloud solution by ensuring that you provide the easiest way to get secure, remote access to your file servers anywhere.

With FileCloud, you can securely access and share files without a complex VPN setup.