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Finding a Safe Place for Your Data and Software

Your organization runs on data and software. But this whole IT environment needs to live somewhere. Preferably a safe place that no unwanted people can access.

What options do you have? How should you choose where to host your data and your software?

In this article, we’ll explore these topics in depth, hopefully giving you that bit of additional information that you need to choose a safe place for your IT environment.

Table of contents:

Where can you host your software / data?

The traditional way is to host it on your own servers, which is called on-premise hosting.

It’s private by nature, because the whole infrastructure is dedicated only to your company. The software literally lives on your own machines, along with the data and all of your intellectual property. Servers don’t need to actually be located at your headquarters, they’ll probably be in a dedicated data center.

The “new” (it’s not that new, and pretty much standard by now) way to manage your IT resources is cloud hosting.

It’s public by default, because it’s provided by a company like Amazon or Microsoft, whose insane server power is shared by all of their customers. But it can be private, because cloud providers offer the option to get a share of their servers dedicated only to your company.

Finally, you can also mix the different options, and then you get hybrid hosting. There are a lot of ways to organize a hybrid solution, with different combinations of hardware and software. Choosing one cloud provider doesn’t mean you can only use that one, you can also combine different services from multiple providers.

How much control do you need?

When it comes to hosting your software and data, available server options generally fall into these categories:

  • Control the hardware, control the software
  • Control the hardware, outsource the software
  • Outsource the hardware, control the software
  • Outsource the hardware, outsource the software

Control the hardware and software

If you need to control and customize the performance of your physical servers, as well as the software that runs them, the go-to choice is on-premise hosting.
Control the hardware, outsource the software

What if you need to control the hardware, but you want the same workload management experience that’s offered by big cloud providers? There are ways to run, for example, AWS services on your own on-premise servers. The offerings in this area vary based on the provider.

Outsource the hardware, control the software

Your server workloads are pretty typical, you don’t need custom hardware for your IT environment – but you want to use, for example, FileCloud to share and manage your organization’s data. You can easily run FileCloud on AWS, as well as other services that you might need.

Outsource the hardware and software

This is probably the most popular solution at the moment for non-enterprise companies. You just spin up a server instance at your favorite cloud provider, and manage it using the software tools they provide. Use it to host your data, your ERP system, or your SaaS, without worrying about the server infrastructure.

Comparing hosting options – On-Prem vs Cloud vs Hybrid

On-premise

So far we know that on-premise hosting is private (dedicated only to your company), with your IT environment living on your own physical servers.

But when should you use on-premise hosting? Modern tech companies usually start with the cloud, and move on to on-prem.

Take the case of Instagram, they migrated to Facebook’s infrastructure after FB bought them in 2012.

(but then they also branched out to different data centers around the world to ensure that all of their users have a good experience, so they’re definitely not on-prem only)

Companies and enterprises that have been around for decades tend to go from on-prem to adding a bit of cloud, or migrating to the cloud completely.

Like when AdvancedMD moved to the cloud. AdvancedMD is a healthcare-related provider of digital services that’s been around since 1999, which makes this a great example. The most common argument for on-premise hosting is that it’s the most secure option for highly sensitive data. AdvancedMD runs on healthcare data, which is extremely sensitive, and yet nothing tragic happened when they migrated to the cloud.

As AdvancedMD proves, the issue of security is not that important anymore. Both on-premise and cloud hosting can safely store sensitive data.

So the choice between on-prem and cloud is more about control and/or customization.

For the highest amount of control, and the ability to literally customize every part of your infrastructure, on-prem is the right option. Long-term cost management is easier, however it takes a large initial cost to build your on-prem hosting from the ground up.

On-prem is also a good option when you have high demands:

  • You’re constantly moving large amounts of data in and out of your servers (cloud providers can charge fees for moving data outside of your cloud),
  • You need the lowest latency possible.

One problem with on-prem is that it’s harder to scale, but you can use a cloud provider to mitigate this issue.

Cloud

You’ve probably heard this, but – there is no cloud, it’s always somebody’s server. It’s a popular saying, but it carries a hidden warning about your data being on somebody else’s server.

How big is the risk that cloud providers will mismanage your data, or give someone else access to it? Unless you’re handing out access credentials to your cloud to everyone you meet, the risk is actually very small.

There is no way cloud would’ve become the new standard for hosting if it were risky. Providers know this, and they’ve put extreme amounts of money into making sure that your resources are safe with them.

Another popular issue that people bring up when talking about the cloud is compliance with standards. But it turns out that cloud providers are surprisingly compliant with cross-industry IT standards, so this issue depends on your unique case.

There is a different, much more real, risk associated with the cloud – cost management.

Sure, at the start you pay much less compared to an on-premise solution. As you keep going, it’s super easy to spin up new services from a cloud provider, especially if you have a huge IT budget.

This is a benefit, because you can scale up extremely easily. It’s also a problem, because you might end up paying for a lot of unnecessary services.

So if you don’t want to overspend, you need to be very careful about managing your cloud infrastructure.

Choosing cloud isn’t a problem of compliance nor security, but rather a problem of your unique workloads. As we learned above, on-premise can be better when you need to move huge amounts of data regularly, or you need minimal latency.

For example, if your servers are just supposed to do the standard job of serving a website to people online, cloud is the logical solution. But if you’re building a complex web application that performs difficult computations on large amounts of data, you’ll probably be better off with on-prem, or a hybrid solution.

Hybrid

And so we arrive at the most common option, hybrid hosting.

The complex demands of enterprise IT environments make it almost impossible to just pick one hosting option and roll with it for eternity.

There are too many considerations:

  • Integrating with legacy software,
  • Speed vs reliability,
  • Location of data,
  • Latency…

… and so on, and different parts of a typical IT environment require varying approaches. For example, a cloud provider might work for your in-house data store, but you still need on-prem servers to run particular applications or legacy software.

Hybrid hosting is a way to address all of this complexity, because you can combine multiple options to create the infrastructure that meets your requirements to the letter.

Summary

All in all, there is no silver bullet when it comes to hosting your data and software. The safest place for your IT environment might be at a cloud provider, or on your own on-premise servers. Or both.

It depends on what you need, and it turns out that security and compliance are not the biggest issues when you’re thinking about migrating to the cloud. It’s more about the type of data workloads that you have, and the requirements that result from this.

Hope this article was helpful, thank you for reading!

Securing FileCloud with On-Premise Installations

FileCloud provides secure file storage and sharing infrastructure to corporations for data storage. FileCloud can be easily accessed through any device. Files can be easily stored, shared, and synced across different channels. Although the FileCloud application is fully compilant with HIPPA, FIPS, ITAR data governance policies, it is still critical to perform basic hardening of the FileCloud server to ensure that its security is foolproof. In this blog we will be discussing common practices that should be followed to secure the FileCloud server at the application level.

  • Remove install folder.
  • Install SSL certificate with Intermediate certificate and enforce TLS 1.2.
  • Rename the admin username to a custom username.
  • Enable 2FA for admins and users.
  • Configure AD/LDAP server though SSL port.
  • Enable anti-virus scanning
  • Configure strong passwords for public share and default users.
  • Enable ReCAPTCHA for the login page.
  • Configure managed storage encryption
  • Enable Account Lockout

 

Remove Install Folder (applicable only for on-premise installation)

After a new installation or upgrade to the latest version, we recommend removing the install folder path. (For Windows : Xampp\htdocs Linux: /var/www/html)

 

Install SSL Certificate with Intermediate Certificate and Enforce TLS 1.2.

SSL certificates are acclimated to create an encrypted channel between the client and the server. Transmission of data during upload/download, account authentication, and any other sensitive information must be encrypted to avert eavesdropping.

With an SSL certificate, data is encrypted prior to being transmitted via the Internet. Encrypted data can be decrypted only by the server to which you authentically send it. This ascertains that the information you submit to websites will not be stolen or compromised.

To install SSL certificate on FileCloud, we do provide technical documentations to help you configure it properly.

You can refer the detailed documentation for FileCloud SSL configuration here: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/SSL+Configuration

Enforcing TLS1.2 will provide more security with data encryption. The relevant documentation can be found here: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/Enforcing+TLS1.2+and+Strong+ciphers

 

Rename the Admin Username to a Custom Username.

The default admin password can be changed from FileCloud admin dashboard.

Login to FileCloud Admin >> Settings >> Admin Tab.

Here you should be able to change the default admin username to the custom name of your choice.

Filecloud Admin

Filecloud Admin

Enable 2FA for Admins and Users.

2FA will always add an extra layer of security apart from the normal login methods.

For default admin users, we support email 2FA which can be configurable via FileCloud Admin >> Settings >> Admin Tab.

Enable 2FA for Admins and Users

Enable 2FA for Admins and Users

2FA for users should be configured from policy. This includes email, TOTP and SMS as well.

Configured From Policy

Configured From Policy

Configure AD/LDAP Server Though SSL Port

We highly advise using the 636 port to connect AD/LDAP with SSL, so that data transfer during the authentication will also be encrypted.

SSL Port

SSL Port

Configure Strong Passwords for Public Share and Default Users.

Although FileCloud is one of the most secure Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) solutions on the market, its security is still highly dependent on your passwords and authentication measures.

The following 3 options will ensure that users set a strong, alpha-numeric password and disallow the commonly used password to make sure the passwords are hack-proof.

The below settings are applicable only for public shares and default users in FileCloud.

Public Shares and Default Users

Public Shares and Default Users

For AD/LDAP user passwords, it should be dealt at AD/LDAP level which FileCloud does not intercept and change.

 

Enable Anti-Virus Scanning

Anti-virus scanning for file uploads helps to detect any sort of ransomware or payload vulnerabilities.

You can configure ClamAV or ICAP supported anti-viruses.

 

Enable Anti-virus Scanning

Enable Anti-virus Scanning

More information can be found here: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/Enable+Antivirus+Scanning

 

Enable ReCAPTCHA

FileCloud supports Google ReCAPTCHA. To configure this, you will require Google ReCAPTCHA API keys.

The main advantage of enabling this will make sure that the FileCloud is not getting any fraud or abuse attacks.

Enable ReCaptcha

Enable ReCaptcha

ReCAPTCHA configuration can be found here: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/reCaptcha+Settings.

 

Configure Managed Storage Encryption for Managed Storage.

Encryption abstracts the peril of data breach and unauthorized access. It ascertains that the data remains secure regardless of how it is stored and accessed.

If your FileCloud is running on managed storage/AWS S3, we do support encrypting your data in AES 256-bit

After you enable encryption, the initialization process begins so that a plain file key can be created.

A plain file key will be used to encrypt and decrypt all files using symmetric encryption.

If you set a password when you enable encryption, you will need to supply the master password before the initialization process can start.

Once the storage encryption is enabled and the plain file key is generated, it will be automatically used to encrypt all files stored in FileCloud.

Since this encryption process is a symmetric operation, the impact on your system to encrypt files is insignificant.

The documentation below will help you configure storage encryption: https://www.getfilecloud.com/supportdocs/display/cloud/Enabling+Storage+Encryption

 

Enable Account Lockout

To protect your system from unauthorized use, FileCloud provides account lockout policies. This can greatly help in the event of a brute force attack, in which a malicious user guesses your password through trial and error.

You can configure account lockouts from FileCloud admin UI.

Login to the Admin UI >> Settings > Misc >> Password

The below screenshot demonstrates the account lockout settings.

Enable Account Lockout

Enable Account Lockout

How to easily debug Windows network share access issues

When trying to access existing remote network shares from a Windows machine, you may see some errors that prevent you from accessing the share. This blog is about some of those errors and how to fix them.

Problem 1: User account has insufficient permissions

This is the most obvious issue, but is often overlooked.

If you log into Windows and are unable to access a remote network share, then make sure your account has sufficient access permissions for the share.

If a Windows service such as Apache web server is unable to access the network share, then make sure that the Windows service is run using an account that has sufficient permissions to access the share. When the service is run by a user account without proper access permissions, the service will not be able to read the share.

Solution:

To fix problems with share access for a service, follow these steps:

  1. Open the services window and double-click on the service that is facing the issue (for example, Apache Web Service). On the resulting properties dialog, switch to the Logon tab and enter the username and password of an account that has sufficient access to the network share.
  2. Restart the service.
  3. Now the service should be able to access the network shares.

Problem 2: Computer does not have a domain trust relationship

Solution

By default, domains are unable to communicate with other domains. For the communication to be established, a trust relationship between these domains should be configured.

After a trust relationship is defined between Domain A and Domain B, users of Domain B can log on to their own domain through a workstation in Domain A. Here Domain B is the trusted domain and Domain A is the trusting domain.

There are different types of trust relationships. Explaining all of them is out of the scope of this document. But some information is provided below:

Trust Type Transitive Non-Transitive Direction Authentication
Mechanism
Notes
Parent-Child Yes No Two-way Kerberos V5
or NTLM
Created automatically when a child domain is added.
Tree-Root Yes No Two-way Kerberos V5
or NTLM
Created automatically when a new Tree is added to a forest.
Shortcut Yes No One-way
or
Two-way
Kerberos V5
or NTLM
Created Manually.
Used to improve logon times between two domains
Forest Yes No One-way
or
Two-way
Kerberos V5
or NTLM
The trust allows all domains in one forest to trust all domains in another forest. Used to share resources between forests
External No Yes One-way NTLM Only Created Manually between domains in two separate Forests
Realm Yes Yes One-way
or
Two-way
Kerberos V5 Only Created Manually.
Used to access resources between a non-Windows Kerberos V5 realm and an AD DS domain.

 

Used to access resources between a non-Windows Kerberos V5 realm and an AD DS domain.

Steps to Create External Trusts

  1. Open Active Directory Domains and Trusts.
  2. Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Domains and Trusts.
  3. Right-click the domain node for the domain that you want to establish a trust with, and then click Properties.
  4. On the Trusts tab, click the New Trust, and then click Next.
  5. On the Trust Name page, type the Domain Name System (DNS) name (or NetBIOS name) of the domain, and then click Next.
  6. On the Trust Type page, click External trust, and then click Next.
  7. On the Direction of trust page, do one of the following:
  • To create a two-way, external trust, click Two-way. Otherwise click one-way which create an incoming trust

Problem 3: Share protected by authentication firewall

Even when the trust relationship is established successfully, access to network shares might fail. This could be due to authentication firewall rules preventing access for the user account.

To confirm what the actual error is:

  1. Log in to the Server from which you want to access the shares.
  2. Open a CMD prompt.
  3. If you need to check for a different user, then right click the CMD option and select Run as a different user. Give the credentials of the Apache logon user
  4. Then try to list the content of that network path location

eg : DIR \\test.local\Filecloud

If the listing is successful, then  the user account should have access permissions to the path. But if an error like the following appears below it, although the group or the user has been granted rights to access the share Then the share is in another domain and the trust was set up with ‘selective authentication.’

“The computer you are signing into is protected by an authentication firewall. The specified account is not allowed to authenticate the computer. “

Solution:

Navigate to the domain which has the share:

  1. Open the domain controller and open the folder Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. Go to View > Advanced Features > Computers  and select  the computer that needs to be authenticated.
  3. Click the Security tab, then add the user or group that requires access. >
  4. Tick the Allowed to authenticate box, and click Apply

This will fix the issue, and you will be able to access the shares and list.

Share Protected By Authentication Firewall

Share Protected By Authentication Firewall

Problem 4: Path too long

By default, Windows has a limit of 255 characters for the path. Trying to access files/folders from a Windows share longer than this limit might result in access issues.

Solution:

One option to fix this issue is to restructure the folder on the Windows share such that the path length does not exceed 255 characters.

Another option is to enable long path support for Windows (this support only is available on Windows 10 and server versions).

Steps

  1. Type regedit in the Search tab in windows. This will open the registry window.
  2. Navigate to the below location.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

  1. On the right window, find the value LongPathsEnabled. Double-click it. Change the value from 0 to 1, and click OK.
  2. If you don’t see the value listed, create it by right-clicking the FileSystem key, and choosing New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Give it the name LongPathsEnabled and set value 1
Path Too Long

Path Too Long

How to Synchronize a Synology NAS with FileCloud using CloudSync

In recent years, more and more companies have been moving to Cloud storage solutions like FileCloud to manage, store and share their files. Although many companies have switched entirely over from local on-premises solutions to hosted solutions, some companies prefer using a hybrid of the two solutions, so as to always have a copy of their data stored locally as backup, or for easy access of in-office teams.

This is where NAS technology comes in handy, as it is an affordable and easy way to store large quantities of files for local access.

When a FileCloud Online customer asks how to synchronize their hosted solution with their local NAS, we often suggest the VM solution. That is, to run a Windows VM and run FileCloud ServerSync. This way, it will have access to the NAS storage and sync it with their Team Folders on FileCloud Online (we will cover this use case in a separate article in the future). However, this is not always possible depending on your NAS system and system resources.

There is an alternative approach to solve this requirement. If you are using a Synology NAS (even a small DS 200J), you can sync your data using the built-in Cloud Sync application.

These are the requirements:

  1. Your FileCloud system needs to have the WebDAV protocol.
  2. You need to install the Synology CloudSync application if it is not already available in your DiskStation.
  3. Your NAS needs access to the internet to reach your FileCloud Online server.
  4. Configure CloudSync with FileCloud Online Server.

Enabling WebDAV Protocol in Your FileCloud Server

We will use our demo site for this example (democompany.filecloudonline.com). Open your web browser and navigate your admin portal (usually <yourcompany>.filecloudonline.com/admin).

After logging in, go to Settings / General and check whether the WebDAV checkbox indicates that the protocol is enabled. Remember to save your settings.

Enabling WebDAV Protocol in Your FileCloud Server

Enabling WebDAV Protocol in Your FileCloud Server

Installing the Synology CloudSync Application

Login to your Synology DSM and open your Package Center. Search for CloudSync.

Installing the Synology CloudSync Application

Installing the Synology CloudSync Application

If not already installed, please install it.

Configuring CloudSync with FileCloud Online Server

Open your CloudSync application. Once the Wizard pops up, please search for WebDAV.

Configuring CloudSync with FileCloud Online Server

Configuring CloudSync with FileCloud Online Server

Now select WebDAV and hit next. You should now fill in your FileCloud Online server details.

  • The server address will be your FileCloud Online production URL, with “/webdav” added at the end.
  • The username and password will be that of your Team Folder account.
    • To locate your account ID, please login to your FileCloud admin panel, and go to Settings / Team Folders.
    • To set up a password, please click on “Manage” and enter a new password.

Team Folder account:

Team Folder Settings

Team Folder Settings

Change password:

Change Password

Change Password

Team Folder Account Details

Team Folder Account Details

Back to your CloudSync setup:

Account Settings

Account Settings

In the next screen, you will define your Sync Folder and Sync direction:

Task Settings

Task Settings

Note: If you want to synchronize “all” your Team Folders, select the top folder in “My Files” as the “Remote path.”

Once you configure your settings, you will need to confirm them in the following window:

Confirm Settings

Confirm Settings

Once configured, CloudSync will now start syncing your data.

FileCloud Cloud Sync

FileCloud Cloud Sync

If you click in the “History” tab, you will see a list of files synced:

History Tab

History Tab

Your FileCloud Online Team Folder is in sync with your Synology NAS through the CloudSync application.

Synology NAS File Station Company Data Folder:

Synology NAS File Station

Synology NAS File Station

FileCloud Online Team Folders / Company Data:

FileCloud Online Team Folders

FileCloud Online Team Folders

Note: The synchronization using CloudSync and the WebDAV protocol uses an HTTP protocol. This process will easily work properly for hundreds or thousands of files. However, if you have millions of files, this option is not recommended.

FileCloud vs Box – Better Alternatives to Box

2020 was a lot of things, but the unprecedented chaos of the year inarguably taught us some things: that the age of information is upon us, and that the digitization of data is inevitable. 

As companies scrambled to adjust to the sudden norm of remote work and all the employee needs that arose with it, it became apparent that having a strong foundation of digital infrastructure was vital. Companies with powerful Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) solutions already in place were able to jump start their new ventures into remote work, without worrying about security, user training, data leaks and other administrative issues. 

Now, a year later, even the most rigid of companies have eased into their file-management solutions; some have even discovered the convenience of remote work and may be adopting it permanently in the future. 

However, choosing the wrong EFSS solution in long-term use cases can lead to huge losses in fines and reputation down the road. After all, investing in a solution that offers either too little or too much functionality can cost you valuable time, money and resources. 

We aim to help administrators and business-owners make the right decision about the best EFSS solution for you, as well as avoid some common pitfall traps when it comes to choosing one. That’s why we’re here to offer a comparison of the top EFSS solutions on the market between our very own solution, FileCloud. 

About Box

Today, we’re going to be going over a detailed comparison of Box vs. FileCloud. While perhaps less of a household name than Dropbox, Box 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

About FileCloud

Naturally, we’ve aimed to optimize our solution to be one of the strongest and most feature-rich solutions on the market. We firmly believe that FileCloud is one of the most affordable and powerful enterprise file-sharing and sync 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

Comparisons 

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.

The lowest possible options in Box’s Business Plan will cost $11.99/user/month, whereas FileCloud Server (Self-Host / On-Premise) will cost you just $4.20/user/month and FileCloud Online (hosted by us) costs you $10/user/month.

For a medium-sized company with 100 users, this could save you thousands each year, without compromising on features! 

Privacy and Security

Box offers incredibly solid security, with file-locking, two-factor authentication (2FA), SSO, encryption at rest and Active Directory support. These functionalities both help your team stay away from account compromisations, as well as prevent malicious activity. However, Box does not offer integration with existing home directories, NTFS support, network share or network versioning support.

FileCloud, on the other hand, provides all of those things! Plus, in addition to our newest DRM capabilities, we’re also committed to keeping your files safe with remote-data-wiping, strong encryption models, data loss prevention (DLP) and automatic alerts on unusual activities.

Hosting Options

As mentioned above, FileCloud offers a unique hybrid hosting option. Why choose between the security of on-premise file-hosting, and the flexibility of public cloud storage, when you can have both? Enjoy low-latency, local-file access in the office, and seamless remote access with the cloud from the comfort of your own home or on the go.

Box does not offer on-premise or self-hosted options. In addition, it also doesn’t offer multi-tenancy support, nor can it run on docker or Linux, surprisingly! Of course, these are all available in FileCloud’s vast array of hosting options. 

Storage, Sync & Backup

Box, while it offers extremely strong sync and storage features, has unfortunately put in place a ton of limitations for even premium plan users. While it commendably has no storage limit for total file size, it has a measly large file transfer limit of 5GB, which can easily be hit with even the smallest of log files and the like. The Storage Sync function is limited per plan, and Box does not support local storage.

FileCloud offers all of the features above, with a few notable differences: our plans do not restrict file size transfer limit at all, meaning you’ll be able to send as many massive files as you could possibly need. We also offer branch office synchronization for the needs of particularly large organizations. Naturally, we also provide endpoint backup for multiple folders.

Mobile Features

Today, it’s unreasonable to limit work to a work computer — or even to a laptop. It has just about become a necessity to be able to work on-the-go and respond to emergencies or new situations with speed and flexibility. It’s for this reason that we’ve put special care into crafting our mobile applications. Access and share large files with your team or manage team permissions anywhere, anytime, and from any device with our iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows apps. 

Unfortunately, Box, while it has a mobile application that supports iOS and Android, does not offer iOS or Android media backup, which is a pretty important feature to have in case of misplaced or compromised devices. 

Governance and Retention

FileCloud, on the other hand, lets administrators automate all processes related to protecting sensitive files. For instance, administrators can create a retention policy that disables a user’s ability to delete or edit any of the files and folders named in the policy. To resolve the issue of conflicting policies. FileCloud gives your system administrators the ability to control how files are retained and deleted, as well as policies such as legal hold, archival and retention for an unlimited amount of time.

Box offers a similar retention policy system, which is an impressive feature to have in any sort of Cloud Enterprise File Sharing and Sync solution! We were certainly very impressed to see another solution match us in terms of data governance, as data security is one of our very top priorities. 

Customization and Branding

FileCloud offers a comprehensive set of options that let you whitelabel your solution for your team, vendors, partners and clients. After all, we believe your file sharing system should promote your brand, not ours. You can customize FileCloud with your company logo, login page image, email templates, ToS and user interface elements. Plus, you can also run FileCloud under your own business domain.

Box does offer some solid custom branding capabilities, but only for Enterprise Plan Users, ensuring that you’ll need to fork out some extra costs in order to obtain what we believe is a fairly basic and necessary function. 

Auditing Features

Box provides a very impressive array of auditing features for system administrators to keep track of. With an access-monitoring control panel, detailed audit reports, geo IP access reports, pattern search and role-based administration, Box definitely shines in terms of logging user actions. However, mobile device management (which is vital in today’s age of working on-the-go) is only offered to Enterprise Plan users. Box also lacks file analytics, which typically report a summary of client applications according to OS and type, user shares, active file-management, and file type distribution.

FileCloud offers a much more detailed audit log, with all of the above and the following additions: new account creations, logged-in users, common searches and the quantity of uploaded/downloaded files. Because just about every operation is optionally logged, we also offer the following log-management tools to avoid overly large audit database entries: removal of log entries with the administrative dashboard, configurable limits for which operations are logged and exportable .CSV archive log files. 

Workflow Automation

FileCloud integrates with many external apps, but also promotes efficiency by simplifying time-consuming tasks via workflow automation. FileCloud’s workflow automation helps design and manage processes with simple logical statements. Users can use conditional combinations to automate many file related tasks from developing business processes to enforcing policies.

Box offers all of these features, making it a truly impressive solution in terms of workflow automation!

Conclusion

There is no such thing as a one-size fit all solution for EFSS solutions. Each enterprise may value different features, price points and focuses over others. 

At FileCloud, however, we aim to meet all sorts of enterprises, organizations and companies where they stand, in terms of their file sharing, sync and management needs. We firmly believe that with our vast range of plans, features and experience, FileCloud has something for everyone.

We hope that this article has helped you in finding the perfect EFSS solution for your organization! 

Cyber Security Trends To Watch Out in 2021

Cyber Security Trends 2021

 

With ever-growing cybercrime rates and AI stepping up its hacking game, the field of cybersecurity holds an instrumental position in almost every organization.

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing with hackers finding new ways to target businesses and cybersecurity professionals trying to keep up with the defenses. The proliferation of IoT devices, the increased acceptance of a cloud-only model, and new threats like ransomware and botnets are some of the key factors driving cybersecurity trends. Companies of all sizes have embraced the cloud and open source has become the standard for infrastructure software. Both pose their own blend of benefit and risk. A major data center attack or failure could be problematic for many companies, and we can certainly expect an increase in the number of cyber-attacks based on open source vulnerabilities

Ransomware

Cybercrime is everywhere! Cybercriminals are opportunistic. The Pandemic has made the world more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance provider Coalition states that ransomware accounted for 41% of all cyber insurance claims filed in the first half of 2020. Over the past 12 months, the perpetrators behind these cyberattacks got better at infiltrating enterprise networks, with brute-force attacks on remote access software such as Remote Desktop Protocol and VPNs, the malware used to gain a foothold, and bots to help spread the ransomware.  Targeting the most vulnerable victims and strategies that make it difficult to recover encrypted data will keep ransomware the most profitable way for cybercriminals in 2021 and the single biggest threat for all enterprises. That makes it critical for information security officers to ensure they follow best practices for reducing ransomware risk this year.

Digital Rights Management

The number of internet users will continue to increase in the coming year, and 84% of organizations will continue to support remote work even after a stay at home orders are lifted. Combining these trends with the rapid development and adoption of technologies like 5G (which enables malicious actors to execute attacks and move data much more quickly) suggests that we will see an increase in the number of people around the world who are impacted by data breaches. Due to the rising demand for digital content security and management, the DRM market is expected to expand at a significant pace this year. The adoption of innovative revenue models and the introduction of stringent policies and regulations by governments for the protection of intellectual property (IP) from unfair usage and illegal competition is also driving digital rights management. Lack of awareness about enterprises about the benefits of DRM solutions and lack of common standards to manage digital content restrict the growth of this market. The various digital rights management applications such as mobile content, mobile gaming, and e-books in different verticals offer opportunities for the global DRM market.

Zero Trust Network Access

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) services, also known as a software-defined perimeter (SDP), are a set of technologies built to provide fast, secure access to private applications without placing a user on the network.

Based on the sensitivity of data access, we should be consistently re-verifying users at points where it makes sense. At the same time, we want to make sure the user experience for legitimate users is as seamless and comfortable as possible. It’s a balance between making things more productive for end users while increasing the security level by continuously monitoring and deciding if we need to re-prompt for verification.

In the zero-trust security model, you grant access – to critical applications, data, and endpoints – only to those users and devices that have already been authenticated and verified. This approach is based on three essential steps:

  • Verifying users when they login to the system
  • Validating devices before they connect to the network
  • Managing privileged access

Cloud Misconfigurations

Misconfiguration occurs when computing assets are set up incorrectly, often leaving them vulnerable to malicious activity. Misconfiguration of cloud resources is a leading cause of data breaches and could allow deletion or modification of resources and service interruption. Cloud misconfigurations are considered a data security risk by 95% of IT decision-makers. As public clouds become more widely used within an organization, the risk of misconfiguration grows. But it can be avoided as long as organizations use cybersecurity and policy automation to keep up with the sheer volume of network activity. If more IT security tasks are automated, organizations are better prepared to reduce hybrid cloud complexity and improve network visibility to prevent cloud misconfiguration from happening in the first place.

Compliance Will Be the Key

Security and compliance teams face an uncertain 2021, and there will no doubt be increased regulation as a result of COVID-19. But there is also data compliance uncertainty between the US, Europe, and the UK as a result of the UK exiting the European Union in January 2021. Organizations will need to adopt protective security arrangements to meet the changing threat landscape, including the challenge of managing a remote workforce at scale. 55% of enterprise executives plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2021 and 51% are adding full-time cyber staff in 2021.

2020 has been a difficult year for compliance. We have already seen the EU-US Privacy Shield being revoked. Any businesses that handle sensitive or personal data, such as HIPAA-compliant healthcare organizations, must take extra care during this pandemic. Each legislation is still enforceable despite some relaxation of enforcement by governing bodies like the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Other data privacy acts, such as GDPR, CCPA will continue to take action against businesses that suffer a data breach.

Passwordless Authentication

The identity will become the new security perimeter. In 2021, IT teams will implement a more robust identity and access management (IAM) strategy and solutions such as Single Sign-On (SSO), password management, and multifactor authentication (MFA) to support a secure digital dynamic workforce and to further enhance remote employees’ security. We will see a larger number of organizations adopt passwordless authentication.

Data Sovereignty Will be a Priority

Privacy and data protection have been a major driver for restricting international data transfers. Policymakers in the EU and around the world are focusing their attention on the rollout of digital infrastructures like the cloud and 5G, to reduce dependence on international suppliers and to prevent potential surveillance activities by foreign governments. Data localization approaches have been embraced around the world (e.g. Russia, Brazil, China, India, Vietnam) to ensure easier law enforcement access to data for criminal investigations and prosecutions. Finding a policy solution to cross-border data transfers is an unprecedented opportunity: a new Privacy Shield might set the benchmark for global data flows.

Smaller and Efficient Collaboration Tools

we’ve seen time and time again that these open, large-scale video calls created opportunities for bad actors to gain access and disrupt meetings. As companies double down on cybersecurity and employees prioritize productivity and experience higher levels of online fatigue, the functionality of these all-hands calls will diminish. Instead, people will prefer private, highly-focused video groups and breakout rooms centered around efficiency, specific goals, and collaborative interactions.

FileCloud Aurora – All About Visual and Animated Cues

Introduction

In November 2020, FileCloud released update 20.2 – a complete rehaul of our Sync, Mobile and browser UI and functionalities. We at FileCloud have been working on this for a very, very long time, and so we’re incredibly proud to present to you: FileCloud Aurora.

Today, we’re going to be covering one of the most important visual functionality additions to our new UI: Visual and Animated Cues.

For a comprehensive overview of all of FileCloud Aurora’s new features, please visit our previous blog post Introducing FileCloud Aurora! Brand New UI and DRM Capabilities!.

What Are Visual and Animated Cues?

We’re all about helping you and your team save time. FileCloud Aurora brings workflow efficiency to the next level with tons of quality of life updates that help you work fast. These cues range from simple color-coding of each separate part of your Drive in order to help you subconsciously navigate the workspace faster, to easy-to-recognize icons that save space while also helping you work faster. 

We’ve also added tons of personalization options for your viewing pleasure — when you’re spending as much time as you are working within an EFSS solution, the least it could do is be themed in your favorite color, after all!

Color Palette / Personalization

You can also completely change the color palette of your workspace! Don’t like the default color themes? Change them to any hue and varying saturation levels in the settings like so:

Not only are the colors customizable, so is almost everything else on display, such as date format, time format and language. Of course, FileCloud Aurora also boasts our usual branding capabilities, in which admins can change every aspect of the workspace, including URL, login background, templates and more.

We’re confident that no other file-sharing solution offers remotely the level of customizability to your own workspace. Naturally, we also have a clean dark theme ready for you to use. #DarkThemeMasterRace, after all. 

Visual Hints, Cues & Animations

As mentioned before, there are tons of little cues and hints that we’ve added into FileCloud Aurora during the redesign process of the UI. Not only are there now animations for each little action you take with your files, there are also colored visual cues that mark out each separate area of your library. 

For instance, Team Folders are marked with a dark blue dot in this workspace. Navigating to Team Folders adds a dark blue line across the top of the screen, indicating which area the user is currently in. This means that the more you use Aurora, the easier you’ll find to navigate the workspace, and you’ll never need to scrutinize the URL or header to figure out which area you’re viewing — you’ll just subconsciously know!

Conclusion

It might seem like a subtle change, but when your team is shaving seconds off every action, it all adds up to save you and your team tons of time. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope that you’re enjoying our FileCloud 20.2 Update: FileCloud Aurora! 

Top 10 EFSS Solutions of 2021

In our age of information, most modern enterprises have started to move towards the digitization of data. The recent shift towards remote work due to the COVID pandemic has done nothing but encourage this move even more. 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

 

  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

Best Alternatives for OneDrive in 2021

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. 

OneDrive is one such top contender and one of the biggest solutions on the market. However, there are certain issues with OneDrive that make it a less-than-desirable option for certain enterprises. As such, we’ve put together a list of great EFSS solutions for your consideration, as well as their pros and cons, so that you can pick the one that offers all the features your enterprise might need, while remaining affordable and within your price range. 


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.

Pros

  • Great integration with other Microsoft Office Tools
  • Device synchronization ensures access of files from any device.
  • Cloud storage of data makes it’s easy to access files and documents.
  • Multiple files can be uploaded simultaneously

Cons

  • Data privacy issues and lack of multi-factor / other authentication options
  • Has less base storage and quickly gets pricey past the 1TB storage option
  • User interface is clunky and takes time to get used to
  • Syncing of shared files can produce issues and even get slow

Now that we’ve gone over OneDrive in-depth, let’s go over some alternatives, in case those aforementioned issues are in fact a deal-breaker for your company.


FileCloud

 

  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.

Pros

  • Beautiful, simple, intuitive and responsive user interface that can be accessed via local client or browser.
  • Tons of keyboard shortcuts and quick actions to cut down on time
  • No file limit — massive files can be exchanged with anyone anywhere in the world at enterprise level speeds.
  • Ultimate data governance compliance and security, with DLP functionalities, an extensive admin panel, audit trails, encryption and multi-factor authentication
  • Collaborative tools and integration with tons of common office software
  • Enterprise-level content management capabilities: file-versioning, metadata classification, user policy management and light workflows for the easier management and organization of your team’s hard work.
  • Unlimited free external accounts for clients, vendors, etc.

Cons

  • Setup process can be intimidating without proper training, although there is documentation to mitigate that.
  • Unable to use a protocol different than HTTPs for downloads; this can be problematic for companies that restrict it.
  • The solution does not offer a free plan, although there is a two week free trial and a 10$/year Community Edition Plan.

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

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.

Pros

  • Offers file-versioning: Once a file has changed, Drive keeps an older version of the file as backup in case of malicious activity or negligence
  • 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).
  • Plugins for Microsoft Office that allow for multiple people to edit a file simultaneously without creating conflicts.
  • 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, which usually include not just file syncing capabilities but an entire office suite.
  •  You cannot edit files without downloading them
  • The Dropbox file compression will degrade the media quality to a noticeable extent when clicking a direct play link
  • Mobile versions face challenges when dealing with big files, rendering the solution less flexible

Google Drive

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

Pros

  • Lovely mobile application and collaborative tools for anywhere, anytime access
  • Has a great free option, making it useful for any small businesses that do not have a lot of funds
  • Readily compatible with many apps.
  • Ease of installation, ease of setup and you don’t need much technical knowledge to use it as an end-user.
  • Gmail integration

Cons

  • The processes of uploading (automatically), deleting, scrolling, and downloading are tedious as they have to be done by checking each file.
  • Interface can quickly become cluttered when large amounts of files are uploaded and edited
  • No virtual drives or mounting to computers as hard drives
  • Security issues galore in the past; they’ve been fixed today, but it’s still certainly concerning.

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.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of its finer points, for ease of comparison:

Pros:

  • 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

Unfortunately, as mentioned, there are some huge deal-breakers that come with the solution.

Cons:

  • No indication when a file is open by another user, leading to over-saving of each other’s work during collaboration.
  • Box is relatively pricey compared to its competitors
  • Not much documentation and an unfriendly user interface make it hard to get into
  • Box Sync doesn’t work on older Windows OS versions
  • Transfers can be slow due to heavy local encryption

 


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.

Pros

  • Great plugin support. For instance: the Outlook plug-in makes it easy to share files securely with customers via email.
  • Flexible folder creation and sharing process
  • Easily share large files with clients, vendors and external personnel
  • Allows multiple remote teams to collaborate in real-time with a simple management process.

Cons

  •  Interface is less intuitive compared to other solutions.
  • Not commonly used in all industries, presenting a learning curve to some users.
  • Sorting out your preferences is time-consuming. As a standalone product it suffers from lack of integration with Google and/or Microsoft products.
  • Confusing and varied pricing with many features locked behind paywalls

Conclusion

There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all EFSS option, but we hope that this helps your enterprise, company or organization make a better and informed decision about which EFSS solution is best for you. If you have any questions about our FileCloud solution, we are always happy to answer them — just pop over to our main site and strike up a conversation with any of our live chat specialists!

How to Succeed in a Remote Work Setting

The Key To Remote Work is Organizing For Success. In this article, we are going to be breaking down chapter four of Madhan Kanagavel’s book, “Get Remote Work Done.” In his book, he lists five steps on organizing for success and inevitably succeeds in working remotely.

Prioritize Tasks in Sets of Three

According to Kanagavel, “ one of the hardest things to do is to figure out the things you need to work on every day.” Whether you are working from home or in an office, prioritizing your tasks is difficult. 

It is difficult to prioritize tasks because we often prioritize everything or nothing, leaving us stuck with a mountain of work and no motivation. The best way to prioritize your duties is to listen to Mark Twain. Mark Twain once said, “eat a live frog in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”

Now, we don’t recommend eating a live frog. What Mark Twain is trying to convey is that if you do the most challenging thing first, everything else will appear effortless. When prioritizing your list for the day, take on the first most time consuming/important task. That way, when you are done, all you have left are two easy tasks. 

Most people tend to accomplish more with fewer tasks. Further, people tend to perform better when they organize their tasks by level of importance and in three’s. Additionally, prioritizing your top three tasks will improve your focus.

Zero Inbox

With the rise in remote work, the majority of our communication comes from email. However, email saps productivity. According to a 2019 study by Adobe, titled, “Adobe Email Usage Study,” most employees spend up to three hours every day managing their emails. 

Suppose workers checked their emails three hours every day. That is 15 hours a week wasted. On a monthly scale, that would be a total of 60 hours spent checking emails. On a yearly scale, that is 720 hours completely wasted. That means 720 hours of lost time and time equals money in business. 

According to Kanagavel and Merlin Mann, the best way to regain control of your inbox is to implement the Zero Inbox method. “Zero Inbox is about keeping your inbox clear or almost empty so that you clearly know what actions if any are needed by quickly glancing at your inbox,” (Kanagavel, 2020).

The most effective way to approach Zero Inbox is to create multiple inboxes. According to Kanagavel, you should have three different inboxes: 

  1. Regular Inbox
  2. To Read Inbox
  3. Actions Inbox

Your regular inbox is where all your new email comes in. The to-read inbox should be for emails that can be read at your leisure. Finally, your actions inbox is where the highest priority emails that require an action from you go. 

Organizing your inbox will eliminate the time spent sorting out which emails are important and which aren’t. For a total email nirvana experience, organize your inbox. 

Write Everything Down

“NEVER TRUST YOUR MEMORY,” (Kanagavel, 2020). As you have heard in school, most people remember things better when they write them down. While the school adage is true, most people work better with digital tools.

Whether it is handwriting your notes, tasks, and reminders, or inputting them digitally, pick the system, you can trust yourself to use every day. Having a sort of task tracking system in place will ensure relief, organization, and feeling accomplished. 

However, one thing to note is that “a long list is a dead list,” (Kanagavel, 2020). While it is great to have a list of things that need to be accomplished, you will not maximize your workflow if your list is incredibly long. Keep your list short and sweet. 

Reduce Interruptions

Reducing interruptions should be self-explanatory, but do you know why reducing interruptions is a useful method for getting remote work done? According to Kanagavel, “ every time you are interrupted by your phone, a co-worker, or the door, you are switching from a deep zone of focus to something trivial.” 

When you switch from being in the zone to something trivial, it can be hard to get back in that zone. To maximize your productivity while working from home, minimize the distractions that do not help you work. 

Separate Chunks of Work

At the beginning of the post, we talked about the importance of prioritizing your tasks from most important to least important in sets of three’s. Now, we are going to discuss the importance of separating each group of tasks throughout the day.

For instance, the three tasks you need to complete today should be placed at the beginning of your day. Doing so will prevent you from feeling drained. Instead, it might make you feel excited since you have taken care of the most important tasks first.

If you have calls and meetings to attend, place this in the middle of the day. Since you finished your tasks in the morning, you will most likely be feeling a surge of productivity and excitement. Use that excitement and productivity zone towards your calls and meetings.

Finally, when the end of the day has arrived, conduct a closing on the day’s work. This could be pre-listing your tomorrow’s tasks or reading and sending off any final emails. Whatever you like to do at the day’s end, please do it.

Now, you don’t have to follow this particular curriculum. If you find it easier for you to take calls and meetings in the morning and doing your three tasks in the afternoon, do that instead. To succeed in a remote work environment, you should set your tasks in organized time frames.  

Get Remote Work Done Like a Champ

There are many ways to succeed in remote work. In this blog, we covered chapter four of Madhan Kanagavel’s book, “Get Remote Work Done.” To take back your productive day in a remote work environment, consider doing the following: 

  1. Prioritize Your Tasks 
  2. Clean and Organize your Inbox
  3. Write Everything Down
  4. Minimize Distractions
  5. Separate Your Work Into Time Frames

To download a free version of Madhan’s book, visit AirSend