October 31, 2018

    File Sharing Q&A: What Are File Sharing Alternatives?

    Have you been tasked with finding a new file sharing alternative for your company? While you’re the expert in your business, you may not have expert knowledge about file sharing alternatives, or how to choose the right option. Don’t worry. There are experts in this field who can answer some of the complex questions that come with adopting a file sharing solution. And, when you know more about your options, you’ll be equipped to make the right decision.

    For more insight, explore these answers to some common questions about file sharing alternatives.


    What Are File Sharing Alternatives?

    File sharing alternatives are the different ways you can share files. Whether you’re sending them to a coworker internally or a client, it’s ideal for companies to have a uniform way to share files. That cuts down on confusion or lost data.

    Instead of just emailing files back and forth, here are a few file sharing alternatives to consider:

    • Free Cloud Servers – These include Dropbox or Google Drive. They’re free, public solutions that anyone can use. What they lack in security, they have in usability. They’re ideal for casual users, and are accessible via web browser from anywhere.
    • In-House Server – Many companies choose to build their own file sharing solution that’s owned by their company. These servers are private and typically only accessible by users on company networks.
    • Hosted File Sharing Solution – These solutions, typically accessible via web browser, are managed by a vendor. You don’t need to invest in any equipment, as the vendor takes care of everything, from running the solution to providing security measures.

    Each of these file sharing alternatives have pros and cons. And, each option is ideal for a different set of users. Keep your company’s needs in mind as you evaluate each option.

    What Are Cryptographic Add-ons and Do I Need Them?

    Cryptographic add-ons can be really helpful if you’re using a public file sharing solution like Dropbox or Google Drive. While these options are common and user-friendly, you’ll find that they lack the high security standards that are essential today. So, what do you do when you need to protect your data? Add another layer of security.

    That’s where cryptographic add-ons come in. Cyptographic add-ons encrypt unencrypted data stored on public cloud servers. These tools fill in the security gaps many file sharing alternatives have. So, while your solution might lack security measures, you don’t have to worry about your data being compromised. It’s like adding a lock to your door; it keeps unwanted visitors out.

    Some common cryptographic add-ons are Boxcryptor, Cryptomator, and VeraCrypt. Like with any software, there are upsides and downsides to each option. You can find free and subscription-based plans, with some options charging a few dollars a month. The most popular ones are zero-knowledge encryption solutions, meaning the providers don’t have access to any of the data you’re encrypting.

    One downside you might run into is sharing restrictions. Cryptographic add-on solutions require both file senders and recipients to have an account with the solution. This means if your sharing a document with a client, they may find this more than just a little inconvenient.

    If you want to use a public cloud solution, then a cryptographic add-on is a necessity. But, why partner with two providers when you could partner with a single secure file sharing host? If you choose a secure enterprise-level file sharing solution, encryption measures are already built-in, so you don’t have to take the extra step of choosing an add-on to keep your data safe.


    What Are the Most Popular Enterprise Options?

    Because large enterprises have different needs than small or mid-size businesses, there are a some file sharing alternatives that are right for these companies. Enterprise solutions can accommodate a high volume of data and many user accounts.

    One feature you should look for in an enterprise file sharing solution is the ability to scale the solution based on your needs. For instance, if you acquire another company, you want to be able to give those new employees, regardless of how many there are, access to your solution. Or if your storage needs increase, you don’t want to be slowed down by storage limitations.

    Some common enterprise file sharing solutions are Sharetru, Box, BrickFTP, or SmartFile, among others. But, it can be hard to differentiate between each of these options. The best way to make sure you're getting the right enterprise file sharing solution is by researching each option carefully, making a list of the features you need in a solution, and try each option out before you commit.


    Should I Build My Own File Sharing Software?

    A lot of companies consider this question. You might think that building your own file sharing alternative solution gives you more control over security measures and the specifications of the solution. And, in a sense, you’re right. But, building your own solution can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare, bringing with it a lot of work and high costs.

    First, let’s talk about the hardware component. When you build a file sharing alternative, you need servers capable of storing all your files. Depending on your company’s needs, one server might not be enough. And, when each one is thousands of dollars, your costs start adding up quickly.

    There’s also a software component you have to pay for. You need the operating system and the file sharing software license to run your solution. Add a few hundred or even thousands more dollars to your tab. And, you have the labor needed to build the file sharing alternative. If your IT team is already overwhelmed by their workload, they won’t have capacity to take on a huge project like building a file sharing alternative. Some companies will need to hire additional IT professionals to build and maintain the solution.

    And finally, don’t forget to include regular upgrades to your software, firewalls and security measures. Hackers’ methods get more advanced all the time, which means you constantly have to stay one step ahead.

    Building a file sharing alternative in-house isn’t just a one-time project. It takes an ongoing investment of money and labor to make sure it is efficient and secure. If want to avoid these burdens, your best option is to partner with a FTP solution provider. They’re focused on keeping your solution up and running. And, instead of waiting around for a file sharing alternative to be built, you just sign up with a host, and your solution could be up and running within minutes.

    Now that you know a little bit more about file sharing alternatives, it’s easy to see that the best option for many companies is partnering with a host to manage your solution. This makes it easy for you to keep your data protected, and you don’t have to make any investments in hardware, software, or labor to maintain your solutions. It’s the most efficient file sharing alternative to use. 

    Tag(s): FTP

    Martin Horan

    Martin, Sharetru's Founder, brings deep expertise in secure file transfer and IT, driving market niche success through quality IT services.

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