September 26, 2018

    What is the Most Cost-Effective File Sharing Solution?

    For most businesses, budget is a huge factor in every decision, including choosing a file sharing solution. Are you looking for a cost-effective solution to help you better manage, share, and secure your files? Before you go with the cheapest option, there are a few things you should know.

    In this article, we’ll compare three file sharing solution options, the costs associated with each, and how to determine which one is right for your business need.

    Is Free Really Free?

    Many small or mid-size business owners with tight budgets may be drawn in by “freemium” offerings. These file storage solutions offer their basic version for free, with the opportunity to upgrade features, like storage space, at an additional fee. Think solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox.

    While free might be tempting, these options come with a few problems that put your company at risk, namely when it comes to security.

    Access Controls

    With these “cost-effective” solutions, you won’t have granular access controls over who can upload, download, edit, and delete your files or folders. With a top file sharing solution, you do have these controls.

    How can you be sure to choose the right file sharing software?

    Compare the top 7 file sharing software solutions!

    View the Comparison Guide

    User Authentication

    One area where solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive fall short are logins and user authentications. Typically, you just need an username and password to access your account, which can make it easy for hackers to gain access. Using a top file sharing solution, you have access to features like multiple authentication methods (verifying identities with passwords and/or IP addresses) and multi-factor authentication (verifying identities with personal questions or codes sent to phone or email addresses).


    The biggest risk associated with compromising on file sharing security is non-compliance. If your company is subject to government compliance regulations, failing to align with those regulations can lead to loss of business, expensive fines, or even jail time. Solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive don’t have built-in compliance features like top FTP solutions.

    While you may feel like adopting a more secure file sharing solution is a big investment, you’re actually put at greater financial risk when you choose cheaper, less secure options. While these solutions may be cost-effective upfront, there could be major costs, in the form of fines and lost business, in the long run.

    So, now that you know freemium file sharing solutions aren’t the ideal option for businesses, let’s look at an alternative: in-house file sharing solutions.


    Is In-House the Answer?

    Is building your own file sharing solution better than committing to the ongoing costs of using a hosted solution? For a business owner that’s keeping an eye on the budget, building an in-house solution comes with high upfront and ongoing costs that you likely want to avoid.

    Here are a few:

    • Hardware – The first investment you have to make for an in-house file sharing solution is in the servers you’ll use to store your data. These can be a few thousand dollars each, and if your team grows, you’ll have to invest in more servers to support the data increases. Also, you’ll have to give up physical space in your office to store the hardware. (Plus, this doesn’t even factor in backup servers for disaster recovery.)
    • Operating System – Next, you’ll have to purchase an operating system to run your file sharing solution. Plan for the cost to be upward of $500.
    • FTP Software License – Now, you’re investing in the actual FTP or SFTP software license to facilitate file storage and sharing. Plan to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 on the license.
    • Security Measures – When building your own file sharing solution, you can’t compromise on security. You’ll have to invest in a professional-grade firewall to protect data. Usually these run at least $500.
    • Maintenance and Upgrades – Since the file sharing solution is fully your own, you’re responsible for any maintenance issues that arise. You’re also on the hook for updating your software and improving security measures as needed.
    • Salaried Staff – On top of all these other costs, you will probably need to employ additional IT support. Building and maintaining your own file sharing solution requires a huge time investment, one which your current IT resources won’t have time to handle.

    Ultimately, building your own solution brings with it major upfront costs and a lack of flexibility for scaling your solution in the future. Since freemium options and in-house solutions won’t work, let’s look at the alternative – a top file sharing solution.


    Hosted FTP Solutions: The Most for Your Money

    Securing a professional-grade file sharing solution doesn’t have to break the bank. There are options available that strike a balance between keeping your data secure and minimizing your overhead costs. Many top file sharing solutions have different price offerings based on how much storage you need and how many users you need to accommodate.

    FTP Today’s pricing structure, for example, is designed to meet the financial needs of any organization. The solution is available at four different price points ranging from $50 to $500 per month. You can also add users and gigabytes of storage as needed. This allows you to customize the solution to meet your business demands, while also staying within budget.

    Before you even start the search for the best solution for your company, define what you need from a file sharing solution. Here are a few features you may want to look for:

    • Security – Your greatest concern when looking for a file sharing solution should be security. As outlined above, there are a lot of risks associated with using non-secure file sharing solutions. Make sure the solution you choose includes the following security features:
      • Multi-factor Authentication
      • Firewalls
      • Encryption
      • Country Access Restrictions
      • IP Access Restrictions
      • Granular Access Controls
    • Easy to Use – Adopting new software can be an uncomfortable change for many employees, a contributing factor for why more than half of all IT projects fail. If you no longer want your employees sharing secure files via email, you need a solution that is easy to use and navigate. When software is complicated to use or employees aren’t properly trained, they’ll fall back on old habits, like simply emailing documents back and forth.
    • Scalability – Your business needs today probably won’t look identical to your business needs in the future. Instead of making a long-term commitment to a file sharing solution that meets your needs now, you need one that will scale as your business goes from small to midsize to large. Look for file sharing solutions that make it easy to add users and increase storage.
    • Disaster Recovery – You need a plan in place before a disaster occurs. Losing all the work you’ve done in a day could have major financial implications for your business. So, look for a file sharing solution that features advanced disaster recovery, automatically backing up your data and storing it in backup servers housed in a different location than your primary servers.

    As you’re evaluating hosted file sharing solutions, keep your specific business needs in mind. Top file sharing solutions don’t have to break the bank, you just need to select the right one with a flexible pricing structure. When you do, you’ll benefit from professional-grade file security, while avoiding financial risks of freemium options and the upfront costs of in-house solutions.

    Learn more about while file sharing solution is best for your business. Download this free comparison guide now.

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    Tag(s): FTP

    Martin Horan

    Founder of Sharetru (Formerly FTP Today) and a respected voice in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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