October 10, 2018

    How Do I Know Which File Sharing Solution is Right for Me?

    With so many file sharing solutions on the market, it can be hard to determine which option can meet all your company’s needs. The best way to evaluate a solution is by asking yourself what you need from the file sharing solution, outlining your goals, and trying it out for yourself.

    Learn a little bit more about how to choose the right file sharing solution for your company.

    Ask the Right Questions

    The best place to start your search for a file sharing solution is by asking yourself a couple of important questions:

    1. What would happen if my sensitive data was intercepted?
    2. Can I afford to face the consequences of a data breach?
    3. How secure of a file sharing solution do I need?

    The answers to these questions will set a premise for your file sharing solution search. And, it will help you draw a line between whether you need a basic, freemium file sharing solution (like Dropbox or Google Drive) that may be easy to use but lacks security, or if you need a highly secure solution with unparalleled data protection.

    Assess Your Goals

    Outlining your goals for a file sharing solution is a good way to make sure you’re choosing the right one. Find a solution that checks all of the boxes for your company. Some common goals you may have for your file sharing solution could include:

    Keeps Data Secure

    First and foremost, you need a file sharing solution that keeps your data safe. That’s a non-negotiable for many companies. Data breaches bring both risks and headaches for impacted companies. You could lose the trust of your clients, you could face major non-compliance fines, and your reputation could be irreparably damaged.

    Data breaches can also cut into your productivity. Lost or stolen data means your employees can’t work efficiently. And if your file sharing solution goes down, no one can work. This lost productivity and monetary risks of a data breach make security an essential goal for your file sharing solution.

    Choose a file sharing solution with security measures like in-transit and at-rest data encryption, advanced firewalls, and multiple authentication methods.

    Maintains Compliance

    While connected to data security, maintaining compliance is a separate goal you should consider. Top file sharing solutions like FTP Today support companies as they align with compliance standards like HIPAA, ITAR, GLBA, SOX, or PCI-DSS. These file sharing solutions have built-in security measures – like firewalls, intrusion prevention, encryption, and more – that help you align with the compliance regulations you’re subject to. You don’t have to invest any extra effort to remain compliant.

    Also, be sure to consider where your data is housed, whether that is in the country or internationally. This could have an impact on compliance, especially if you’re subject to ITAR regulations. You also need security measures like country access restrictions and IP address restrictions.

    Meets Deployment Needs

    Are you wondering if you should build your own file sharing solution or just partner with a cloud FTP provider? Regardless of your answer, you need a file sharing solution that meets your deployment requirements. So, if you want invest a lot of money upfront into building your own file sharing ton? Maybe you want to simply partner with an FTP provider to make the process easier. Explore both deployment options carefully to ensure you choose the most affordable, secure option.

    Enhances Usability

    What good will a file sharing solution do you company if your employees don’t even know how to use it? One of the biggest challenges facing companies when it comes to data security is ensuring that employees are following best practices. If you choose a file sharing solution that’s complicated to use, your employees will find ways to work around it, like sending sensitive files via email.

    Also, consider whether or not data can be retrieved with a browser or if you are required to install an application. This has an impact on your clients who you want to easily share data with, instead of making them create user accounts.  

    Meets Data Sharing Needs

    Does your company need to share or store massive amounts of data? If so, you need a file sharing solution that can facilitate your needs without slowing down productivity. To meet the goal of efficient file sharing, you need a solution with unlimited bandwidth and enough storage.

    Bandwidth is the speed at which files are transferred. Some file sharing hosts will throttle bandwidth, intentionally lowering transfer speeds when large amount of data are being transferred or downloaded. While they may promise unlimited bandwidth, that doesn’t necessarily mean all transfers will be unimpeded. Make sure you choose a file sharing solution that provides unlimited, unthrottled bandwidth. The term “bandwidth” is often also used to represent the amount of “transfer per month” you are allowed. So, you want to also make sure that the provider does not limit monthly transfer or charge overage fees when transfer allowances are exceeded.

    Also you need a file sharing solution with enough storage for you needs, and the ability to allot more storage if your needs change. Many hosts offer tiered plans, so you can select an option that meets your storage requirements without paying for storage you do not need.

    Withstands a Disaster

    Imagine if the power went out and your company lost a whole day’s worth of work. That could have serious productivity implications for everyone at your company.

    One key goal for your file sharing solution should be the inclusion of disaster recovery methods. You can’t predict when the power will go out, a facility catches fire, or a hacker crashes your entire system. As you evaluate file sharing solutions, make sure they meet the goal of withstanding a disaster. The solution you choose needs to have backup servers (ideally located in a separate location from your primary servers), and the host needs to guarantee that they can have the solution up and running as quickly as possible if anything goes awry. Also, make sure data is frequently backed up, so files are easily recovered.

    Facilitate Growth

    Imagine investing in a new office building, only for your company to experience significant growth, requiring you to move (and spend more money) the next year. Outgrowing your file sharing solution can come with similar headaches and unnecessary costs.

    Instead of investing in a file sharing solution that might not meet your needs next year or in five years, you need a solution that is scalable, making it the right fit both now and in the future.

    Scalability is a key goal for your file sharing solution, so be sure to partner with a solution host that can easily add more user accounts or storage space based on your needs. You won’t have to switch to an entirely new solution if you outgrow the current one.

    Try a Solution for Yourself

    Finally, the best way to ensure that a file sharing solution meets all your goals is to try it out for yourself. Schedule demos or sign up for free trials of the solutions you’re considering. This is helps you evaluate the features first hand, and ask the host any questions you may have about the solution.

    When you ask the right questions, outline your goals, and evaluate how a file sharing solution functions in a free trial or demo, you’ll be equipped to choose the best solution for your needs.


    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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