In the early days, sharing a file – especially a big one – was very troublesome. You are lucky if you can attach it to an e-mail. Most of the time, you have to burn the file to a CD – or save it to a hard drive. Then, you have to give it to the person – or if necessary, send it via a courier.
Now, sharing a file has become markedly easier, thanks to file sharing services. As the name suggests, it is a third-party service that allows the transfer (sharing) of files. All you just need to do is make a few clicks – and you’re done!
True enough, file sharing services offer many benefits to the users. They allow you to access files wherever you might be – so you can save time and money. Better yet, they enable the recovery of files that might have been corrupted in a CD or flash drive.
How to Select the Best File Sharing Services
Whether it’s for personal use or business, you need to consider several factors when selecting a file sharing service.
One of the most important things that you need to consider is the security of the file sharing service. This is especially the case if your files contain sensitive data. You don’t want all your years of hard work to just be stolen.
When selecting a file sharing service, make sure to ask these questions: How will my files be stored? What measures will be done to protect them? If you want to keep your data free from a breach, then you should pick a service that has multiple security features.
2. Dedicated Server
If you have lots of files that need more than 250 GB worth of storage, then you are going to need a service with a dedicated server. After all, this can help you save on implementation and maintenance costs.
While most file sharing services can be accessed through any device, some have preferences in terms of operating systems. As such, you need to scrutinize the service’s software or device requirements before you make a purchase. If not, you might end up spending more by having to upgrade your OS and whatnot.
While file sharing services have their own kinds of features, they usually come with some limitations. You need to know the cap for the number of files to be shared, as well as the allowable data for storage. Your company’s files may be numerous, so you may need to pick a service that suits all your storage needs.
If you are cost-conscious, then this factor will be highly important to you. Before you select a file sharing service, you need to determine the upfront service costs – whether you have to pay monthly or annually. In most cases, picking a yearly subscription offers bigger discounts.
You also need to check for fees that you may have to pay along the way. Sometimes, file sharing services may levy fees on excessive bandwidth use during transfer.
6. Free Trial Feature
Even if a file sharing service has everything you could ask for (and more), it’s still best if you try it out for some time. This can help give you a ‘feel’ of the product’s features and interface. Better yet, trying different systems will allow you to determine the best product for your needs.
Top 10 Best File Sharing Services
Box is a file sharing service that simplifies how you work. According to the website, it could help secure your collaboration with any person, wherever he/she might be – or whatever device he/she might use.
Box boasts of frictionless security, as it protects your files in a secure cloud server. It offers an added layer of protection, given its intelligent threat detection, complete information governance, and advanced security controls.
Box offers various plans that suit every type of user.
- When paid annually, the Starter package costs $5 per user, per month.
- The Business and Business Plan cost $15 and $25 per user, per month.
- As for the Enterprise plan, the monthly fee is $35 per user.
- The free plan comes with 10 GB of storage.
- Integrated with more than 1,400 apps.
Limited services for cheaper plans.
Dropbox is Box’s arch-nemesis when it comes to the file sharing field. As with most services, Dropbox offers a ‘virtual place’ where all your employee’s inputs can come together.
Known as the world’s first smart workplace, it allows you to organize your files – be it Dropbox paper docs, cloud content, or web shortcuts.
With this program, you can store and access your files from virtually anywhere. Whether you keep it in your phone, tablet, or computer, you can sync your data easily with the help of Dropbox.
Dropbox offers various plans for individual users and teams. If you are the only one who needs to access the files, then you can try the Plus and Professional packages, which cost $9.99 and $16.58 a month respectively.
If you need to collaborate with multiple users, you can choose from monthly packages such as the Standard plan ($12.50 per user) or the Advanced plan ($20 per user).
- Cheaper packages for individual use.
- Files are always encrypted.
New collaborative solutions may prove ‘confusing’ to a user.
3. Google Drive
If you want easy and secure access to all your content, then Google Drive is the perfect file sharing service for you. With this program, you can store, share, and collaborate on any file – whether you use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Google Drive is seamlessly integrated into several programs, including Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. As such, you can collaborate with your team members in real time.
Google Drive also comes with a revolutionary AI and search technology, which allows you to look for files with impressive speed, reliability, and performance.
Price points depend on the user and the required storage capacity.
- Individuals can pay as low as $2.50 a month for 200 GB of storage, to $300 monthly for 30 TB of storage.
- Business plans (with G Suite account) range from $6 to $25 per user, per month.
- For those with Drive enterprise accounts, the monthly cost per user is $8 (comes with unlimited storage).
- Easy to use.
- Free 15 GB storage for new users.
Less intuitive file organization.
Hightail used to be YouSendIt, which is considered one of the earliest file sharing services in the market. As expected, it offers friction-free sending of large files.
Not only are your files kept secure, but you can also track their delivery and download. You can even set password protection and expiration dates, so the safety of your files is not compromised.
Apart from file sharing, Hightail also offers creative collaboration. As such, you could preview files without downloading them. You can even collect feedback if you want.
- In terms of file sharing, Hightail offers a Lite plan, which offers free 2GB storage and a sending limit of 100 MB.
- The Pro plan, on the other hand, costs $12 per month (if billed annually).
- For collaboration and project management, Hightail recommends the Team plan at $24 per user, per month.
- There’s also a Business plan, which costs $36 per user monthly.
- Comes with third-party app integration.
- Available app for iOS or Android users.
You need to scroll down the page to search for files.
ShareFile is a service that allows you to work the way you want. With this program, you can use any device to access files, share data, and craft time-saving work plans.
As the name suggests, this program can help you share large files – safely and securely, of course.
ShareFile also takes pride in providing business-class sharing services that allow real-time collaboration – whatever your device might be. You can request approvals, permit real-time feedback, co-edit files, even get legally-binding signatures with relative ease.
- Standard Plan at $50
- Advanced Plan at $77
- Premium at $122
- Virtual Data Room at $338
All these are paid monthly and can cover 5 users.
Additional users would cost you anywhere from $9.90 to $24.30 per person.
- Robust security with customizable settings.
- Comes with full-featured apps (iOS or Android).
No free plan available, but you can try it free for 30 days – no credit card required.
Microsoft OneDrive is a program that enables you to save your files and photos – and access them from any device, wherever you might be.
With its SSL feature, Microsoft OneDrive can keep your files safe – even if something happens to your beloved device.
Out of all the programs, Microsoft OneDrive is the only one to offer offline access. As such, you can access your files easily – even if you can’t connect to the internet.
With its share and collaborate feature, you can send large files via links, e-mails, iMessage, or even Facebook.
Microsoft OneDrive plans are priced as follows.
- For personal use, 100 GB storage costs $1.99 a month.
- If you have Office 365 personal, you can avail of a 1 TB plan that costs $69.99 a year.
- For Office 365 home users, the price for 6 TB storage is $99.99 a year.
- For businesses, the costs range from $5 to $10 per user, per month (billed annually).
- Integrates well with Microsoft apps.
- Comes with granular permission settings.
- No macOS support.
- Slow uploads and downloads.
MediaFire is a program that promises to simplify file sharing and media storage. For one, you could share your files through e-mail, social media, or a link. You can also download an unlimited number of files at minimal wait times.
In terms of collaboration, you can store and share any file – be it big or small. Additionally, you can e-mail larger documents with relative ease.
Concerning storage, MediaFire offers a capacity of 10 GB for free. And since you can access them virtually anywhere, you don’t always need to lug that heavy laptop with you.
What’s great about MediaFire is that it offers file sharing services for free. Should you need more storage space, you can avail of its Pro plan which costs $7.50 a month for 1 TB of storage.
For enterprises, the Business plan is more ideal, as it can host 100 users – and provide 100 TB of storage – for only $80 a month.
- Easy to use and intuitive interface.
- Free 4 GB of storage – comes with ads though.
MediaFire can only be used with iOS and Android interfaces, not Windows or macOS ones.
8. Amazon Drive
Amazon is indeed the king of everything. Apart from providing e-commerce services and video streaming, it also has a file sharing service called Amazon Drive. Compared to other programs, its main goal is to help you back up your photos and videos.
Amazon Drive can be used in multiple platforms, from your PC or laptop to your mobile device.
- The 100 GB storage plan costs $19.99 per year.
- The 1 TB plan, on the other hand, costs $59.99 per year.
- If you are an Amazon Prime member, your photos won’t make a dent on your 100 GB or 1 TB storage.
- Amazon Drive offers a free prime membership trial for 30 days. This comes with unlimited photo storage and 5 GB of video storage.
Slow upload speed compared to other file sharing services.
SugarSync is a cloud file sharing program that allows you to access and share your files from any folder.
This program comes with secure file sharing, so you have complete control of how you share your files. It also enables remote data wiping, so you can synchronize your files in the event of theft or data breach.
SugarSync bills its users monthly.
- The storage costs are $7.49 for 100 GB
- $9.99 for 250 GB
- $18.95 for 500 GB.
- Easy to use and intuitive system.
- Comes with iOS or Android apps.
Lacks a two-factor authentication process.
Tresorit is said to be one of the most secure file sharing systems out there. It even offered hackers $50,000 to breach into their system – and no one was able to do so!
So how does Tresorit make this possible? For one, it has end-to-end encrypted file sync and sharing features. With its public-key cryptography, your files are never decrypted in Tresorit’s servers.
You are also guaranteed further security with its client-side integrity protection. When you apply a message authentication code for each file, it couldn’t be altered without your approval.
- Tresorit individual paid plans cost $9.99 to $23.90 per month.
- Business plans, which are billed annually, range from $12 to $24 per user, per month.
- Free plan available.
- Files are guaranteed safe and secure.
Has a problem in creating links with shared files.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two types of file sharing solutions, namely FTP and SFTP.
FTP is short for file transfer protocol. It allows the user to access the file – which is kept in a server – wherever he or she might be, granted that he or she has an internet connection. One of the best things about this type of file sharing service is that it permits the transfer of large data.
SFTP, on the other hand, refers to the SSH file transfer protocol. This is specially made to assure the security of files during data sharing. It runs on a single encrypted channel, so it can protect the data from a security breach or cyber-attacks.
There are 4 security features that you should look for in a file sharing service. They are granular access controls, data encryption, IP address controls, and multi-factor authentication.
Granular Access Controls
File sharing services are often used by multiple people in a company. To keep your files safe, you should opt for a service with granular access controls. This will give you the authority to limit or manage user access to certain files or data.
All your files should be encrypted – whether they are just stored or on the process of transferring. This will keep the hackers’ paws off your sensitive data.
IP Address Controls
Although file sharing services make it easy to transfer or download files wherever you might be, this serves as a potential security risk as well. To prevent any data breaches, you should look for a program that limits access to users with authorized IP addresses.
If you want to keep your files secure, your sharing service should not limit authorization to just password entry. For best results, use a program with multi-factor authentication. With this feature, access is only granted to users who punch the right cellphone code – or answer additional security questions.
While file sharing services were created to make file transferring/downloading easy, unlimited features – including users, file size, and file sharing – could further boost employee productivity.
Unlimited Number of Users
Some file sharing services only allow a certain number of users at a given time. This could dampen productivity as only a few employees can work at once. You would want a service that allows an unlimited number of users – without compromising the security of your files.
Unlimited File Size
Businesses usually have a lot of big files to share. As such, you need a service that allows the sending of massive data. If this is not allowed, you may need to compartmentalize the data, which could lead to eventual data loss. This could affect productivity as it would take some time to send, receive, and put these files back together.
Unlimited File Sharing
To enhance user productivity, you should choose a file sharing service that permits unlimited file sharing. This will allow your workers to share links to vendors or potential customers. However, choose a service with an ‘expiring links’ feature, so your data security is maintained well.
Depending on the nature of your business, you should choose a file sharing service that is compliant with the regulations of HIPAA, ITAR, or PCI-DSS. If not, you could be charged with non-compliance – which comes with a large fine and some jail time. Worst of all, this slip-up can damage your company’s reputation for good.
With that being said, your file sharing service should be compliant with HIPAA if you deal with patient health information.
If you are a government contractor, then you should choose a service that is compliant with ITAR. This keeps your data away from international parties.
If you run a commercial program, then you should opt for a PCI-DSS compliant service. This keeps your clients’ payment information safe and secure.
As with every other business, adopting a new program or service could come with issues that could affect productivity. By knowing the following concerns, you can minimize or eliminate them accordingly.
Similar to any other service or program, on-time implementation will always be an issue for new programs. So when you choose a file sharing service, you need to tell your vendor to install it at the fastest possible time. This will help maintain a seamless transition – so the company’s processes are not delayed.
Absence of a Security Policy
Most companies don’t have a security policy for file sharing – not unless they get the said service. To prevent any safety breaches that may occur because of this, you need to draft a security policy right away. This will allow you to train your employees accordingly. This will make them well-versed with the policy, which is vital when they start using the file sharing service.
Running a new file sharing service is barely a walk in the park. If you are 100% sure that you are going to avail of such a service, then you should start with the tutorials and training at the soonest possible time. This will minimize loss of productivity because they can already get started with the program once it is installed.
File sharing services enable individuals and businesses to send and transfer files with relative ease. Given the many programs out there, you should consider security, compatibility, limitations, and price when picking a service. By keeping this in mind, you can provide your company with the perfect file sharing service.