When it comes to organizational teamwork, it helps to be on the same page. Sometimes that means literally being on the same page, as sharing documents and files between trusted members of your organization can aid collaboration and facilitate productivity. In order to share files among approved individuals safely and efficiently, many organizations choose to use file sharing software.
File sharing software is a solution that allows for the sharing of files publicly or privately in a network between designated users. In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of file sharing software, the top features of these tools, and what to look for in your file sharing solution.
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The Best File Sharing Software Compared
Best for: Compliance management
Citrix ShareFile is a software system for file sharing and collaboration. It is a secure system that allows individuals to collaborate safely in real time with cloud storage. The tool offers users over 25 different customizable settings for security.
Unlike some other systems, it also serves as a compliance tool, providing features for managing and maintaining compliance with industry-specific guidelines.
Best for: External integrations
Dropbox Business is a tool for file sharing and storage, collaboration, and productivity management. The Dropbox Paper tool lets teams maintain productivity with due dates, and file request features help to organize work submission. The system works across local and cloud files.
A perk of Dropbox Business is that it has many integration options, such as Google Cloud, Slack, Zoom, Salesforce, and others. The vendor also takes security seriously — even within your network — with options for designated permissions, password-protected files, and the ability to restore important file edits.
Best for: Internal collaboration
Google Drive, of course, works effortlessly with Google’s internal productivity tools, such as Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. Administrative accounts can also access activity logs in the Google Workspace. For start-up businesses looking for a system through which they can integrate collaboration tools easily, Google might be your best option.
This synchronization and file storage tool lets users safely share files. Individuals and teams benefit equally from this system, as it provides 15GB of free storage, and offers security features like data loss prevention.
A unique feature of Google Drive’s software is its artificial intelligence (AI) and search technology, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. It can even predict search queries and provide relevant content.
Best for: SMBs
iCloud Drive is a cloud-based storage service that lets users keep track of their files on and offline. This system is great for accessing and editing your files on your Apple device — even without internet access. It also offers easy recovery of deleted files. The service also enables non-Apple users to access their files on PC or from the iCloud website.
Sharing options allow for users to designate permissions for sharing files, viewing files, editing files, inviting participants, removing participants, and more. Unfortunately, users will need Apple IDs to view and share files, and you can only share folders with up to 100 total participants. As such, this might not be the best option for enterprises with more than 100 individuals.
Best for: Collaboration within the Microsoft ecosystem
Onedrive is part of Microsoft Office online. The software lets users upload files of up to 1TB. In addition, it allows for photo and file sharing and collaboration online, backing up your files in case of loss. Furthermore, you can access all of your files in Windows 10 online, so they won’t need to take up storage space on your device.
Microsoft OneDrive integrates with other Microsoft tools, such as Excel and Word. Many enterprises and professional organizations use Microsoft products, making OneDrive a popular option for businesses that already use Office apps.
Best for: Users with customization preferences
OneHub lets users store and share files in its cloud-based system. The software allows users to create virtual data rooms for safely sharing files online with the option of anonymity. This feature is helpful for collaboration and privacy, as the software includes security features like document watermarking and non-disclosure agreements. Audit trails and automatic indexing capabilities also help facilitate organization and safety for your files.
This file sharing solution can be customized based on the preference of its users, with options to change colors, upload company logos, and create branded client portals.
Best for: Organizations that require maximum storage
Box is a cloud storage and file sharing tool. Advertised as a tool for teamwork and collaboration, the software has integrations with many popular apps, including Salesforce and ServiceNow. The tool also provides compliance features that can be applied based on users’ specific industries and fields.
A great feature of Box is that users have unlimited storage with the file sharing tool. This could make Box an excellent option for large enterprises or businesses that deal with a lot of data and paperwork online.
Best for: Presenting and sharing large files
WeTransfer lets users store and share large files and has beneficial features for organization and presentation. Its paid plans allow users to send 200GB and store 1TB per team member. This plan also includes the Paste feature and the Collect feature, which are unique to this product. While this may have fewer options for collaboration than the other products on this list, it is suitable for sharing large files that don’t require co-editing capabilities.
The Collect feature lets teams store their files in boards, which can be synced across multiple devices — a great feature for collaborating and sharing ideas as a team. In addition, its paste feature helps users with formatting and customizing presentations, which is an aspect of this tool that other file sharing software systems in this list do not possess.
Best for: Organizations with hybrid work structures
The FileCloud tool is another system with file sharing capabilities and compliance and governance features. It can be used as a cloud, hybrid, or on-premises tool, and has security and compliance features to keep user files safe within the network. The system also has unlimited API access and unlimited users, making integration and collaboration easy.
This software’s flexible infrastructure makes it well-suited to larger businesses and organizations that need to account for team members performing work both onsite and remotely. Companies can also benefit from the workflow automation features, including drag-and-drop workflows, work tracking, and real-time reports.
Best for: Storage space management
Synology is a file sharing and storage platform. Users can access data and files in a web browser, desktop app, mobile app, or any Synology NAS (network-attached storage). Users can decide when they would like to synchronize their files to control storage space utilization. The software has integrations with many Microsoft tools, like Word and Excel. A centralized dashboard makes the product easy to navigate, and auditing logs are provided to simplify processes.
The features of this product make it a good option for users who want to access their files across multiple devices but worry about saving storage space. Users can manage storage within their personal spaces and transfer file ownership at their discretion.
Necessary Features for File Sharing Tools
File sharing software should offer important features for ensuring safety, collaboration, and overall ease of use. Here, we will go over a few of the major elements to look for in a file sharing solution for your organization.
File Encryption Capabilities
File encryption is an example of a security feature often utilized in file sharing tools. These tools allow users to encrypt their files, and some solutions encrypt their users’ files automatically by default unless otherwise directed. File sharing tools can provide file encryption in various ways, such as password protection, digital certificates, authentication protocols, and other cryptographic encodings. This way, users can trust that their files are stored and shared securely.
Collaboration tools allow multiple parties to access one file, and more advanced tools grant users the ability to change the file in real time. Online editing between designated users is a popular collaboration feature in file sharing tools. This feature is excellent for organizations with a hybrid or remote workforce. Other important collaboration tools are versioning and version rollback.
User Access Controls
Tools with user access controls/permissions allow users to designate who can access their files and what they can do with them, like editing or sharing. Some products even let administrators categorize team members into permission groups, allowing them to easily assign access controls to staff based on their group. This feature helps to ensure that files are shared securely with only the intended individuals.
Audit and Activity Logs
Audit and activity logs are a great feature of many file sharing tools, helping with organization as well as security. These logs allow designated users to view the changes made in a file and can often provide information on which user made these changes and when. Having this information easily accessible can be beneficial, as all of the actions within the system are tracked, and it is easier to manage changes to files.
Offline access capabilities allow users to edit files within online/cloud-based solutions, even when the user does not have internet access. As a result, users can easily access and edit their files wherever they are. Once the user’s device is connected to the internet, these tools will automatically synchronize the files to account for changes made. This feature is particularly beneficial in construction and logistics industries, where worksites may not have access to the internet.
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Benefits of File Sharing Solutions
Using a file sharing solution can provide many benefits to your organization, in addition to easy and fast access to files. Some common benefits can include improved collaboration, as many of these solutions contain online co-editing and collaborative tools for team members and approved users.
These solutions offer secure file storage space, and cloud-based solutions allow users to share small and large files from any location. Organizations also use these tools for file organization purposes, facilitating and automating many administrative tasks.
Types of File Sharing Software
When deciding which file sharing software is suitable for the needs of your organization, it is helpful to know about the types of tools available, and what makes them different from one another.
A peer-to-peer file sharing tool allows for files to be transferred directly from one user’s device to another without the involvement of a central server. Instead, this software uses devices within an organization’s network as a group of node servers.
Cloud-Based & Online
File sharing software systems that exist online through the cloud allow users to perform tasks as long as they have an internet connection. Users can send files and create and collaborate with team members wherever they are, and many of these tools synchronize their data automatically.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP systems allow users to access or edit files from a password-protected server site. Files can be accessed or edited by a set number of users in an organization. In addition, some systems allow files to be shared publicly or accessed with a public password.
Platforms that are client-server-based usually store data within a central location and then transmit it to those who wish to access it. These systems can generally involve webpage and FTP sharing.
This type of file sharing software is a built-in function of a computer’s operating system. Therefore, it usually shares files within a network of computers with the same operating system.
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Choosing a File Sharing Tool
There are many different file sharing tools on the market, and it is vital that you choose one that meets your organization’s needs. Essential factors to consider would be the tool’s limitations on storage space and network users, so be sure the chosen solution can accommodate your needs.
In addition, you should ensure the file sharing tool has encryption features to protect sensitive files and data. Finally, consider what capabilities your organization may require for collaborative purposes. By assessing important factors such as these, you can make a well educated decision on which file sharing tool would work for you.
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