Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
10/1/2010
01:56 AM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
Commentary
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ShareFile Gets Easier To Use

The secure file transfer service gets a redesigned interface and new features that streamline common actions. And the company CEO explains why they're not just another cloud-based shared folder.

The secure file transfer service gets a redesigned interface and new features that streamline common actions. And the company CEO explains why they're not just another cloud-based shared folder.ShareFile was founded in 2005, growing out of now-CEO Jesse Lipson's experience in a website development company, building websites for other businesses. "I saw businesses asking for a 'client extranet,'" he recalls. Lipson realized that the choices in secure exchange of large files were limited and so sounded ShareFile.

The basic idea behind ShareFile is to enable a business to set up a shared portal to which they and their clients can upload files. Once uploaded, users can browse the files and download them through a browser. Other ways to upload files include dragging them to an Adobe Air widget or using good old FTP. Users can also configure Microsoft Outlook to upload to ShareFile attachments larger than a certain size rather than send them via e-mail; the recipient can then retrieve them from the server.

"We've always been exclusively business-oriented," Lipson says. ""We're not free, and we don't market to consumers." What a customer gets for their subscription is a high level of customer service and support--"I still read every support ticket that comes in," says Lipson. Customers can also brand their ShareFile portal so that it appears to be part of their own site.

When asked how ShareFile compares with other popular sharing services such as Dropbox and Box.net, Lipson cites that business focus. "Dropbox is primarily a consumer product," he says. "Its value is in backup and syncing. We're not designed for syncing.

"Box.net has become more of a competitor as they've moved toward the business end," he continues, "but they're still more of a mass market product, and their feature development is more consumerlike. If I had to characterize the difference, I'd say their philosophy and roadmap is more visionary, while ours is more pragmatic."

Both the Web interface and the Air widget have received new updates. The redesigned interface lets users accomplish more tasks on one page -- for example, you can manage access for a folder while on that folder's page rather than having to go to a separate access page. It also makes advanced features easier to find. The Air widget now allows users to perform keyword searches for shared file sand download (as well as upload) them by drag and drop.

ShareFile accounts start at $30/month for two users, 5 GB of storage, and 5 GB of bandwidth. The most popular level ("Professional") costs $60/month for 10 users and 10 GB, while the "Enterprise Gold" level costs $500/month for 150 users and 150 GB. The company offers a 15-day free trial.

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