The use of file sharing programs has grown in recent years. One of the biggest reasons for that is the increase of remote workers. An international IWG study referenced in a CNBC story shows 70 percent of people work remotely at least once a week. This data is from before the pandemic.
Moreover, a Gallup survey says that more than 40 percent of working Americans work remotely some of the time. Many more reports say the same thing and more so since the pandemic. Telecommuting is getting bigger and it’s not going away.
The Growing Need for File Sharing Programs
After being forced to switch to remote working, many companies are finding that it’s working for them. Some say they plan to continue to allow it. These organizations know that’s it’s possible to effectively communicate and collaborate with a mobile workforce. They may do a hybrid in which people work from home part of the time.
With people working in multiple locations, they need a way to share and collaborate on files. That’s where file sharing enters the picture.
Searching for the Best File Sharing Programs
A search for “best file sharing software” yields articles listing many options. Some focus solely on file management, some on collaboration, some on both, and some on other things. Each offers different features, price points, and functionality. No doubt, comparing them will prove challenging.
How to Find the Best File Sharing Software
Let’s be honest. No one can truly say which file sharing application is the best. They each offer different things. Rarely, you’ll see two programs with identical features and benefits. These programs differ in storage space, file size limitations, pricing plans, security features, bandwidth limitations, and ways to access the files.
Some come with workflow capabilities and integration of a suite of office apps for creating, editing, revising, and sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The best one depends on your needs. Your No. 1 priority may be security, storage space, collaboration, or something else. Whatever your requirements are, one of these is bound to fit.
Designed as a way to share files device-to-device, Binfer does not require uploading files to a server. It also does not rely on a file transfer protocol (FTP) client. The file sharing program does not store files. Instead, it facilitates file sharing by creating a connection between devices.
Even though Binfer doesn’t depend on cloud storage, it lets users drag and drop files and folders much like an email interface. Users can send and receive files through a web browser or the Binfer desktop app. It’s a free service for recipients. Senders pay when they exceed the free trial limits.
The free plan includes 200 MB data, one sync rule, and one web drop. A sync rule tells the app what to sync. A web drop is the maximum number of web links the plan can maintain.
Cloud storage provider Box calls itself a cloud content management system. Built for enterprises, the service helps businesses allocate information and collaborate. Users can share, manage, and secure content in a centralized location.
Box connects to more than 1,400 apps. Its clients and apps are compatible with Windows, macOS, and most devices. Although designed for businesses, Box has two plans for individual users.
Dropbox: Personal and Business
Dropbox has separate plans for individuals and businesses. With both, Dropbox has apps that work with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Its mobile apps work with most devices running iOS and Android.
The focus of Dropbox personal is to help the user store files and access them from any device. It also gives them a secure route for sharing files. Currently, Dropbox personal consists of several paid plans and a free account. The free option includes up to 2 GB of Dropbox storage.
With Dropbox Business, there’s usually an administrator that adds users and controls the security and sharing of data. The business plan requires at least three users. Unlike with personal, the business plan offers more than file sharing as it’s more of a collaborative workspace.
Yes, it’s possible to have two separate accounts: one for business and one for personal. To do this, you want to use two different email addresses. However, it is possible to switch between personal and work Dropbox accounts two instead of logging in and out every time.
As a unified collaboration platform, Egnyte offers content governance, privacy, compliance, and workflow automation for businesses. Any file changes sync across the organization automatically. Built-in auditing capabilities for compliance comes included. The platform has an administration console for managing users, creating reports, and tracking system analytics.
Users can customize folder permissions, set expiration dates, and send links to share files with others. Its security controls include password strength, rotation, and two-factor authentication. The IT team can customize the system for account expiration, managing external users, and implementing policies.
Gmail accounts come with 15 GB of free storage on Google One. That 15 GB of storage comprises of Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. You can upgrade to a paid plan for added storage. Google One is a storage service that comes with subscription options and the ability to share membership with family.
Google Drive can do more than store files. You can open documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to edit, revise, and collaborate. These are all available as mobile device apps for anywhere access and management.
eFileCabinet sells a suite of software for enterprise document management. The desktop on-premises and online cloud-based suite consist of automated workflows, secure file sharing, e-signatures, approvals, and digitizing capabilities. Its robust system is for organizations that need a complete workflow and document management.
The solution streamlines daily tasks by automating workflows, using Zonal OCR for automated filing, and including versioning and instant file retrieval. EFileCabinet helps alleviate the problem of misfiling or losing files. To achieve this, the solution includes full-text search, folder templates and pre-defined file names, and portfolios for most user documents.
The on-premises solution allows organizations to run their own file sharing and sync solution that integrates with their IT infrastructure and storage. The cloud-based solution contains the same features except that FileCloud handles the technical aspects of the setup.
Ideal for people who use Apple products, iCloud is Apple’s version of Google Drive. Owners of iPhones and macOS computers can seamlessly manage files between their devices and the cloud. The file storage service provides up to 5 GB space free. Anything over that will require upgrading to a paid plan.
People use Apple iCloud mainly for data storage and sharing. ICloud also holds data from Notes, Photos, Reminders, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps.
The name of this file transfer service is just like it sounds: Massive. MASV targets video and creative professionals who need to send large and time-sensitive files. Its users typically share files that are larger than 100 GB. That can hog the network and cause problems while uploading and downloading.
They offer a free trial. Their unique pricing plan charges based on data downloaded and you pay-as-you-go. If you need to share large media files, this may be a good option.
All the tech giants have their own storage solutions. Google has Google One, Apple has iCloud, and Microsoft has OneDrive. Storage is free for up to 5 GB and works seamlessly with Windows 10’s file explorer. Users needing more storage can convert to a paid plan.
OneDrive can sync files across Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Xbox devices. Its document, spreadsheets, and presentation files can be opened in its desktop Office and Office 365 apps.
Businesses use OneHub to securely store and share files in the cloud. The service works with iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Its features include an FTP alternative, sharing client portal, and virtual data rooms.
Businesses can customize their client portal with their brand colors and logo. They also get private Workspaces for each client. A virtual data room lets employees privately share sensitive data and maintain anonymity. For instance, a company can use the space to send proprietary information, contracts, deal negotiation, and bidding information.
Owned by Citrix Systems, ShareFile considers itself a secure content collaboration, file sharing, and synchronization service. Made for businesses, the service supports document management tasks and workflows. ShareFile also offers cloud-based and on-premises storage, virtual data rooms, and client portals.
Organizations use the virtual data room for managing complex and confidential deals. It can lock down data with advanced controls and dynamic watermarking. A client document portal allows clients to obtain their files through a secure login. The portal can be customized to match the organization’s branding.
For those needing a simple way to share files without permanently storing them, WeTransfer may be the answer. It lets users share files up to 2 GB free. Users can switch to a paid plan if they want to store files on the server. The paid plan also has password-protected transfers, your own page and URL, and 1 TB of storage.
Both the free and paid plans allow users to resend and delete transfers. To use the site free requires turning off ad-blockers.
The interface is simple. Just add your file, enter the recipient’s email address as well as yours, and include a message. While you’re doing this, ads will appear on the entire screen. Be aware that some ads are animated, which can be a problem or distraction for some.
How to Choose the Best File Sharing Program
It’s clear that some services heavily target businesses. If you’re looking file sharing software for personal use, you can most likely eliminate those. Some services lean more for personal use. They’re simpler and don’t have team-based features.
Create a list of your file sharing requirements. Do you simply need to share a large file with someone? Do you need cloud storage for yourself? Are you backing up and synchronizing your files? Do you need to collaborate with others?
Or do you want to store and share files? If so, do you prefer to share them through a unique link or providing access? What security features do you require? Do you want to use the cloud or avoid it? Once you have your list of requirements, prioritize them from most important to least important. As you’ve seen from this list of file sharing programs, they cover the gamut of needs. It’s a matter of finding the one that matches yours.