Dropbox is great, right? It provides an easy way to synchronize files, photos, and other content across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, and to share it with others. That’s great for consumers, but for law firms and other organizations where confidentiality of firm and client data is paramount, it can present a slew of security, privacy, and discoverability concerns. Chief among these is the fact that Dropbox maintains account credentials and stores data on equipment that is outside firms’ control. We have seen growing interest in enterprise-class solutions like Citrix ShareFile that offer the features and convenience that firms have come to expect from Dropbox and similar sharing solutions, while bringing control of data and credentials in-house. More specifically, ShareFile provides firms with the following benefits:
ShareFile works well as a direct replacement for Dropbox, providing an easy way to synchronize documents, PDFs, and other content across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. ShareFile for Windows and Mac is immediately familiar to Dropbox users as it functions essentially the same way, and user-friendly apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. ShareFile Enterprise customers can integrate with Active Directory, thus maintaining control of accounts and allowing users to log on with their Windows credentials, and can store data locally instead of in the cloud. ShareFile also integrates with local file shares and SharePoint repositories.
ShareFile offers an Outlook plug-in that allows users to easily replace large file attachments that may otherwise be blocked with a link to access them. Senders can configure the amount of information recipients must provide in order to utilize the link and how long it will remain valid. This approach not only effectively addresses attachment size limitations, but it also saves space on source and destination email servers and provides an audit trail.
Many firms need to collaborate with clients by providing a means to send and receive large files, which they typically address via FTP or extranet sites. ShareFile allows customers to provide a more feature-rich experience using shared folders with granular permissions for internal and external users, with versioning, commenting, notifications, auditing, and other features.
A variety of ShareFile plans are available – Basic, Professional, Corporate, and Enterprise. Of these, only Enterprise provides Active Directory integration and local storage, and is therefore the plan that will interest law firms the most. The cost for Enterprise is approximately $85/user annually. All lawyers and staff using ShareFile must be licensed, but external users (email recipients, clients that access shared folders, etc.) are unlimited. Local storage requires a server with appropriate storage with an SSL certificate, and Active Directory integration requires Active Directory Federation Services on a server with an SSL certificate as well. Kraft Kennedy provides implementation services, and recommends budgeting two to three days for installation, configuration, and knowledge transfer.
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