As modern businesses have become more decentralized with 66% of companies offering remote work opportunities, having the ability to share files at a moment’s notice is vital.
Thankfully with the number of file-sharing software platforms available, getting files from A to B is easier than ever before.
However, you still need to pick the right tool to make sure you can collaborate effectively.
Here is our list of the ten best secure file sharing tools & software for business in 2021:
- Files.com EDITOR’S CHOICE A cloud-based file management system that includes file sharing features. Transfer files to the Files.com server and then send links to grant access to each. Start a 30-day free trial.
- FileWhopper A pay-as-you-go file or folder transfer service that specializes in large file sizes. Ideal for businesses that need to send files to multiple clients and don’t want to set up user accounts or new platforms for secure collaboration.
- Dropbox Business Cloud storage with directory syncing across devices available for business and for individuals with a free plan available for private use.
- G Suite Google Drive The paid version of Google Drive that is linked to an online productivity suite. Low prices and excellent collaboration facilities make this a very popular choice.
- OneDrive for Business Microsoft’s cloud storage service that can be integrated into the Office 365 productivity suite. The first 5GB of storage is free and scanning and collaboration utilities are other benefits.
- Box Business A contender cloud storage service that can be integrated into G Suite tools, Office 365, Adobe Sign, and Salesforce. Strong encryption makes this a compliant tool for data protection standards.
- Citrix ShareFile A file sharing tool from the virtualization kings. This option includes cloud storage and secure email for document sharing.
- Apple iCloud A cloud storage solution that is fully integrated into Apple operating systems. Files can also be accessed from Windows computers and the first 5GB of space is free.
- FileCloud A cloud storage service with a customizable console skin for corporate branding. Can be managed on-premises or used as a hosted service.
- WeTransfer Pro A free secure file transmission system with an option to add on paid storage. Includes file access tracking.
The best secure business file sharing tools
Files.com is a file manager based in the cloud. It offers file storage plus a method to securely share files via links. Users can choose to create links specific to each invitee with an option of end-dating access. Accessors to a file can be granted the ability to download it or alter it or to just view it.
Files.com has an advantage over the other cloud storage systems on this list because it offers a single file directory interface to businesses that might use other cloud storage facilities. A Files.com account includes storage space for files. However, clients can also use the service as an interface to other systems, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
All file transfers are protected with SSH (SFTP) or TLS (FTPS). It is also possible to create HTTPS links to folders in a Files.com account for secure access. Accounts are protected by two-factor authentication and can host many user identities. All file storage is encrypted for added security.
Many collaboration systems can be integrated into a Files.com account, reducing the need to transfer files and weaken data security. An example of such an integration is the Microsoft 365 online productivity suite, which can be accessed directly within a Files.com account. Files.com file spaces can be attached as a network drive so users view the online server as a folder on the desktop.
Files.com is a subscription service and is charged for per user per month. There are three plan levels with the service, which are Starter (1 TB of data usage per month), Power (5 TB of data per month), and Premier (10 TB of data per month). You can try Files.com risk free on a 30-day free trial.
- Cloud-based app makes onboarding faster and more streamlined than most on -remise tools
- Supports a single interface to manage multiple cloud storage solutions which is great for businesses who may already have their files in multiple places
- File and folder security is highly customizable uses secure protocols by default
- Allows for HIPAA/PCI compliant file storage giving businesses more flexibility with their data
- Scalable pricing makes it a great fit for any size organization
- 30-day free trial
- No on-premises version
- Secure file sharing application
- Encrypted data storage
- Two-factor authentication
- Collaboration software integrations
Files.com is our top choice for a secure file sharing platform because it provides storage space and also allows users to connect through to other cloud storage providers. The security of data transfers is provided by SSH or TLS and the account file space is encrypted. Files.com enables the creation of managed access links that can be time-limited and have varying access rights. It is also possible to create a web interface that is white-labeled to create public access to a document library.
Start 30-day Free Trial: files.com/signup
FileWhopper is an innovative alternative to subscription services and cloud storage solutions. It is a pay-as-you-go file transfer service that uses a file sharing methodology. The pay-as-you-go method suits many business use cases. If you want to send a large file or folder to someone, you simply upload it to the FileWhopper system, get a link for the location and then send that download link to your correspondent. The system is strictly for file sharing and it isn’t meant for live collaboration which makes it less cumbersome than other tools on this list.
You pay a fee for each file upload based on file size and the FileWhopper service includes a utility to upload the file. The file is stored in an encrypted state and is password protected so it can only be accessed by the intended recipient. The file can’t stay on the FileWhopper server forever. The storage system isn’t intended to be accessed repeatedly. The file is resident on FileWhopper for 14 days (can be extended if needed), and then it will be deleted if no one accesses it. When the recipient does access the file, it can only be downloaded, and once that process completes, the file is removed from the FileWhopper system. The sender can purchase additional downloads if the file has to be shared with more than one recipient.
- Allows secure and auditable files sharing to third-parties, great for legal documents, and contracts.
- Files are available after the transfer for 14 days
- Can support massive files, making it a viable option for replication
- Pay-as-you-go pricing can be over complicated for businesses who move files regularly
- Sender must buy additional downloads if files are being shared with more than one person
Upload files can be any size, even 10 TB or more. FileWhopper gives a quote for each file transfer request and doesn’t publish its rates at the moment, although they have announced plans to add a price calculator to their site soon. Visit their website to learn more and see their pricing model.
First up on this list we have Dropbox Business. Dropbox is a secure cloud storage and file-sharing tool that allows users to store their digital media in one location. You can access Dropbox files from your computer, phone, or tablet. Anytime you add new files or delete old ones the changes will be automatically synced across all your devices. You can also remotely wipe data if a device is lost or stolen.
Dropbox also supports file sharing with users who don’t have an account. In team environments, you can use Dropbox Business to store files in one location and implement admin permission controls to manage who has access to what data.
- Can automatically sync files across multiple devices, allowing teams to work in tandem across different hardware
- Supports file sharing with users who do not have an account, making third party collaboration simpler
- Flexible monthly price plans
- Pay-as-you-go pricing can be over complicated for businesses who move files regularly
- File sync settings can be tough to manage and unexpected syncs can slow down machines
For individual users, there are three versions of Dropbox Business available to purchase: Basic, Plus, and Professional. The Basic version is free with 2GB of storage. The Plus version costs $9.99 (£8.13) per month for 2TB of storage. The Professional version costs $16.58 (£13.49) per month for 3TB of storage.
For enterprise users, there are three versions of Dropbox Business available to purchase; Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. The Standard version starts at $12.50 (£10.17) per user per month with 3TB of storage space.
The Advanced version starts at $20 (£16.27) per user per month with unlimited space. The Enterprise version is a customized package with a unique price tag. You can try the 30-day free trial.
G Suite Google Drive has fast emerged as one of the top cloud storage services, with free storage for personal use. With Google Drive, the first 15GB of storage is free. With this solution, you can access your files from your computer, smartphone or tablet no matter where you are located.
File sharing is an area where Google Drive excels. You can invite others to view and download your files by sending links. You can also invite multiple members of your team to collaborate on a single file. The combination of storage and collaboration functionality makes Google Drive ideal for remote enterprise environments.
- Offers 15GB of storage free, allowing smaller businesses to get started right away.
- Easy to understand pricing packages that suit small teams and enterprise clients
- Features an impressive mobile app that makes working from a phone a viable option
- Offline files access is only available through Google Chrome browser
- Teams may experience frequent authentication issues for offline files when password changes occur
- Some organizations don’t want to be too dependent on a single platform like Google
- Google has had issues with helping users recover lost accounts
There are two versions of Google Drive; Personal and Drive Enterprise. As mentioned above, Google Drive is free for the first 15GB after which you can upgrade to Google One. Paid versions start at $1.99 (£1.59) per month for 100 GB storage and 200GB for $2.99 (£2.49) per month. Drive Enterprise costs $8 (£6.51) per active user per month plus $1 (£.81) per 25GB.
OneDrive for Business is a cloud-based file hosting service provided by Microsoft that supports shared files. You can store files and access them from your computer, tablet, or phone. If you add or delete files then these changes will be synced automatically across all your devices. You can even access your files when you’re offline so you aren’t reliant on an internet connection. To keep your files secure OneDrive encrypts files with SSL.
For collaboration, OneDrive allows you to share files, photos, and folders with others. All you need to do is send a link via email or other message service and the recipient can access the files without needing to sign up. You can also set an expiration date on file links so that they can’t be accessed after a specific point in time.
Document scanning is a unique feature that allows you to use your phone to scan paper documents. For example, you scan receipts and notes to upload them to your OneDrive account.
- Simple synchronization settings for both small and large teams
- Reliable offline files access
- Files access can be set to expire, great for projects with limited scope
- Mobile documents scanning works well for teams on the move
- Microsoft is one of the most targeted platforms by hackers
- Microsoft reserves the right to scan your files for content that may ‘objectionable content’ (Illegal, copyrighted, etc)
- Collaborative features aren’t as easy to use as other solutions
There are two standalone versions of OneDrive without Office 365; OneDrive Basic 5 GB and OneDrive 100 GB. OneDrive Basic 5 GB is free with 5GB worth of storage. OneDrive 100 GB costs $1.99 (£1.62) per month for 100GB worth of space. View pricing information and sign up here.
Box for Business is a cloud storage solution that is protected by encryption. You can log into the Box cloud platform from any device to upload and interact with files. The platform also integrates with solutions such as Office 365, Google, Suite, Salesforce, and Adobe Sign so you can use the apps that you rely on every day. Data can be stored in a region of your choice.
Collaboration can be achieved by sending secure links so that other users can add their own comments to files. The onboard data controls have made Box compliant with HIPAA, PCI, FedRAMP, ISO 27018, ITAR, FINRA, and more. For example, the Box Keysafe feature allows you to manage encryption keys to protect data and creates a paper trail of the key usage.
There are four versions of Box available to purchase: Starter, Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise. The Starter version costs $5 (£4) per user per month with 100GB secure storage and 2GB file upload. The Business version costs $15 (£12) per user per month with unlimited storage and 5GB file upload.
- Integrates with other cloud platforms, making migrations easier
- Simply monthly price for any sized organization
- Features controls for multiple industry compliance guidelines such as HIPAA, PCI, and FINRA
- Lacks searchability features, specifically for metadata in files and photos
- Mobile app is limited in terms of file editing
- Trial period could be longer
- Editing excel files through the web-app can be cumbersome
The Business Plus version costs $25 (£20) per user per month with unlimited storage and 5GB file upload. The Enterprise version has a custom price tag for unlimited storage and content management with workflow automation. You can start a 14-day free trial.
Citrix ShareFile is a file sharing tool that allows you to store files and documents in the cloud. You can access all your cloud files through one platform. Many companies use Citrix ShareFile for sending large files. The file sharing software comes with an email plugin so you can send files easily via email.
These files are encrypted in transit and at rest to make sure they can’t be read by anyone but the intended recipient. Even if you don’t have an internet connection you can access files offline in SharePoint document libraries.
To support collaboration Citrix ShareFile has mobile device editing, which enables users to annotate Microsoft Office documents and PDFs via the mobile content editor. The user can make changes offline and save them for later.
- Comes with an email plugin that empowers users to send larger files without creating helpdesk tickets
- Encryption during both in transit and at rest for maximum file security
- Easy to understand pricing
- Any ‘unlimited’ storage plan is never truly unlimited.
- Larger organizations may find managing files and users at scale to be difficult
- Electronic signature support is only available under the Premium plan, which is a commonly used feature for many businesses
There are three versions of Citrix ShareFile available to purchase: Standard, Advanced, Premium, and Virtual Data Room. The Standard version costs $10 (£8) per month for one employee and unlimited storage. The Advanced version costs $77 (£62) per month for five employees, plus $15.30 (£12.45) per additional user with unlimited storage and email encryption.
The Premium version costs $122 (£99) per month for five employee users, plus $24.30 (£19.78) per additional user, with custom workflows and electronic signatures. Virtual Data Room is $338 (£275) per month for five employee users with 5GB of storage with dynamic watermarking, click trails, and view only options. You can download the free trial version.
Apple iCloud Drive is a file storage solution that can retain photos, videos, files, documents, notes, and contacts. iCloud comes out-of-the-box with every Apple device and provides 5GB of free iCloud storage.
Files can be accessed on Windows or Mac devices and organized however you want. You can rename them or add colors to help separate important files from the rest. To share files with others all you need to do is send a link.
Updates are automatically shared across all your devices. So if you add a new file to iCloud it will show up everywhere. Similarly, if you or a member of your team updates a file then the changes will be shared everywhere.
To protect the information you have online, Apple iCloud uses automatic backups. The tool automatically backs up files whenever your device is connected to power and Wifi. That means if you lose a device or the data is lost, you can revert to the backup copy. All of your devices are supported with two-factor authentication to keep out unauthorized individuals.
- Designed to be as easy as possible to use, cutting down on the number of helpdesk tickets companies receive
- Works for both Mac and Windows devices allow cross-platform collaboration
- Easy sync settings
- Offers less free storage than most of its competitors
- No Android app
- Limited real-time collaboration features
- File search could be improved
There are four versions of Apple iCloud available to purchase: 5GB, 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB. The 5GB version is free. The 50GB version costs $0.99 (£0.81) per month. The 200GB version is $2.99 (£2.43) per month and recommended for more extensive use. The 2TB version costs $9.99 (£8.13) per month.
FileCloud is a file sharing solution designed for enterprise users. You can share and back up data from computers, smartphones, tablets, and file servers. Businesses can choose which region they want to store their data in whether in the US, Europe, Asia, or Australia. You can even customize the online file sharing hub with your own logos, URL, and background image.
The cloud security features that come with FileCloud are also very robust. The tool comes with anti-virus and ransomware protection to prevent cyber attackers from damaging your data. You also have a site-specific encryption key to control who has access to what data.
- Built-in ransomware and virus protection is convenient for sysadmins
- Has both on-premise and cloud-based versions for organizations that want more control
- Highly customizable look at feel can make the platform seem it was built for your business needs
- Designed specifically for larger organizations
- Requires a minimum of five users per month at $10 per month
FileCloud is available on-premises or in the cloud as FileCloud Server and FileCloud Online. FileCloud Server has two versions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard version costs $4.20 (£3.42) per user per month. The Enterprise version carries a custom price tag and supports a minimum of 50 users.
FileCloud Online also has two versions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard version costs $10 (£8.14) per user per month for a minimum of five users and 1 TB storage for the first five users. The Enterprise version costs $15 (£12.20) per user per month for a custom domain, enterprise integration, and premium support. You can start the 14-day free trial.
WeTransfer is one of those file-transfer tools designed for those who want to send files as conveniently as possible. With WeTransfer you can send files directly to your recipient. Simply go to the site and enter your email, the recipient’s email, and a message. You don’t need to sign up and can send up to 2GB of file transfers free.
If you want more of the traditional file sharing program experience then you can purchase WeTransferPro. WeTransfer Pro allows you to drag-and-drop 20GB worth of files and enjoy 1 TB worth of storage.
You can track transfers to see how many times they were downloaded. You also get your own Pro page where you can choose five wallpapers and show off your portfolio of files.
There are also access controls so you can protect file transfers with passwords. Similarly, you can configure delete dates for files so that they only stay available for a specific period of time.
- Very convenient for one-off file transfers
- Excellent user interface with little to no training required
- Free version works well for periodic files that are too big for email systems
- Lacks team collaboration tools
- The background on the free version can seem spammy and promotional
- Not ideal for massive files like such as backups o
WeTransfer is free and supports email transfers for up to three people. We Transfer Pro costs $12 (£9.76) per month or $120 (£97.64) per year with support for email transfers for up to 50 people. You can start transferring files with WeTransfer via this link here.
Choosing a file sharing tool for your business
Sharing files isn’t as much of a hassle as it once was, but you still have to pay close attention to your requirements. If you only need to send or store a handful of files then a basic version of Dropbox for Business or the free version of Google Drive will suffice.
However, if you think that you will require more space it is worth paying for a larger version. From an enterprise perspective, it is better to have too much space than too little.
It is also worth considering whether you’re content to send files or you’re looking for more collaborative features. Using tools like OneDrive and Google Drive that allow you to send files with links makes it easy to work with others. For industries where regulatory compliance is a big concern file sharing tools like Box are compliant with a range of auditing requirements that are the best fit.
File Sharing for Business FAQs
What is data governance and why is it important?
Data is an asset. It has value to your business and it could have even greater value to others. Some data relates to corporate processes, strategies, and market advantages – you wouldn’t want your competitors to get hold of that. Other data relates to customers, associates, and suppliers. You have a duty of care to ensure that the data about other people and entities are kept confidential. Data governance is important because it is the implementation of your obligations to keep data confidential.
What is the best file sharing platform in China?
File sharing platforms that are based in China have the largest customer bases in that country because they have better language skills, cultural understanding of the market, and market targeting for that country. However, they are not necessarily the best choice because any digital service based in China is subject to Chinese government controls and the people the run those services are vulnerable to threats from the authorities. Therefore, the best file sharing platforms for China are those based outside of the country and impose strong encryption on data both at rest on the file sharing server and in transition.
Which file sharing tool has the best encryption for sensitive files?
Files.com is the best system for protecting sensitive files while file sharing. This is primarily because the service enforces strong encryption both in transit and at rest on the Files.com server. However, the usage practices of Files.com create stronger security because loading documents to be shared onto the Files.com server reduces the number of transfers that need to be performed when distributing documents. Users are given access to the document on the Files.com server rather than receiving a copy. This makes access control and logging easier to implement.