It's been all over the news for nearly a week: severe winter weather (including record cold and snow fall) has essentially paralyzed Europe, leading to a dramatic shutdown of many airports, rail lines and highways. Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, was particularly hard hit, with a large percentage of flights (inbound and outbound) being cancelled over the weekend.
Other airports across the continent, already impacted by the weather, were hard hit by the cancelled flights into and out of Heathrow, and a cascading chain of cancellations has spread around the world...like dominoes, but much more aggravating.
Intercontinental railways have also been hard hit, as have roads all over Europe - in one example, Italy's main north-south highway ("Autostrada") was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, and was still closed in one direction as of Saturday, with cars backed up nearly 25 miles.
Millions, if not billions, of dollars have been lost as transportation has ground to a halt for the second time in a year (remember the Icelandic volcanic eruption in April?). Along with stranded (and frustrated) travelers, air, train and truck freight has all been stopped or delayed.
While FilesDIRECT can't do anything for the stranded travelers (though we wish we could), how much money could business & industry have saved over the course of this fiasco if they used online file transfer? Plenty.
While nearly any document, plan or type of information can now be sent online, many government organizations and big businesses (like financial institutions) insist on sending important information by air courier. As mentioned in a previous post on this blog, billions of dollars worth of financial transactions are recorded onto discs (or tapes!) and sent via couriers all over the world for download and processing.
Business and government shouldn't grind to a halt because of bad weather in one part of the world - what they need is a solution that allows for the secure transmission of data (including valuable financial information) that works no matter how hot, cold or wet it is outside. Modern business demands a reliable, secure, easy-to-use file transfer system that works anywhere and everywhere.
What they need is FilesDIRECT.
Many of FilesDIRECT's customers use our service to send large files to people far and wide, which is awesome. But some people don't seem to know about one of our service offerings that we're particularly proud of: the ability to receive large files free!
There are many large file transfer services that offer dropboxes, allowing their customers to receive files from anyone online - far fewer of them allow their users to customize or white-label their dropbox. FilesDIRECT is one of the only services that includes a free customizable dropbox with every user account - every single one!
There's no need to understand HTML coding, nor do you need any other sort of technical expertise: your account includes an easy-to-use design wizard that lets you customize your upload page with ease, including colors, logo, etc. You can adjust the page so it matches your company site's branding, and easily link to it from your website (or email, documents, etc.).
This allows our users to easily receive large files from anyone, whether or not they have an account with FilesDIRECT. Our new, expanded storage and robust tracking now make it easier than ever to send, receive and store files online - whether you're transferring to or from co-workers, clients, consultants, friends or family.
We take pride in being able to offer these services with our super-simple interface. Why not sign up for a 1-month free trial and start receiving large files - free! - today?
"Lifestyle Design" is a term coined by Tim Ferriss, author of New York Times' bestseller "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich". It essentially means changing one's behaviour and source(s) of income to enable a more free life: without being tied down to a regular 9-5 job or the wider expectations of society as to what is possible or acceptable. This is generally accomplished through the use of geoarbitrage and a variety of Internet tools to help promote a global lifestyle.
Large file transfer tools (like FilesDIRECT) are an important part of the vagabond lifestyle: whether someone is an online marketer, a graphic designer, a music producer, or otherwise involved in a "work-from-anywhere" business, chances are you will need to receive large files (or send them) at some point.
Another benefit of this kind of web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is that it works for any file type: whether you're sending videos, photos, Word documents, PDFs or something more exotic, you can send files to (or receive files from) clients without dealing with FTP sites or putting up with email's built-in size limitations. It also operates through web browsers, and since this means you don't need to download software (with FilesDIRECT, anyways), it also means it works with any operating system - so there's no need to worry if you're on a Mac and your client is on a Windows-based system (or something more exotic).
Online file transfer with FilesDIRECT is also much more secure than either email or FTP, since it uses a powerful combination of the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) cryptographic protocol, 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption and robust password creation to keep uploads and downloads secure. This means you can send files back and forth with clients, Virtual Assistants, drop shippers, etc. with total peace of mind.
And if you run your business from your laptop, it's a (very) good idea to keep important files in the Cloud, in case something should happen to your computer. FilesDIRECT offers 30GB of storage free with our Starter plans, with increasing amounts available to suit your needs. There's no time limit on storage, either (unlike services like Mediafire) so your files will be stored as long as you have an account (unless you choose to delete them).
Need a custom dropbox so people can send you files? No problem! All FilesDIRECT accounts include a free customizable upload page so others (without an account) can send you files with just a few mouse clicks.
If you own an online business as part of your vagabond lifestyle (or are planning to!) FilesDIRECT gives you a secure, feature-rich way to send and receive large files easily from anywhere in the world. Try our free trial today and see just how easy large file transfer can be!
As anyone who uses the Internet regularly can tell you, security is an issue. People have been illegally accessing computer networks almost as long as networks have been in existence themselves, and the skills and technologies used to do so have continued to evolve along with the networks themselves.
Hackers who use the information they access for illegitimate/criminal gain (called "crackers" among the hacker community) are a very real threat to individuals and companies of any size: individuals can have their private data accessed, and along with the resulting feelings of helplessness and violation, can have credit card numbers stolen, their computer hijacked as part of a botnet to attack others, or have their identities stolen and used to commit further crimes.
The situation for companies is at least as bad, as a break in network security can affect many people - the owners, employees, clients and contractors (and others). Loss of financial data, user account information (remember what happened to Winners a year or two ago?), proprietary research results or information, and more are compounded by the costs in time, money and public opinion that can haunt a company for years afterwards.
However, potential risks notwithstanding, people and organizations can't just disconnect themselves from the Web - not only does it offer a wide variety of tools and benefits, but chances are everyone they know (and most of their clients) are on there. Everybody has a website now, and most companies rely on the Internet not only as a means of finding clients, but of selling them their products or services as well (via e-commerce).
One of the benefits of the Web is the ability to send large amounts of information quickly and easily. Architects, lawyers, insurance underwriters, medical service providers, marketers, musicians and many more no longer need to depend on a slow, unreliable postal service to send (or receive) work from clients, contractors or field personnel - it can all be done online.
But this brings us neatly back to the issue of security: if we don't want to resort to techniques employed by the CIA since it's early days (dead-letter drops, armed couriers, etc.) how can we make sure we can send large files (and receive large files!) securely?
Using a service like FilesDIRECT takes care not only of security issues, but ease-of-use issues as well:
- Multi-character password creation is in place to help ensure secure account access
- Use of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) cryptographic protocol ensures privacy and reliability of large file uploads and downloads
- 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) file encryption is also used to protect against unauthorized access of client files. 128-bit encryption is the encryption standard used by banks and major online retailers (like Amazon.com), and the AES standard has been approved by the US government's National Security Agency (NSA) for the encryption of classified information
- Unlike systems like FTP, however, the security features do not impact the user experience - it is very easy to use FilesDIRECT, as the features operate in the background and require no special training or knowledge to use
Combined with robust security on the user end (firewalls, hard-to-guess passwords, etc.), FilesDIRECT can ensure secure file transfer for individuals, professionals and companies in any field.
As announced in today's press release, FilesDIRECT has decided to TRIPLE (yes, triple) the storage space available to our clients. As Ross (our Manager of Business Development) mentions in the release:
“Considering the decreasing costs of storage, it only seemed natural for us to offer this to our subscribers. We’ve seen some of our biggest users have to delete old files from their accounts to free up space, and that’s against our goal of providing a service that is both secure and easy to use.”
“Starting today, all Starter plans will have 30 GB of free online storage; Store 2500 will now have 150 GB, and so on. This will be especially good news for our corporate clients who use the service for managed file transfer between several different offices. Along with some bug fixes and improvements on our back end, we are constantly working to provide an easier, more feature-rich way for our clients to send and receive large files.”
In other words, whatever kind of account you have (trial accounts excepted), you can now have three times more storage for your files.
I mean, 30 GB is a lot - and it only goes up from there. Why not sign up and you can start to send large files today!
PS: Before I forget, we're still offering 50% off of Starter plans: send and receive large files - and store 30 GB - online for just $9 a month!
The U.S. postal service recently applied to increase it's rates and, to the relief of many businesses, was turned down. Sadly, in the midst of the global recession, many costs (including shipping costs - just look at upcoming rate increases from FedEx and UPS) have been rising, and everyone - especially small business owners - are looking for ways to save money.
SENDING INFORMATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE
While there are many things that still need to be physically sent, the advent of computers and digital media have dramatically changed how information moves around the world. Updates to friends and family, invitations to special events, even postcards are now sent electronically. Email and services like Facebook allow us to send and share smaller amounts of information with each other, but there are times when a more robust or secure file transfer solution is needed:
- Sending video to friends and family
- Architects or designers needing a client's feedback on plans or designs
- Insurance agents transferring client or policy information to a partner firm
- Lawyers sending large legal documents
- Film or television producers receiving edited files
There are too many kinds of documents, media or files to list, but you get the idea. Almost everyone has switched to email when it comes to general correspondence, and it even works for basic file sharing. This has saved individuals and businesses millions of dollars in postage and associated supplies (envelopes, mailers, etc) and has helped contribute to the decline of the U.S. Postal Service (and others) as demand for their services has dropped dramatically.
However, email doesn't always work for the above-mentioned business file sharing applications - very often either the sender's or receiver's mail servers will bounce messages that are considered too large (generally in the range of 10MB). This is fine for an average PDF document or small video clip, but what if you're sending design files to your printer, or a video to your editor? Burn it to a cd or copy it to a USB key and then mail it?
SEND YOUR LARGE FILES LIKE THE C.I.A. - IN THE 80'S
There are a number of issues associated with sending digital content via physical media:
- Cost: as mentioned earlier, shipping costs are rising, and this will apply across the board - whatever the size of the package
- Reliability: even the most trustworthy, skilled and professional courier cannot guarantee that your information will arrive at it's destination safely and on time. Bad traffic, sudden Nordic volcanic eruptions, and a host of other potential hazards lie in wait. And this is assuming the courier does their job...let's face it, there are a lot of stories of disgruntled or unbalanced Postal employees losing, stealing or otherwise tampering with the mail. There's a reason the phrase "going postal" was coined in the first place!
- Security: you could certainly encrypt the data on the disk - but you'd need to get the key to your recipients first anyways. And it won't matter if the disk doesn't make it there to begin with.
So, going "Old School" and sending an encrypted disk or USB key via special courier is an option - and while it's more reliable than sending it in the mail, there are easier, less James-Bondian methods available.
SEND VERY LARGE FILES ONLINE
Online services like FilesDIRECT let you send large files over the Internet by having you upload your files to their servers and then sending your "target audience" a link that they can click on to download the files. It's actually easier than it sounds, and it's much more secure and reliable than either the mail or couriers. It saves on costs (couriers are expensive - especially if you're sending something overseas) and lets you track exactly who has been uploading and downloading your files. Just follow the link to get more information, easily send large files online and get a 50% discount too!
That's right, folks - we've done it again!
Your humble author of this large file transfer blog has had another article accepted by ezinearticles.com - the Internet's leading article directory!
In this article ("Large File Transfer - Why Bother With FTP?") I tackle the subject of sending big files via FTP - the outdated technology we all know and love (or, y'know, dislike intently - guess which one I am?).
The article looks at the age of the protocol, as well as security and usability issues. I'm no Mark Twain, but I think it's both readable and informative, and (here I confess to bias) worth taking a look at.
Just follow the link to the article on (basically) FTP replacement. Of course, considering that you're here, it's not hard to guess what I recommend instead of FTP for sending large files...
Please let me know what you think in the comments!
The news has been flying about all over the Internet: social media giant Facebook has bought out file sharing service Drop.io.
For those who don't know, Drop.io took an unusual approach to sending large files by allowing users to create temporary "mini-drop-boxes". There were no other features - just the ability to anonymously share files for a brief period of time.
According to TechCrunch.com, the social media moguls have bought not only Drop.io's technology, but their talent: CEO Sam Lessin (and perhaps others) will be moving out to Palo Alto, California to join the Facebook team.
The company's incipient demise (non-paid accounts have already been shut down, and paid accounts will be closed on December 15, 2010) sends an interesting message to the rest of the file-sharing industry: Facebook is planning to add online file transfer to their service offerings.
This may or may not be a good thing, depending on one's point of view. Facebook has 2 main strengths that they can apply to the field that most online file transfer services cannot:
1. Massive traffic, and
2. Massive capital to spend on application development.
If they do go ahead and implement a technology similar to Drop.io's, and integrate it fully into their service, it would probably mean the demise of many of the current companies in the field - especially the new, smaller start-ups with little to offer besides sending files too big for email.
If the services that let users transfer big files wish to survive, they are going to have to "go the extra mile", and offer more than ad-serviced large file transfer.
What sort of value-add features should users look for in a big files transfer service?
1. The ability to receive large files: only a few of these companies let their users receive files from those without accounts, and they usually charge for the privilege.
2. Storage: while many users are only interested in sending large files, many more (especially businesses) are also looking for the ability to store files online - allowing them not only to collaborate but preserve valuable data.
3. Robust tracking: of special value to corporate users (from any size business), the ability to track uploads and downloads is a must - especially if multiple users in separate locations share one account.
FilesDIRECT (of course) offers all these features, and more, for free with all accounts:
1. Free customizable upload and download pages ("dropboxes"). Now your clients can upload files to your personal page - or download files from a set of private files you send them a link to.
2. Paid accounts start with a whopping 10GB of free storage - and it only goes up from there.
3. Tracking: live tracking of what files have been uploaded and downloaded, when and by whom.
There are many more features and our development team is always working on more...while fly-by-night "free" operations should be worried about the news out of Brooklyn, we know that FilesDIRECT will still be around for a long time to come.
No matter the size of the company, an increasing number of businesses need to be able to send files or receive files, either internally (among staff) or externally (with clients, contractors or field staff).
Smaller companies often don't have the resources to set up their own servers (either in terms of hardware and the IT staff to maintain it), especially in the earlier days of an enterprise. This limits their ability to use FTP (the traditional choice for sending large files) or network drives (the simplest solution for internal file sharing). Large companies also face similar limitations, especially in current difficult economic times. Let's face it: everyone's on a tighter budget these days.
While email is a common choice for sending files, it suffers from a number of downsides:
1. Lack of security: email is a very easy electronic media to access...in other words, it's easy to hack. This is a major concern for businesses that handle sensitive information, such as health care-related companies (insurance firms, doctor's offices, etc.), financial institutions, or law firms.
2. File size limits: most common email programs impose limits on the size of attachments that can be sent along with messages, generally in the range of 25MB. While this may not be an issue for many non-business users, many companies need to be able to send or access much larger files, such as contracts, architectural drawings, computer applications or patient files (among many possibilities).
3. Poor tracking: if a particular file (or set of files) is subject to changes from several people, email does not really give the ability to properly track changes made, who made them or who has accessed the files in question.
The inherent risks and issues involved in FTP were discussed in the previous post on this blog.
So, if neither of the 2 most popular methods of sharing files are the best way to go, what is?
A web based file transfer service.
Online file sharing solves all of the issues mentioned earlier. For example, FilesDIRECT offers:
1. Security: 128-bit encryption is used for uploading and downloading files (the same level of encryption used by banks and major online retailers like Amazon.com), and files are sent using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptography. Combined with the ability to password protect downloads and uploads, this is a level of security that cannot be matched by other methods.
2. While the vast majority of email programs severely limit the size of files that can be sent (most to a max of 25MB or less), FilesDIRECT allows users to send files up to 2GB in size without downloading any software. Downloading the free desktop app allows for file transfers of any size.
3. FilesDIRECT's built-in file management includes automatic tracking of files, including the file name and type, it's size, and upload and download history.
Another benefit is that, once a company has an account, they can set up a (free!) upload page (aka: a dropbox) to allow others (such as clients, contractors, etc.) to upload files to the company for free...without having to open accounts of their own.
All of these features make big file transfer with FilesDIRECT a natural choice for businesses of any size in any industry.
Now, this post probably won't be of interest to the technically inclined, but for folks who are curious about some of the jargon flung about the file transfer side of the internet, this one is for you.
FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol", and it is a method used to copy files from one host to another over networks like the internet - technically, over "TCP/IP" networks, which stands for "Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol". Access to an FTP client can be either anonymous or password-protected, depending on how it's been set up.
FTP was originally created by Abhay Bhushan in 1971, with the standard specifications having been updated twice since then (in 1980 and 1985). Let's look at that again: the File Transfer Protocol, one of the major methods used to send files, was first written in 1971 and it's last major update was in 1985.
25 years ago.
Moreover, ask any (honest) IT professional and they'll tell you that FTP was never designed to be a secure method of sending data, and even with security upgrades, it's still vulnerable to a wide variety of attacks (according to the good folks at Wikipedia). Though somewhat mitigated in modern versions, data (including user names, passwords, etc.) can often be easily accessed and read. Additionally, it tends to leave mile-wide holes in your firewall, thereby opening your computer to potential attack.
As one would expect for such an old system, usability is not very good - even newer versions are often clunky and distinctly not user friendly. If you've ever had to use FTP, chances are you've experienced this firsthand...I know I have.
"There's got to be a better option!" You might say. And I would respond "Yes, yes, there is." It's been 25 years since the advent of FTP, and a lot has changed since then, including the coding languages available to programmers and, in fact, the very structure of the internet.
This is a very good thing, because it's given us a variety of choices, the best of which are probably online file transfer services like FilesDIRECT. I confess to being biased, but let's look at the reasons why:
- Password protected uploads and downloads
- 128-bit SSL encryption
- Easy to use - super-simple user interface
- Send large files (2GB using your browser, or files of any size with the desktop app)
- Send and receive multiple files simultaneously
- There are no servers to maintain
- Works with any operating system
And, of course, much more.
With modern, more secure options like this, I can't think of any good reasons for using something as outdated as FTP.
It's time to move large file transfer into the 21st century.