I recently had the opportunity to speak with ShareFile customer and Greymane Contracting President, Alex DeCouto. Alex shared some insight with me on how his company uses ShareFile to streamline daily operations.
Greymane is a medium-sized general contracting company that services the hospitality industry as well as commercial, institutional, and high-end residential markets. The company regularly bids on different projects, and exchanges a large volume of documents and drawings. “These documents frequently go out to dozens of subcontractors and suppliers for pricing,” says Alex.
AKQURACY is a full-service, data-driven marketing communications agency. Utilizing its covertly obtained research, the agency develops top-notch strategies and creative for its clients, resulting in effective and impactful campaigns. Before the agency found ShareFile, it used email or an FTP client to exchange documents, which proved to be complicated and restrictive. The team needed a better, more streamlined approach to working with clients and vendors. Security was also a major issue, since the agency handles a lot of confidential information for clients.
Currently, the agency sends and receives a massive amount of data files and transfers extremely large creative files to its vendors. Scott Petinga, President of AKQURACY, says “Security is by far the biggest benefit of ShareFile. We work with a plethora of teams within any given client and not everyone needs the same level of access to project files. With ShareFile’s granular folder-level permissions we’re able to customize security settings, enabling specific users to have access to specific files. This keeps us compliant with legal regulations regarding the privacy and security of confidential information.” Scott explains that ShareFile is also much more streamlined because of power tools like Desktop Sync, Drive Mapping, Outlook Plug-in and mobile apps, which make workflow much faster and more efficient for employees working remotely.
We have always prided ourselves in fast upload speeds. In our effort to continually improve, our development team has created a function called the “Java Uploader,” which is now included in all ShareFile plans. I am sure many of our customers have noticed a significant increase in upload speeds and are wondering how it is done.
The uploader is actually a simple setting change in your account. After logging into your account, click “My Settings” on the right side of the top navigation bar. On the right side, you will see “Edit Upload Preferences.”
Then click “Java Uploader” and Save. As long as your internet connection can handle the speed, you should see significantly faster uploads.
To learn more about enhanced uploading, I went straight to the source, Josh Smith, our Infrastructure Developer.
When I asked Josh, he stated the idea actually came from a potential customer. A large company needed to upload large 2GB+ files many times a day. Anything we could do to improve upload speeds would save a lot of time and give them the ability to free up more resources. Knowing this would help all of our clients, our development team went right to work. The “potential” customer is now an actual customer.
Here at ShareFile, we know the importance of security, which is why we take the proper measures to protect our users. Our customers, and their customers and colleagues, trust us with sensitive information on a daily basis. We have layers of security in place to ensure confidentiality when transferring and storing business documents.
Layer 1: As a ShareFile user, the first layer of security is in regard to accessing your account. Each user of the system has a unique login and password. All user passwords are hashed in the ShareFile database, meaning that not even the ShareFile support personnel have the ability to view or in any way determine a user’s password. To access your sensitive documents, you are prompted to sign into your account with your email and password. This serves to protect your information from unauthorized users.
Layer 2: The second layer of security is default privacy settings. By default, your files are only accessible if you choose to share them with others. When ShareFile users create folders in the system, only the specified users that are designated by owner of the folder are able to access the contents of those folders. Users who do not have access to the folder will not even see the folder in their view of the system. So, you can rest assured knowing that your information is kept confidential.
A few weeks ago we blogged about the new proposed cyber security legislation by President Obama. The proposal highlights voluntary assistance and information sharing framework between government and industry. Sounds like a good idea considering the recent attacks on major corporations like Sony’s Playstation, PBS, and most recently, banking giant Citibank. According to a recent article posted by International Business Times, Citibank confirmed today that credit card data of 200,000 of its North American customers have been hacked.
However, lawmakers aren’t so certain about the new proposed legislation, arguing that it would give the government unprecedented access to private data. Critics say that the promotion of shared information about cyber-attacks with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would violate laws limiting government access to private data. According to an article in Network World, the proposal will take away protection found in laws such as the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, in favor of the proposed broad information sharing.
Throughout the month, our Development team continuously releases updates to our application to allow for increased ease of use for our ShareFile users. This month, we have made a number of enhancements within our ShareFile application to help make it easier for Administrators to manage their accounts. These enhancements include a new folder invitation beta feature, an update to the “Remember Me” check box on the login screen and the ability to create new account settings, including the limitation of file versions, creation of case-sensitive passwords and the limitation of IP addresses.
With ShareFile’s new folder invitation feature, folder administrators will be able to send a link granting full folder access to as many email recipients as they would like without having to set the users up with folder access first. This feature is designed to make it easier for folder administrators to grant access to folders to a large group of users. These invitations will allow interested parties to sign up for gain access to folders within a ShareFile account. At the same time, we have also made updates to the “Remember Me” check box on the Login screen of a ShareFile account. Now, the check box reads “Keep me logged in,” as opposed to “Remember Me;” by selecting this option, the ShareFile account will save the email address and password of the user so that it will be automatically filled in whenever you login using the same browser on your computer. For any new accounts opened on the 16th of May or after, the box will read “Remember Me,” but this box will only save the user’s email address, and not their password. This update is designed to improve security within an account because the user must enter their ShareFile password each time they login.
Accounts created prior to the 16th of May can also have this setting updated by contacting our Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, this month, our Development teams made a number of new account settings available, including the ability to limit file versions, create case-sensitive passwords and limit IP addresses. In limiting file versions, administrators can change the number of copies of a file that will be saved as separate versions on a folder. Case-sensitive passwords can also be enforced on an account-wide basis and accounts may now also limit account activity to a given number of IP addresses. This allows accounts to limit file access and to discourage distribution to external users. To change both the password settings in your account or to limit the IP addresses accessing your account, please contact ShareFile Support at email@example.com.
In a survey just released, the use of could computing services have increased significantly in the past year with multinational corporations. The report, published by Ovum, states that 45% of multinational corporations have adopted cloud computing services, compared to 28% in last year’s survey. Most interestingly, cloud computing adoption was especially high with companies based in Asia/Pacific. Take a look at the article here.
In a separate study by IBM, 60% of international organizations are ready to move forward with cloud computing over the next five years as a way to increase their business and gain an edge over their competitors. This percentage is double the percentage that the survey got in their 2009 study showing that cloud computing is clearly on the rise as organizations continue to grow and become more international. More information on this study can be found here.
Our Account Services team was created in January, 2011 by Nick Woerner, who has been working with ShareFile since the spring of 2008. Nick saw an opportunity to raise the bar for service and developed Account Services to improve the availability and quality of training and ongoing, proactive support for ShareFile users.
Account Services representatives conduct daily training webinars and also one-on-one sessions for customers. The team has the opportunity to work with new our accounts and learn the reasons our customers chose ShareFile as a solution for their business. I recently asked two Account Services representatives, Alex Hofford and Amanda Rogers, about the features and benefits of a ShareFile account that are most helpful to people who are just getting started or looking to learn more. Below are some of the tips they shared.
What are the most common questions that you hear from new accounts?
FAQ- One of the most common questions I get from clients is “What is my client going to be able to see when they log in?”
Answer- While the specific answer to this question will be different with each account, the fundamental answer lies within our Folder Access permissions. With these options, the account administrator can control not only which folders each client user can see in the system, but also any download/upload capability and email notifications. These options create a level of customization so that you and your clients can get the most appropriate use out of our system.
FAQ- “How is the transfer secure if we send out an email with a link to download a file? What if the email gets intercepted?”
Answer- I often get asked this question, especially when going over the ‘Require user to login’ option within ‘Send a File’. I point out that if the user isn’t already created as a user on the account, the system will assign them a password. I get a lot of concern over the password coming out in the same email as the link to the file. There are measures that the administrator(s) can put into place within their account to add additional security. Our first recommendation is to create the person as user in the system and then grant them access to a folder in the account that has the material you would be sending to them. If the user is created in this way, then they will be required to log-in each time before they can access the folder. They will be sent a temporary system-generated password in an initial email and will be prompted to change that password as soon as they log-in the first time. Email notifications can be turned on, so that notification will be provided as soon as new files have been uploaded to the folder.
I’ve also helped accounts with their email templates so that a new user’s password won’t go out in an email. Some accounts even change the passwords for all users to the last four digits of their SSN (for those in Accounting and Financial industries) and then only say in the welcome email that their password is the last four digits of their SSN. I also refer those who ask these questions to the Reporting feature in their account and let them know that they can trace downloads to an IP address and location to determine who is doing the downloading/uploading of a file.