Got a file too big for e-mail? Hate FTP? Free(mium) alternatives abound
But only a few offer business-level features
Computerworld - Free-falling storage prices and cheap bandwidth have led to a bounty of services that allow users to send large files instantly through the Internet -- and threaten to render overnight document-delivery services such as FedEx or DHL obsolete.
In contrast, file transmittal services all let users send files of up to 100MB for free, and many will go higher. Driveway, whose motto is "Size really does matter," lets users send files up to 500MB for free. Pando has a 1GB limit for nonsubscribers, while Civil Netizen is currently the most generous, with a 4GB limit.
Most services let senders drag and drop files into a browser window and enter an e-mail or IM address as a destination. Recipients simply click on a link to start downloading files -- a simpler process for most users than FTP transfer, the longtime standard.
"Setting up an FTP server on their home/work computers and providing their intended recipient with log-in information is really beyond the grasp of most computer users," said Brad Linder, a blogger for DownloadSquad who has written about and tested several such services.
Business-ready services emerging
Most services today are run by what appear to be small start-ups, all racing to introduce Web 2.0-type features and win as many users as possible before the inevitable market shakeout.
For instance, Pando, which is based on peer-to-peer technology, lets users send files from within their Outlook 2003 e-mail program or the Skype Internet telephone service.
While most services are targeting "prosumers," some services are starting to stake out a niche with business customers.
Take four-year-old LeapFILE. Fremont, Calif.-based LeapFILE lets companies place their brands on the download sites where recipients retrieve their files. That, along with compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA security standards, has helped LeapFILE win "hundreds of businesses," according to its Web site. Those businesses include NCR Corp., KB Home, VeriSign Inc. and Intuit Inc.
Others, such as SendThisFile and DropSend, offer the same branded-site option to business subscribers, as well as encryption on all file transfers. SendThisFile also offers detailed administrative reports, while DropSend offers a separate uploading tool for the desktop.
Targeting business users: YouSendIt
The company that has most successfully targeted businesses is three-year-old YouSendIt. The Mountain View, Calif.-based business has 30,000 paying subscribers at "thousands" of companies, according to Ranjith Kumaran, founder and vice president of product management. Big customers include NBC Universal, Forbes.com, Herman Miller Inc., Autodesk Inc. and Hilton Hotels. Many other clients are in creative or entertainment fields.
- Simple Solution, Big Capability Meet growing employee and business demands by connecting up to 1,000 users with powerful collaboration capabilities with a single, integrated platform -- Cisco...
- The DDoS Threat Spectrum Bolstered by favorable economics, today's global botnets are using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target firewalls, web services, and applications, often simultaneously.
- Need to Replace MS Threat Management Gateway? Read this article to learn how F5's Secure Web Gateway solution provides a full set of features that can help you successfully migrate...
- The Shortfall of Network Load Balancing Applications running across networks encounter a wide range of performance, security, and availability challenges as IT department strive to deliver fast, secure access...
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics...
- Cloud BI Overview: Jaspersoft for AWS Check out this overview of Jaspersoft for AWS, to easily and affordably build business intelligence solutions as well as embed visualizations and analytics... All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts