If you’ve ever gotten yourself lost digging through endless email threads, looking for the latest version of a document you shared with your client, you might have a problem. Your file-sharing method is in dire need of improvement and you need a service that can take care of it for you.
A lot goes into choosing a proper file-sharing service. Not all of them are the same and some features might provide your business with a lot of benefits – if you choose wisely.
Features to look for
A file-sharing website should offer more functionality rather than provide just a basic option for sending and storing files.
It should let you create a single source of truth for all the files in your business.
For example, you should look for these features when choosing a file-sharing service:
- A dedicated interface such as a client portal that easily integrates all the information and shared documents. This makes it easy to share files with clients, and vice-versa.
- The ability to store all the files in a single location with the option of viewing the entire file-sharing history.
- The ability to sort files into different client profiles will benefit you if your business regularly communicates and shares files with lots of clients.
- Cross-platform availability is a necessity so the file-sharing website you choose needs to be mobile-friendly. It should work flawlessly on desktop, as well as mobile devices, so both parties can view the shared files regardless of the type of device or geographical location.
- Notifications and reminders ensure that you never miss anything important. Your file-sharing software should notify you when a file is shared. It should also let you know when a client sees a file you shared.
That said, not all businesses require all the features listed above if their needs are very simple. The final choice will depend on the specific needs and requirements of your business.
How do I choose the most suitable file-sharing website?
Before you settle on a file-sharing solution, you should define the needs of your organization by asking yourself these questions:
- How often do I share files?
- Do I need to easily access and manage/edit previously shared documents?
- Does my file-sharing software need to be HIPAA compliant?
Not all organizations require the same functionality. If you share files with clients regularly, need to track document history, or make edits to an older document, then a comprehensive file-sharing software will suit your needs perfectly.
For example, a robust file-sharing software is perfect for any type of private medical practice. This is because the workflows of a medical practice lend themselves well to improvement from all of the features we outlined.
Additionally, file-sharing software is a good idea, as it ensures you stay HIPAA compliant.
However, your business might not rely on regular file-sharing and would benefit from an easier way to store and share files without divulging into a bunch of email threads. A simpler file-sharing solution, such as a website, might suffice.
Regardless of your needs, we’ve got you covered. You can’t go wrong with any of the 5 services on this list.
Best file-sharing platforms
vcita’s file-sharing software is an all-in-one comprehensive file-sharing solution that also provides you with an easy-to-use client portal and powerful built-in CRM features.
You can view all the communications with your clients, view the files you shared, and access and edit any files categorized in different client folders. It dramatically simplifies the process of sharing files and improves your file organization. It also gives you a plethora of other useful features that can prove to be a lifesaver for any business that deals with a higher number of clients.
The best features of vcita are:
- an intuitive client portal
- “request a document’’ function
- automatic reminders and notifications
- a CRM that automatically sorts files
- integrated invoicing
- mobile support
- HIPAA compliance
Pricing: vcita offers a free 14-day trial, and the lowest priced plan will cost you $19 a month if paid annually.
The $19 Essentials offers limited storage so we recommend checking out the Business plan which costs $45 when billed annually and offers 20GB of storage space.
A more basic alternative to the number one software on our list is HoneyBook.
In a lot of ways, it’s similar to vcita, being that they are both comprehensive customer relationship management platforms. Still, vcita gets an edge because it’s a better solution for different types of businesses, while HoneyBook is more geared towards freelancers.
HoneyBook also doesn’t meet the criteria for HIPAA compliance.
While it doesn’t have many options to make it viable for teams or extensive client work, if you’re a freelancer working on a project basis and your business operations are smaller, Honeybook could be a worthy alternative.
The best features of HoneyBook are:
- Integrated invoicing
- mobile support
- online contracts
- freelancer friendly options
Pricing: HoneyBook offers a 7-day trial and costs $39 a month.
For the less-demanding users (businesses that don’t rely on sharing files), who require less comprehensive, one-time solutions, we recommend these file-sharing websites:
The newest and most interesting of the file-sharing websites is Icedrive. It’s one of the most secure cloud storage sites out there, where all the data is encrypted at the client’s side using Twofish Encryption.
WIth drive mounting software included, Icedrive can be used as an alternative for a physical hard drive that offers up to 100TB of storage.
Best features of Icedrive are:
- zero knowledge encryption
- fast upload and download speeds
- versioning features
- affordable plans
Pricing: The free version gives you 10 GB of storage, while the cheapest paid pricing plan comes with 150GB of storage for a monthly price of $1.67 (billed as $19.99 annually).
4. Google Drive
Google has been making everyone’s lives easier for a while now with its free cloud storage offering. Google Drive syncs all the files across all devices, so it’s quite useful for remote working.
It’s simple to use, works on all operating systems flawlessly, and it’s very secure as it allows you to control who can view and edit your files.
Additionally, the inclusion of Docs, Sheets, and Slides makes it a perfect tool for collaborative working.
The best features of Google Drive are:
- compatibility with most systems and devices
- easy file sharing
- robust file search features
- Intuitive user interface
Pricing: Google Drive is free and offers 15 GB of storage space. But if you need more, you can upgrade to Google One and get 100 GB of storage for $1.99 a month ($20 annually)
Box is a cloud file management solution that integrates with popular operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, as well as all mobile platforms.
You can edit files locally, and Box will save them to the cloud. It also allows you to easily collaborate with your teammates by giving them admin access.
You will also be able to access your files at all times, so even if you lose internet access, you can continue working uninterrupted. Once you connect back to the internet, all the changes made to the files will get synced to the cloud.
The best features of Box are:
- simple user interface
- additional productivity tools
- integrations with over 1500 apps
Pricing: The cheapest plan is the business plan that will run you $20 per user, per month.
Sharing is caring
Choosing a file-sharing software depends on the needs of your small business. For some organizations, simpler solutions such as Google Drive may be enough. However, if you’re dealing with clients on a regular basis, you might require a more comprehensive solution.
If you do go for a more advanced type of file-sharing software like vcita, you won’t just get a file-sharing platform. You’ll get software that can improve your workflow and positively impact your client relationship.
It all starts with making the right choice – and you just took the first step.