There is a plethora of information about cloud file transfer providers, so be sure to do your homework and choose a reputable vendor with solid security practices.
Every business’s needs are different, but the answers to the following questions are important considerations for any firm:
- Are all data transmitted and stored with at least 128-bit encryption?
- Has the vendor ever experienced any sort of security breaches?
- Is the data stored in a SAS 70 or SSAE16 compliant data center?
- Does the provider perform regular third-party audits?
- Is the interface easy to use?
- Does the program integrate easily into current workflows?
- Can the business owner revoke access to documents after sharing them?
At The Sleeter Group, we use two products that provide somewhat similar capabilities, but each has its own unique strengths. Both products have earned our Awesome Add-on awards, and show great value for customers.
ShareFile, recently acquired by Citrix, is a great solution for centralizing data transfer between computers and data storage in the cloud. ShareFile helps you securely transfer large files to anyone on the Internet. You can use the Web interface to upload/download files, or you can use the ShareFile Outlook Plug-in to securely send files by attaching links to the files in the body of an email.
ShareFile can provide you with your own branded online portal accessible through your firm’s website if you find that you need more data storage, bandwidth or features. In addition to securely sending files, ShareFile allows you to create shared folders in the cloud, so you can have a single place for storing documents and you can control access to that folder as needed.
SmartVault is both a file transfer solution and an online document management portal where documents can be connected to transactions or list entries in QuickBooks, Results CRM, Method CRM, SpringAhead, XpandedReports and other applications. SmartVault also just released their Outlook Plug-in that allows you to send files securely by attaching a link to files in email. With both of these services, all files are transmitted with 256-bit SSL encryption, and folders within the client portal are only viewable and accessible to specified users that are predetermined by you.
So how do these solutions work in the real world? At The Sleeter Group, we use both solutions, but each serves a different purpose in our company. We use ShareFile primarily for sending/receiving files, and we use SmartVault for storing all documents that are connected to a financial transaction or to a CRM record (contracts, employee forms, etc.). So while both services have overlapping features, we find that both serve our needs, and provide enough unique value to us that we wouldn’t be able to do without either of them.
Whatever solution(s) you choose for cloud storage, file transfer, and document management, make sure they allow you to transfer large files (e.g. QuickBooks files) securely and professionally, and if you also need to “connect” documents to transactions in the general ledger or CRM, make sure they provide integrations with your back end accounting, CRM, or other back end system.