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Folder Access Permissions: How Do FTP and File Sharing Alternatives Compare?
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on December 6th, 2017

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Folder Access Permissions: How Do FTP and File Sharing Alternatives Compare?

FTP Solutions

When searching for a file sharing solution, many people look at features like price, storage space, or the number of users accommodated. While all of these are important items to consider, you don’t want to look past what may be the most important feature of file sharing solutions – folder access permissions. When comparing different file sharing alternatives, you need to consider what level of folder access permission control you will have.  

Explore this article to learn more about why folder access permissions are important, and find out which top file sharing alternatives offer these permissions and which ones fall short.

comparison guide top file sharing softwares


Why are Folder Access Permissions Important?

Before you can start evaluating file sharing alternatives, it’s essential to understand why folder access permissions are key feature to consider your search for the right FTP solution. There are three major benefits that come with granular folder access permissions.

  • Efficiency – Setting folder access permissions so your users see only what they need to see makes your operations more efficient. If an employee only needs to work in one folder, you have the power to grant that access, and they can focus on the task at hand. You can also eliminate issues like mistakenly deleted or lost data. When folders are accessible on a need-to-know basis, you have greater control over your data.
  • Security – Security is a major concern for many companies. Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated by the day, and you need a file sharing alternative that can keep up with the growing threats. With granular folder access permissions, you can keep data safe when a breach occurs. Store your most sensitive data in folders that only high-level users can access. This way, you don’t need to worry about data falling into the wrong hands. Sometimes users are simply irresponsible with sensitive data. They may not have nefarious intentions, but that doesn’t prevent their carelessness from having bad consequences. When your users are careless with data, folder access permissions are an added layer of security that can keep data safe.
  • Compliance – Companies in all industries face compliance mandates, and the consequences for failing to meet standards could range from huge fines to going out of business. With granular folder access permissions, you’re better equipped to align with data security compliance mandates.


When “Granular” is not really Granular

Take note: some FTP providers only give you two layers of folder access permissions: read and write. Read is the ability to download files. Write is the ability to upload and delete files. And, with the two-layer model, both read and write include the permission to list directories by default. In this model, there’s not much room for flexibility, and administrators lack the granular permission controls that are essential for companies handling sensitive data. 

Having more than two types of permissions will streamline and secure operations, for example the four unique permissions upload, download, delete, and list. Explore each of these permissions and find out which file sharing alternative solutions offer these granular controls. When you know which FTP solution offers the most controls essential to your operations, choosing the best solution will become an easy decision.

Let’s look at some of the top FTP and file sharing providers and compare: FTP Today, Brick FTP Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, DriveHQ, and Sharefile.


Download Permission

You don’t want your sensitive data to end up in the wrong hands. That’s why it’s essential to adopt a file sharing alternative solution featuring a granular download permission.

Because this is such an important permission, every FTP provider or file sharing company offers this feature.


Upload Permission

The ability to upload files to a file sharing solution is an essential business operation. Look for a file sharing alternative that enables your administrators to grant folder upload permissions on a user-by-user basis.

To gain this access (unique from delete and list), look to FTP Today or DriveHQ. While other providers can grant this permission (as “write”), they can’t do so on a granular level.


Delete Permission

Instead of losing files to accidental or purposeful deletion, find an FTP solution the enables administrators to grant delete permissions to users separately from the write/upload permission.

The only two file sharing alternatives that can grant this unique permission are FTP Today and DriveHQ, while the other solutions cannot.


List Directory Permission

Directory listings display all the content of a folder housed by an FTP storage solution. With list permissions, you can determine who can see folders, subfolders, and the data inside them. In fact, with proper directory permission settings, users without access to a folder can’t even see the folder in the list directory.

Think of it like having a computer with multiple user accounts. Each user, when they log into the computer, has their own version of the desktop, and they can save and access files other users don’t have access to. This protects privacy for each user, with the administrator having access to all data on all account. This is how directory access works with FTP solutions, too. Administrators can see all data, while granting access to certain users.

For control over directory listing permissions, your only option is FTP Today. Other file sharing alternatives don’t enable administrators to set list directory permissions, meaning file and folder listings are viewable to all users. This permission is very powerful. With FTP Today, you can allow a user to navigate through a folder (to get to an assigned subfolder) without letting that user see the other files and other subfolders within the first folder. You could also allow multiple users to upload files into the same folder without letting them see each other's files.


The Winner is clearly FTP Today

When you weigh your options for file sharing alternatives, keep each of these essential permissions in mind. Among all the solutions we’ve evaluated – FTP Today, Brick FTP, Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, driveHQ and Sharefile – the only solution that checks all the boxes for highly granular folder access permissions is FTP Today.

By adopting FTP Today, you’re able to maximize security and efficiency in your business. Don’t overlook the importance of folder access permissions in your search for the right file sharing alternative. FTP Today is clearly the best option.

Are you looking for an alternative file sharing solution for your business?
Download this free comparison guide now to help you in your search for the right solution.


comparison guide top file sharing softwares

About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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