When You Should (and Shouldn't) Choose EFSS
There is no doubt that the ease of deploying an Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solution is desirable, making it a fine option for some file sharing needs. But, with every item in the pro column for an EFSS solution, there are plenty of cons. Before you choose an EFSS system for your company, make sure you take this type of file sharing solution’s drawbacks into consideration.
First, it’s essential that you understand exactly what an EFSS solution is. These are types of file sharing solutions that are cloud-based, and allow individuals to share data – files, videos, images, etc. – with other individuals. These solutions include Box, Dropbox, Egnyte or ShareFile, and they facilitate easy collaboration, like live file editing.
Explore this article on when EFSS is the right solution for a company’s file sharing needs, and learn when you should look beyond an EFSS solution for added file sharing security.
When You Should Choose EFSS
Some companies’ file storage and sharing needs are pretty basic. Choose an EFSS solution if your needs are limited to the following three features:
- Basic Security – If secure file sharing isn’t a major concern for your company, EFSS systems could be the right solution. Because EFSS systems offers a very limited security blanket, it’s better suited for non-sensitive file sharing.
- Link Sharing – Since this is a common need for many companies, almost all file sharing solutions offer link sharing these days. Link sharing is a simple way to provide a coworker or client with access to a file. Plus, since you’re not sharing sensitive files, link sharing is more for convenience than security.
- Email Triggers – You want to stay on top of file updates. With EFSS systems mail automation can be enabled for a variety of actions, so you’re informed the minute specific files are uploaded or altered.
EFSS systems perform the most basic file sharing functions, and they’re really designed for casual file sharing. Think carefully about the level of security your company needs before choosing this type of file sharing solution.
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When You Should Not Choose EFSS
While simplicity is a beneficial quality, an EFSS system isn’t for everyone. Some companies need more from their file sharing solution than just ease of use. An EFSS system is not right for you if you need any of the following features:
- Multi-Factor Authentication – If you need secure file sharing, multi-factor authentication is an essential feature to add to your process.
Multi-factor authentication, or the ability to prevent login without a second piece of information (a code sent to a mobile phone or email address, an answered security question, etc.), can save you big time. It provides an added layer of security by requiring users to provide additional information to access your solution. This ensures even if a password is compromised, your data remains secure.
- Industry Specific Compliance Requirements – Compliance is a huge concern for a many companies in a variety of industries. This is one area where an EFSS can’t provide the features needed to align with these regulations. If any of the following compliance regulations apply to your company, an EFSS system isn’t right option for your business:
- HIPAA - Healthcare
- ITAR - Military
- PCI DSS - Payment Processing
- SOX - U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms
- GLBA - Financial Services
Do these compliance mandates apply to your company? If so, you know the risk involved with noncompliance. You could face huge fines and even prison time. Those are risks you don’t want to expose their business to.
- Compatibility Beyond a Web Browser and Sync Apps – Does your company need to use secure protocols beyond a simple website? EFSS doesn’t facilitate the following protocols:
- FTPeS (Explicit FTPS)
- FTPS (Implicit FTPS)
- SFTP with key authentication
If you want your users or clients to use these secure protocols, an EFSS solution isn’t the right option for you.
Which File Sharing Solution to Choose Instead
Choosing an enterprise file sharing solution doesn’t have to be a difficult choice. If you need the features listed above, while also reaping the collaboration benefits of an EFSS system, there are alternatives. Hosted file sharing solutions are designed with a focus on security, while still providing the convenience of cloud access.
How do EFSS solutions differ from hosted file sharing solutions? With a hosted FTP solution, you use a system that is designed and maintained by file sharing experts. You don’t have to have any hardware in-house; you use the web-based solution provided by your FTP host. In contrast to EFSS, hosted FTP provides greater control over how files are shared.
The Benefits of a Hosted File Sharing Solution
- Security – Security is probably the number one reason to choose a hosted file sharing solution. Your enterprise can’t afford to compromise on security, and top hosted file sharing solutions can deliver it. You won’t have to worry about data compromises with features like:
- Multi-factor authentication
- Granular access controls
- Dedicated firewalls
- IP address and country restrictions
- In-transit encryption
Another important security measure to note is the transparency into server location. With many EFSS solutions, your files could be used on a server located anywhere around the world, and you would have no way of know exactly where your data is. When you use a hosted file sharing solution, the host usually discloses where there servers are located, so you know exactly where your data is. This is crucial knowledge for companies that are subject to ITAR compliance regulations, which make it imperative that data is stored on a server within the United States.
- Convenience - It’s true – many EFSS systems are easy to use. But, you don’t have to sacrifice that convenience when you choose a top hosted FTP solution. These solutions provide cloud-based options, so your employees can work from any location, on any device. The difference from an EFSS system, however, is that you don’t have to work about the security of mobile access.
Hosted FTP solutions also save file update information, like who has edited a file and when, making monitoring and reporting file updates easier.
- Link Sharing – Yes, you can still have link sharing without an EFSS system! Some hosted FTP solutions will include link sharing capabilities. Just be careful to make sure that your FTP solution provider gives you administrative control over who can use link sharing and who can not. Controlling or disabling link sharing is especially critical for most regulatory compliance.
- Price – Many companies are drawn to EFSS solutions by one feature: the low price tag. But, that price is a little bit deceiving. EFSS solutions can run your company anywhere from $15 to $30 per user, per month. When you add that up for midsize to large organization, the costs could run into the thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, hosted FTP solutions facilitate an unlimited number of users for as little as $250 per month, while still reaping the benefits of added security. Depending on your file sharing needs, you can get an unlimited-user FTP solution for an affordable flat monthly fee, with increases based solely on the amount of file storage space needed.
Before your enterprise turns to EFSS systems, consider your needs carefully. If data security is your paramount concern, a hosted file sharing solution could be the ideal choice for your needs. Research your options carefully, and be sure you’re choosing security over convenience.
Learn more about the types of file sharing solutions available to your company. Access this free comparison guide for more information.
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.