FileCloud Review

FileCloud is an interesting EFSS in some ways, like its excellent user management, but falls short in some others, like syncing capabilities. Read all about this mixed bag in our full FileCloud review.

By Branko VlajinWriter
— Last Updated:
2019-12-03T18:34:41+00:00
Starts from $ 417 per month
Free plan available (All Plans)
Best EFSS

It’s important to choose the right cloud storage service for your company’s needs. There are many services out there, and we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff in our best EFSS roundup. FileCloud might make that list, but is several steps behind the best services on it in some of the categories. We’re going to talk about that in detail in this FileCloud review.

That said, FileCloud can compete with the best in several categories. Its user management is powerful and specific enough so you don’t need to worry about dealing with users. That includes managing who can share what, and when it comes to sharing, FileCloud is one of the best. That holds true for security features, too.

We can’t say the same about its poor value, though. The list of its downsides includes the lack of a dedicated app library, the lack of telephone and chat technical support, its problematic sync and a user interfaces that need updating. If this doesn’t lessen your interest, stick with us as we go through the categories in detail below.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Hybrid cloud
  • Excellent sharing
  • Strong security features
  • Great support documentation
  • Good user management
  • File backup
  • Network drive
  • Private encryption

Weaknesses:

  • Small storage space
  • No app library
  • No chat or telephone support
  • User experience issues

Alternatives for FileCloud

  1. 1
    • Device synchronization
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Monitor user activity
  2. 2
    • Device synchronization
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Monitor user activity
  3. 3
    • Device synchronization
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Monitor user activity
  4. 4
    • Device synchronization
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Monitor user activity
  5. 5
    • Device synchronization
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Monitor user activity

Pricing

70 % – Decent

FileCloud has two editions: “server” and “online.” They both let you store your files in the cloud, but the difference is that “server” lets you host your files locally, while “online” lets you use FileCloud’s servers.

FileCloud Server Standard
  • Unlimited storage, Minimum 20 users Details
1-year plan $ 4.17/ month
$50.00 billed every year
FileCloud Online Standard
  • 1TB for the first 5users, 100GB for every additional user, Minimum 5 users Details
1-year plan $ 10.00/ month
$120.00 billed every year
FileCloud Online Enterprise
  • 1TB for the first 5 users, 200GB for every additional user, Minimum 5 users Details
1-year plan $ 15.00/ month
$180.00 billed every year
FileCloud Server Enterprise
  • Contact FileCloud for a quote Details

FileCloud’s “server” edition is a great option because when you host files on your servers, you can make sure everything is configured as you see fit. The biggest benefits of that are a hands-on approach to server security and faster transfer speeds. 

The FileCloud “server standard” plan is only $4.20 per month per user, but the low price is expected considering you’re using your own servers. It’s geared toward small organizations and includes NTFS, sharing, syncing and security, as well as administrator and collaboration features. The plan also provides an unlimited number of free, external accounts.

The “server enterprise” plan has everything the “server standard” plan does and adds premium support and compliance with policies, such as HIPAA and FINRA. Plus, it provides access to ServerSync, a feature that lets you upload files and permissions stored on your local Windows file servers to the cloud. That enables you to enjoy the benefits of hybrid cloud

FileCloud ServerSync

ServerSync also works in the opposite direction, meaning you can store files in the cloud and on your local servers. However, the “server enterprise” plan requires a minimum of 50 users, so it’s a good choice for mid-sized to large organizations. You’ll have to contact FileCloud for a price estimate, though.

Both of these plans support unlimited storage because you’ll determine how much storage you have on the premises. That might be the biggest drawback for most, as one of the major benefits of cloud storage is that you don’t have to manage the servers yourself. Besides being a hassle, maintaining your own servers is expensive.

Fortunately, if you don’t want to have servers on the premises, you can subscribe to FileCloud “online.” Like the “server” edition, the “online” edition has “standard” and “enterprise” plans, and they both require a minimum of five users.

The “online standard” plan is $120 per year per user, and it provides you with 1TB of storage for the first five users and then adds 100GB for every additional user. It’s great for businesses that don’t need to host a lot of data and don’t require server or customization features. That said, the plan provides all the standard sync, share, security and collaboration features.

FileCloud vs OneDrive Pricing

It’s not the best value when you compare it to competitors, though. The biggest issue is the small storage space. For half the price, you could get 1TB per user with OneDrive for Business. For the same price per user, OneDrive for Business gets you unlimited storage, plus no minimum limit of users. For more information, read our OneDrive for Business review.

The last plan is FileCloud “online enterprise.” It’s $15 per month per user, and it also provides 1TB for the first five users but gets you a whopping 200GB for every additional user. The $5 increase is hardly justified by that, and potential users will have to get their money’s worth from the plan’s additional features over the “online standard” plan.

Those features include ServerSync, the option to set a custom business domain, Microsoft’s Active Directory and SAML single sign-on (SSO). With SSO in play, you can log in to separate business systems using the same credentials and at the same time. 

Plus, the “online enterprise” plan includes server features, such as site replication and Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) GovCloud. You need to buy those features at an additional cost, though.

The feature list is extensive, so we can’t go into every option here, but you can learn what other features are available for each plan from FileCloud’s pricing page.

FileCloud Overview

  • Collaboration

    • Device synchronization
    • Selective sync
    • Block-level sync
    • Shared Folders
    • File linking
    • File versioning
    • Max file size
    • Microsoft Office Integration
    • Google Docs Integration
    • Third-party app integration library
    • Monitor user activity
    • Set user roles
    • Create user groups
  • Security

    • At-rest encryption
    • In-transit encryption
    • End-to-end encryption integration
    • Two-factor authentication
    • Custom password requirements
    • Single-sign on (SSO) integration
    • Remote device wipe
  • Support

    • Live Chat
    • Telephone support
    • User forum
    • Email 24/7 support

User Experience

77 % – Good

You can interact with a FileCloud server using a desktop, web or mobile client. We applaud the fact that the desktop client works on Linux because many EFSS services don’t support it. The FileCloud download process is quick and easy.

That said, the desktop client is similar to those of other services. It consists of a system tray icon and a sync folder. The sync folder looks and behaves like a regular file system folder, but one that’s connected to the cloud. We’ll talk more about the sync folder and accompanying features in the sync section below.

You can double-click the system tray icon to open the sync folder or right-click it to choose an option. The options include accessing the settings, browsing files, searching the cloud, manually starting sync and opening the web client.

filecloud-desktop-settings

The default tab of the settings windows is “home.” It shows the status of your active syncs, recent activity, errors and skipped files, as well as the size and amount of your synced and backed up data. 

We like the information the “home” tab supplies, but we wish it was in a less textual manner. This way, it feels a bit jumbled. There are also links in the “home” tab to open the sync folder, web app or file browser.

Other tabs let you browse the various activities in the log, tweak the settings and collect the data you need to supply to the technical support if you have an issue. 

filecloud-file-browser

Most desktop clients have a settings app, but few include a cloud file browser and a search app. The file browser looks even more dated than the settings app, though, but it’s useful if you want to download files to a folder other than the sync folder without logging in to the web client. Plus, you can lock, unlock, edit and share files.

The search app is a useful addition if you have a lot of files in your sync folder and you don’t want to use the web client to look through them. However, we tried several times to search for our uploaded files, but every time there was no result.

The overall design isn’t as modern or attractive as it could be, but the desktop app is easy to use. You don’t have to rely on it, though, because you can also use the web client to access and manage your files in the cloud.

filecloud-web-client

Its design has a bland and uninteresting color scheme, but from a functional perspective, it gets the job done. As the trend goes, you’ll use the left-side menu to navigate the app. The menu lets you access your shared files, favorites, search options, music player and settings. The top of the page holds the search bar and user options.

We tried searching for various files, but we successfully found a file only once, even though we searched for files that were present. All other instances either returned no files or the search just kept on going. The user options let you tweak the settings, show locked files and folders, access help and support, open the Facebook page and more.

filecloud-web-client-file-browser

The dashboard in the center pane shows your files and folders, shortcuts, activities and recent files. Although navigating through files and folders is intuitive, opening files requires that you select a file and perform an action. This is cumbersome, and it’s far more convenient to open files with a single click. 

The actions you can perform from the top include open, preview, share, download, rename, delete and more. We also like that you can perform them by right-clicking. 

FileCloud Advanced Navigation

Another plus is the right sidebar, which shows file details (including sharing, versions and comments), its activity and metadata. If you have a lot of files, you can sort through them using the filter items box.

You can upload files by dragging and dropping or clicking on the blue “upload” button. In addition, you can click the inconspicuous icon with a folder and a gear on the right to create a new folder, document and more. You can do the same if you click the empty space of the file browser. The web client is usable and will see you through, but it needs updating and fixing.

filecloud-mobile-client

If you’re on the move, the best way to access your storage is by using the mobile app. It shows your files folder, which can display the data in a grid or list view. You can make every folder available offline or download individual files. You can also share them or send them via any of the installed apps capable of doing so.

Plus, the app lets you scan a document, take a picture, write a note and upload general files, images and videos.

There’s also a “settings” option, which you can access by first going to “accounts” from the burger menu and tapping the gear icon. It’s a convoluted way to access the settings for the app. Overall, though, the mobile app works without a hitch.

User Management

80 % – Good

filecloud-admin-console

To manage your team, you need to access FileCloud using the admin account information that was provided to you via email.

filecloud-user-management

The left menu provides access to various features of the admin console, including the “users/groups.” We like how it has many individual entries, which means you won’t have to spend a lot of time searching for a feature.

The “users/group” section is divided between “users,” “groups” and “admins.” The “users” view lets you add new users, delete them and manage their policies. 

When you create a user, you can set authentication to “default” or make it use Active Directory or LDAP. Access level can be “full,” “guest” or “limited.” Creating a guest account is a great way of adding external collaborators without the need to use a license. You can also add users in bulk by importing a CSV file or a specific Active Directory group.

filecloud-user-policy

If you need to further tweak what users can do, you can modify the policy of each individual user. You can enable or disable sharing, set a storage quota, define a number of days after which to remove deleted files and require two-factor authentication. Plus, you can set mobile application policies, manage device configurations and tweak notifications.

There’s no way to set a user policy when creating a user. To do that, you have to click the “edit user” button, navigate to “manage policy” and choose a policy from there.

filecloud-add-admin

If you want to make a user an administrator, you can do so from the admin panel, which lets you define what the new admin can manage.

filecloud-groups

To make managing multiple users easier, FileCloud lets you create groups of users. To create a group, you just need to specify a group name. You set everything else by hitting the “edit group” button associated with the desired group. Although this allows you to create empty groups faster, we’d prefer an option to set everything while creating a group.

FileCloud Add Members

Once you click the “edit group” button, you can choose to add new members, set a group policy or change the group name. One quibble we have with setting a group policy is that you can’t create one from the “edit group” dialog. Instead, you have to navigate to the “settings” view and create one there. After you do, you can assign new users and groups to it.

There’s no way to assign predefined roles, but that shouldn’t be a big lack considering you can make your own, and with a good degree of customization.

filecloud-reports

From the “generate reports” view, you can choose to generate19 different reports. After you select one, you can specify parameters for it, but you need to do it using the cumbersome JSON format. If you don’t specify any parameters, the default will be used. 

Many of the reports failed to generate, showing the notification: “Report generation took too long to respond. Please try again later.” However, with repeated tries, most of them generated results.

Folder & File Sharing

95 % – Excellent

You can share files and folders using any of the three clients. We’re going to illustrate how sharing works using the web client. When you want to share a file or a folder, you generate a link pointing to it, which you can then tweak. The set of options you can manage is impressive.

filecloud-link-sharing

Unlike many other services, FileCloud lets you name the share URL so you don’t have to see those random numbers and letters in it. Next, you can choose to copy it or send it via email. Before you do that, though, you can change the share permissions and options. Share permissions let you allow everyone — or only selected groups or users — to access the share.

If you select “groups and users,” you need to add groups and users to give them access to the share. In that case, you can set the link to expire and enable email notifications if the file changes. If you allow everyone to access the share, you can restrict the number of downloads and protect the share with a password.

filecloud-folder-sharing

Sharing a folder works in the same way but lets you specify different options. If you allow everyone to access the share, you can give those who access the folder one of five available permissions: “view + download,” “view + download + upload,” “view + upload,” “view only” and “upload only.” 

Plus, you can specify an upload size limit and choose a file to be shown as a preview for the share. 

Sharing from the desktop is analogous to sharing from the web, while sharing from the mobile app has fewer options but still lets you create “public” or “private” shares that you can protect with a password or specify users and groups you want to share with.  

Sync

70 % – Decent

File synchronization — or “sync,” for short — is one of the most important features of an EFSS service because it lets you work on multiple devices without having to manage file transfers yourself. Plus, it enables you to collaborate with your teammates in almost real time.

filecloud-sync-folder

We mentioned before that installing the desktop client creates a sync folder that is connected to the cloud. Well, any folder or file that you place in it will be replicated to the cloud and all your other devices will be connected to it. The same goes for files you create in the cloud and other devices.

Using the sync folder is straightforward, but we wish files had status badges, which could let you, for example, know at a glance whether the file is still uploading. There’s a clunky workaround: right-click the system tray icon and select “show syncing status.” This will show a small window that tells you which files are syncing, but not the remaining time.

What’s more, we created a folder using the web client, but it didn’t show in the sync folder, even when executed the “sync now” option from the tray icon. What makes this behavior weird is that the folder is visible when you open the “file browser.”

FileCloud Sync Options

However, there are other useful sync options that work like they’re supposed to. First among them is “selective sync,” which enables you to choose the folders you want to sync. That can help you reduce the use of your hard drive space. 

If you find that sync takes too much of your system resources, you can increase the time between each sync. Plus, you can define active sync hours by selecting the start and end time in addition to the days. FileCloud also gives you the option to change the location of your sync folder. That’s a great addition and one that many other services don’t offer.

Besides the sync app, there’s also FileCloud Drive, which lets you preview and access your files from the cloud without downloading them to your hard drive. However, that means you won’t be able to access your files if you’re offline.

Its sync has problems. During our test, we created a folder using the web client, and it wasn’t synced even when we ran the “sync now” command. 

In addition, we tried to sync our test folder several times, but the sync app wouldn’t start to sync. We solved all of these issues by using the settings button to log out and reset, but relying on it to make the sync work is plain bad.

FileCloud uses the AWS global network of servers to store your files. Because of that, we anticipated great results in our test, but that wasn’t the case. We used a 1GB folder to test the upload speed, but the sync operation took almost 10 minutes more than we expected. Furthermore, the sync app started to upload the file again after the initial upload.

Besides sync, the desktop app can back up content to the cloud. We also appreciate the fact that FileCloud has a backup scheduler, even though it’s not a dedicated backup service. If you need a service primarily focused on backup, though, read our best online backup for small business article.

Productivity Tools

35 % – Terrible

Having a sizable library of native and third-party apps is essential for a great EFSS service because they can help you boost collaboration and productivity. However, FileCloud doesn’t offer one. What it does offer, however, is a Microsoft Office integration so you can preview and edit Office files. Note that you need an Office 365 subscription to edit those files.

There are integrations for Salesforce and SIEM, but they’re available only for the “enterprise” editions.

In addition, there’s a “Save to FileCloud” extension for Chrome and Firefox, but only the link for Chrome works. Similarly, the link for the Gmail add-on just shows you the top of the FileCloud download page. If you’re shopping for a service that has many integrations, you should give Egnyte Connect a try. You can learn more about it in our Egnyte Connect review.

Security

97 % – Excellent

Strong cloud security is important because cybercrime isn’t a rare occurrence. Additionally, ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated, according to the FBI. Ransomware works by encrypting your content and requiring you to pay a ransom to get your files back.

To prevent that, FileCloud uses a scanning engine that detects and blocks ransomware. Plus, you can use file versioning to revert your files to a previous state, not affected by ransomware. 

File versioning also helps you undo mistakes or accidental deletions. To make sure your files are clean, you can also instruct FileCloud to use ClamAV or ICAP antivirus software.

On that note, FileCloud uses AES 256-bit encryption to scramble your files. This ensures that only those who have your encryption key can read your content in the cloud. However, FileCloud manages your key if you choose to store files on its servers. 

If you self-host, you will be able to secure the master encryption key with your own password, which is a one-time password that FileCloud doesn’t store on its servers. This means you will enjoy the benefit of private encryption. 

FileCloud Encryption

You can enjoy the same private encryption when using FileCloud “online” by leveraging Amazon S3’s ability to encrypt files using a customer-provided key. Note that you will have to request that from FileCloud.

That said, strong encryption — be it private or otherwise — won’t help against weak passwords, which your users might create. To make sure they create strong passwords, you can set a custom password policy setting.

filecloud-password-policy

Using such a policy, you can choose to require a specific password length to make it stronger, set the passwords to expire after a period or lock out the account after a specific amount of time, after a number of failed attempts and more. 

Two-factor authentication is another feature that protects your user credentials. It works by requiring users to enter an additional security code they get via SMS when logging in from an unfamiliar device. You can enable it from the admin console using the global user policy.

FileCloud stores files on AWS servers with data center security that includes measures to prevent damage from natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and fires. Plus, Amazon uses surveillance, alarms, multi-factor access authentication and other security to prevent intrusions.

If one of your users loses a device or someone steals it, you can perform a remote wipe to delete the sensitive data you have on it and block it from accessing your cloud content. You can also define specific data-loss prevention rules, which can run when desired conditions are met.

To further manage your files, you can set a custom retention policy. Using it, you can specify that content needs to be stored for a specific duration before it can be accessed, deleted or archived.

Support

60 % – Fair

filecloud-support

If you encounter an issue, the quickest way to get help is to consult the support documentation, which is separated into categories to make it easy to find what you need. If that doesn’t help, you can use the search bar.

You can also select actions you need help with from a table split between FileCloud “server” and FileCloud “online,” and between administrators and users. 

The documents are easy to follow, containing plenty of screenshots annotated with arrows and numbers that correspond with steps in the solution. If you’re using FileCloud “server,” you can watch videos that help you get acquainted with the product faster. 

Plus, top-level and other categories steer you in the right direction by offering you links that correspond to action inside their scope.

Overall, the documentation is one of the best we’ve seen. However, if that doesn’t help, your options for contacting FileCloud are limited. In fact, the only support channel is email, which is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 

That said, if email support doesn’t help, there’s an option to schedule a remote session. We were assured of that by a technical support representative.

The Verdict

FileCloud is a good service. It could be much better, though, if it took care of some of the issues regarding user experience and sync. Plus, the addition of an app library would make it a viable choice for those who need to collaborate using the cloud. Its value also isn’t competitive mainly because its “online” plans provide just 1TB of cloud storage.

Sync also has some issues, although they weren’t constant. However, the desktop client has many sync options that we like and also lets you backup files. Sharing folders and files is easy, and it works on all clients and provides great content control options.

The security is excellent and is even better if you choose to store files on your local server. Because there are so many security features, the chances of you requiring something that’s not available are slim.

FileCloud is a mixed bag, to be sure, but one that just might fit your business needs. If you think that’s not the case, though, consult our EFSS reviews for alternative ideas. What do you think about FileCloud? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

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