FilesAnywhere is a solid EFSS provider that doesn't quite offer what its better predecessors do. While it gets its sharing and syncing right, its pricing could be a little kinder and its interface could be cleared up. Read our full FilesAnywhere review for the details.
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FilesAnywhere is a product of Dallas software design and consulting firm Officeware Systems and one of the first cloud-based services, debuting in 1999. It targets businesses, so it fits best in our enterprise file sync and share category. In this FilesAnywhere review, we’re going to take a look at its attempt to make the best EFSS providers list.
FilesAnywhere is not the cheapest service, so if you’re looking for good value, read our best deals in cloud storage piece. It is good for teams, but if you need the best solution for teamwork, we’ve got that covered in our best cloud storage for teams article.
The service does many things right, including sharing, security and sync, but could update its pricing scheme to be more competitive, expand the features of its lite interface to match the legacy one and add a task management app.
In the rest of this article, we’re going to discuss its features in detail and tell you how they stack up.
- Shared Folders
- Google Docs Integration
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- IBM Connections
- Shared Folders
- Google Docs Integration
- Visit IBM ConnectionsIBM Connections Review
- Great for sharing
- Integrates with Office Online & Google
- Strong security
- Good user management
- No block-level sync
- No zero-knowledge add-on
- Clunky web interface
The most important features of EFSS services are sync and share. There are many others, though, and the table in this section will provide you an easy way to see what FilesAnywhere offers. The quantity and usefulness of features that separate standard service from exceptional are important, too.
History is one such feature. It lets you view the activities of your files and folders, such as checked out files, file history and link tracking, which can filter entries by “approved,” “checked,” “copy,” “move,” and check-in and check-out history.
Another one is called “workflow.” It lets you create different, well, workflows, which simplify business processes that consist of many tasks and pass through several stages. When creating one, you can define custom fields, rules, notifications and time-based triggers for each step of the process.
You can then email the workflow as a link to others.
The CoolBackup feature lets you use FilesAnywhere as a backup service, which isn’t common among cloud storage providers. If you need backup, consult our best online backup services list. CoolBackup can do full computer backups automatically or on a set schedule. If you need an alternative service that can do both, read our Google Drive review.
Other features include converting docs and images to PDF, full-text search and virtual folders. They let you organize your files without having to change your underlying folder structure. You can create a folder and link to documents that are in separate folders and share it. Virtual folders can even contain other virtual folders, so you can be Inception-like.
FilesAnywhere is aimed at businesses and offers three plans: Business Starter, Professional and Enterprise. Plans charge per user and by the amount of storage you use, which enables you to tailor them to your business.
1-year plan $ 4.49/ month
$53.88 billed every year
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1-year plan $ 3.75/ month
$44.96 billed every year
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Business Starter requires one to five users and charges $5 per user, which makes it a good choice for small businesses. It starts at 100GB and goes to 1TB. It isn’t a good value, though, because it charges $144.95 a month for 1TB shared between five users. It includes automated backup, electronic faxing and more.
Professional extends the list of features with what other services make available on all their plans. That includes SSL, at-rest encryption and a cloud-sync desktop app. It adds other features, too, such as the Outlook extension, user management and full-text search. It requires a minimum of five users and supports up to 100.
The plan starts at 2TB and ends at 5TB and charges $10 per user. At $49.95 for 2TB for five users, it is a much better option than Business Starter, but it still can’t match competitors that provide more storage cheaper. To learn more about them, read our OneDrive for Business review and Egnyte Connect review.
The Enterprise plan lets you have 50 or more users with unlimited storage. You can also use single sign-on, receive notifications, create customized reports and enjoy VIP support. You’ll have to call FilesAnywhere to get an estimate for it, though, but keep in mind that enterprise plans aren’t cheap.
Read the full list of features the plans offer here.
You can upload and access your content with FilesAnywhere using a desktop client, browser or mobile application.
The desktop client is available for Windows, though, strangely, the website only lists downloads for Windows 7. It works on Windows 10, too, but not on macOS or Linux. If you need Linux support, read our best cloud storage for Linux piece. For a good example of an enjoyable user experience, check out our Dropbox review.
The desktop client doesn’t have many options, but it’s not complex or difficult to use, either. You just need to log in to your account, set up your sync folder location and tweak a few settings. You can force syncing of files and folders and select which ones you want to sync using selective sync.
The big “on/off” switch lets you toggle sync on or off.
A mobile app is available for iOS, but not for Android through the Google Play Store. You can download an APK from third-party websites, though. The app lets you upload and download content. You can also view it using photo and document viewers. You can stream video and audio files, too.
The interface is clean, intuitive and easy to use.
There are two web apps: the older app and the newer one called Lite. The older solution feels outdated and clunky. You need to do more than necessary to complete some operations and they don’t feel intuitive. Drag-and-drop is available, but where you drop is not as clear as it could be.
Executing some functions was slow, too. That said, it’s powerful and has many features. They include converting video to .mp4 and images and docs to PDF, file preview, file history log and grouping files by properties.
There are several view modes, including list, tree and chart. You can refine search queries for files and folders by file name and type, comment, date and size. There’s a bar that shows your storage use but you need to refresh it manually.
The new version, Lite, takes care of most of those problems as it has a clear layout, is more intuitive and faster, but it’s still a work in progress. Most notably, it doesn’t have all the features in the old one and doesn’t improve on the clunky ones, such as drag-and-drop and file preview, which doesn’t have as many features in the new interface.
One of the added features that is handy is the activity log, which shows your activity through time.
You need to log in to a separate app called Admin Console to manage users. You can add new users, admins, groups or a whole division. There are many adjustable settings for basic users, including division and group affiliation, storage space and remote access with FTP and WebDAV.
When you add an admin, you can choose to set permissions to “read only,” “super admin” or “custom,” which lets you tweak permissions. Creating a group lets you add multiple users easily. Divisions act as virtual containers for groups and users. You can set how much space and how many users a division can have while making it.
The admin panel lets you create report notifications, add custom logos and themes, as well.
Folder and file sharing features are standard for EFSS services, but they’re not all equal. FilesAnywhere has features that we like to see when sharing, as well as some that are not common. In fact, it’s cut from the same cloth as the best cloud storage services for sharing.
We’re going to describe the old interface because it has more options for sharing. You can share a file or folder by right-clicking it. The dialog that opens allows you to add more items to share, which makes it easy to do so in bulk.
You can add password protection and an expiry period that can be set for anywhere from 24 hours to one year after creation. Another option is to set them to never expire. You can allow downloads and limit them to a specific number between one and 20. If you don’t allow downloads, you can set permissions to view only.
When sharing, you can hide information about you and get notified when the link is accessed for the first time, get notified by email when your content is downloaded or record each download in the history log. The “user view settings” tab lets you choose which view to show and which language to use when displaying the share.
Advanced options enable you to edit the title of the share page, add a custom message, add a checkbox for approval and more. You can generate the link or send it via email and include a personal message. When you generate a shared link, you can preview it as others would see it.
You can create upload links, too. FilesAnywhere calls them “FileReceive” and they have the same permission settings as share links. If you want to share to a group of users, you can create a “GroupShare” and set permissions. They include “full access,” “read-only,” “upload only” and more.
There are more options, such as Esend, which lets you send files directly to another user; “send local files,” which lets you upload and share files; and creating a picture link. The “share” tab lets you do all that, too, and acts as a control center for sharing. In it, you can use the “file share links” option to audit your shared links and lock or unlock them.
When you download and install the CloudSync client, you get a sync folder that looks like an ordinary folder in your files manager app, except that it has a symbol in the lower left. That indicates whether it’s synced with the web or not. Anything that you drag into the folder will be synced to the cloud.
It took around 27 minutes on average to upload a 1GB zipped test folder. Our connection was over Ethernet with a speed of 6 megabits per second upload and 102 Mbps download out of Belgrade, Serbia.
Considering that FilesAnywhere’s servers are in the U.S., you can expect to reach faster speeds the closer you are to them. Still, this speed is close to the theoretical time it takes to transfer a 1GB folder.
Speed is more of a factor when collaborating on files that have already been uploaded. Rather than uploading an entire file again after you modify it, a block-level sync algorithm can transfer just the changed part, which reduces upload time significantly.
We know that FilesAnywhere doesn’t have it because the small changes — a couple of megabytes worth — took more time than they should have during sync.
FilesAnywhere doesn’t have native productivity tools. Instead, it relies on a set of service plugins, which include document editors such as Google’s office suite, Office Online and Zoho. Plus, it integrates with Photo Editor by Aviary, which enables you to edit photos from your account. You can use that to resize, rotate, adjust contrast, remove red eye and more.
You can also use Adobe Sign for e-signatures, a fax service to send faxes, Autodesk engineering viewer to look at engineering drawings, a Twitter plugin to backup your tweets with your FilesAnywhere storage and a WordPress plugin to post directly to the content management system. An Outlook extension lets you send files directly from your Outlook client, too.
A full library of third-party apps like the ones Google Drive and Dropbox have is missing, though. The same goes for a task management app. If you need one, Trello can help. If you’re unfamiliar with it, read our Trello beginners guide. There isn’t a note-taking app, either, but you can choose one from our list of the best note-taking apps.
If you store important files in the cloud, online security is a big deal. The best protections against hackers stealing your password, man-in-the-middle-attacks and ransomware are at-rest and in-transit encryptions and good data center security.
FileAnywhere’s data centers are McAfee Secure tested and SOC-2 compliant, which means they adhere to five principles for handling customers’ data: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy.
The centers have fire suppression systems, automated security monitoring around the clock, infrastructure teams that work on site, hard drive arrays running RAID and daily vulnerability assessments.
The service uses AES 256-bit with SSL to protect your content in-transit. The same level of encryption will scramble your data at-rest, but only if you are a Professional or Enterprise subscriber.
Like many other EFSS solutions, it doesn’t use private, end-to-end encryption, which makes your files unreadable to anyone besides you. It doesn’t integrate with Boxcryptor, either, so you can’t use that to get it. FilesAnywhere takes a snapshot of every account daily. It stores it for 30 days and lets you use it if you’re hit with ransomware.
Encryption won’t help if you have a weak password. Fortunately, you can set minimum strength requirements and lengths for passwords in the Admin Console. Plus, you can set how often passwords expire, the number of failed attempts allowed before account lockout, prevent reuse of old passwords and enable the password recovery option.
You can enable two-factor authentication to help protect your users’ credentials, too. When it’s turned on, users will have to enter an additional code they receive via email, SMS or phone call to log in. Additional features include filtering access by IP address and restricting logins per day.
If you use Professional or Enterprise, you also get single sign-on to better manage user passwords and enable users to log in to multiple platforms with the same credentials.
FilesAnywhere restricts access to your files to a select few technicians who can’t get to them if they aren’t required by law. Still, the privacy of your files isn’t guaranteed, as it is with Sync.com, one of the best zero-knowledge services.
There isn’t a user forum to support you, but the service provides a knowledgebase, which it says you can access 24/7. We feel that around-the-clock access to help tips and an FAQ isn’t worth bragging about. What would be is 24/7 phone support, but it is only available 12 hours a day.
You can send an email via the submit request form. Our experiences varied, though. We asked a series of questions over several days. The first two were answered quickly, while the last two were still in progress a day later. Presumably, if you’re an Enterprise user, you can avoid that by using the VIP support, which has a priority line available.
We’re impressed with FilesAnywhere’s sharing options, as they include many features other services don’t. We can say the same about its Admin Console, which lets you tweak security in a variety of ways. Virtual folders give you a lot of flexibility when browsing your content and sharing it, too.
Still, FilesAnywhere varies in quality. There are strong security, sharing and sync capabilities coupled with low-value prices and an interface that’s rich in features but in need of an upgrade. The service is powerful, if still a couple of improvements away from being competitive with the best EFSS providers.
What do you think of FilesAnywhere? Which EFSS service do you use? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.