An service that's as much a task management app as an EFSS provider, Huddle will likely win loyal fans with some, while turning others away just as quickly. Read our full Huddle review for the details.
Huddle is an interesting London-based service, aimed at document collaboration and management. It will be best suited for large companies that don’t mind paying a lot for an excellent collaboration tool. Although it’s similar to our best EFSS services, Huddle isn’t a true EFSS, so make sure to keep that in mind throughout the review.
If you think that, because of this, it might not be the best tool for you, consider using an EFSS service or one of the services on our best cloud storage for teams roundup.
That said, Huddle isn’t without its strengths. It combines content storage with file and task management capabilities, which will appeal to businesses that want to simplify and improve how their teams work on projects.
It also has a good user experience, capable file and folder sharing, native productivity tools and Microsoft Office integration. In addition, its excellent support will help if you encounter a problem.
However, there are downsides, including a hefty price tag, limited sync capability and few user management capabilities. If these don’t seem like major setbacks for you, read on as we go into details about Huddle in the categories below.
- Great support
- Strong security
- Native project & file management features
- Good user experience
- File streaming to desktop
- Limited sync
- Few user management features
- No library of third-party app integrations
- Dropbox Business
- Shared Folders
- Google Docs Integration
- Visit Dropbox BusinessDropbox Business Review
Huddle doesn’t have the best prices on the market. In fact, it doesn’t come close to the best-valued services. However, there are two plans that make up for their high price by offering free external user licenses. Plus, if you’re a larger business, the most expensive plan might be the right fit, which gives you more bang for your buck.
Huddle’s prices start at $10 per month per user, and they depend on how your company size. On offer are four plans: Huddle Starter, Huddle Huddle, Huddle Plus and Huddle Premier.
The Huddle Starter plan begins at $180 per month per user, providing only 100GB of storage and the option to create 100 workplaces. It can accommodate from 10 to 99 employees and caps the maximum file size at 2GB.
For more storage space, larger file size and other features, you can subscribe to the Huddle Huddle plan. With it, you get 500GB of storage, a 20GB maximum file size, 500 team workspaces and free external user licenses totaling up to three times the number of your employees. It requires a minimum of 15 users and is $240 per month per user.
The Huddle Plus plan increases the storage space to 1TB, and it provides unlimited workspaces and free external user licenses totaling up to five times the number of your users. For that, you will have to part with $360 per month per user.
If your needs run even higher, you can subscribe to the Huddle Premier plan. It requires a minimum of 100 users, provides unlimited storage space, unlimited workspaces and unlimited external user licenses. However, unlike with the previous two plans, you have to pay to add external users. That said, you will have to contact Huddle to get a price estimate for this plan.
All of the plans feature a discount the more employees you have, so it might pay off to aim for the maximum number of users that you might need. Also, the plans have more features, which you can review on this page.
These prices are steep, to say the least. You get more by leveraging the free external licenses you get with the Huddle Huddle and Huddle Plus plans.
If you think that doesn’t make it much better or that you won’t be able to get your money’s worth, consider using OneDrive for Business. It’s cheaper, provides separate space for each user, integrates with other Microsoft apps and has many other upsides, which you can read about in our OneDrive for Business review.
Huddle does a good job of providing an enjoyable user experience across desktop, web and mobile clients. The interfaces are clear and attractive, so you’ll know what to do next.
Huddle isn’t a pure EFSS solution, but it provides all the necessary clients like those solutions. However, the desktop client doesn’t follow the standard model of sync, which contains a sync folder and a system tray icon. The icon is present, but the sync folder isn’t. Instead, the desktop client shows your file in a proper window.
We find this to be a somewhat slower solution than using your file explorer to go through files. That said, the desktop client shows your most recent files, which makes it easier to access them. You can also bookmark files for faster access. If you can’t find your files by yourself, you can rely on the search feature, which looks for files as soon as you start typing.
Similarly, uploading files requires that you pick and choose files instead of dragging and dropping them, like you can with regular sync folders. If you want that, though, you can open the web client by using a link in the desktop client.
The web client makes it easy to upload files because you can just drag and drop anywhere. That might not sound like a big deal, but many services require you to target a specific area or window. For those who want such an approach, Huddle offers it, too. Plus, you can upload a folder.
After you upload your files, Huddle shows them in a central pane in list or grid views. The left sidebar lets you navigate the app, while the top bar lets you access your recent files, bookmarks and search for files. The right sidebar enables you to perform actions on the current folder and create new files and folders.
You can perform file actions by right-clicking them, clicking the three dots associated with a file or selecting multiple files and performing an action from the right sidebar.
The web client is clear, slick, attractive and uses plenty of negative space. Thanks to that, you won’t be at a loss about what to do.
If you’re on the go, you can use the mobile app to access your files, upload them or create a new folder, but not create files. That diminishes its usefulness, so you will have to use the web client when you’re not on your desktop to create files.
That said, the app lets you see your recent files, workspace activities and tasks assigned to you. In addition, you can search for files, view notifications and access your bookmarks. The app is clear and easy to use.
Huddle doesn’t have strong user management capabilities because its missing key components, such as assigning different roles to users, managing user permissions on a user level and generating reports. Still, there are some features, which we detail below.
Like with EFSS services, you need to invite users to join you to be able to manage them. Huddle has a simple interface to invite people. After they accept your invite, they’ll be part of your team.
You can invite users to many teams at the same time, but you can’t set any of their permissions. To do that, you need to click the “settings” button in the left sidebar and then “users” tab. Then, you’ll be able to modify which teams the users are in, make them managers and remove them from the workspace.
In addition, you can tweak user privileges, which control what the users can do at the workspace level. Those privileges include folder creation, public link creation by editors and enabling Office online, emoticons and Word comparison.
Compared to EFSS solutions, though, Huddle’s user management leaves a lot to be desired. The “manager” role is the only one you can assign, you can’t manage permissions on a per-user basis and there are no reports that you can generate to get an overview of what your users are doing. For that, you will have to rely on the activity feed, but that’s a weak substitute.
If you need more advanced user management options, considering giving Citrix ShareFile a try. You can learn more about it in our Citrix ShareFile review.
Huddle provides a simple share feature, which does the job but doesn’t allow you to apply content control options to your shares. However, you can specify which teams can access your shared folders by assigning one of several permissions.
Huddle let’s you share files and folders using the web or the mobile clients. The easiest way to do this is to right-click a file or folder and select “share.” In both cases, that opens up a window, which lets you add the users you want to share your content with.
It’s easy to add users because you only need to click a user from the list. Plus, you can find the users quickly by typing their name in the search bar. You can also add a message that goes with the share. Once you’re finished, you can click “share.”
There’s no way to specify permissions for the share on an individual level. That’s logical, considering that Huddle revolves around teams of users, but it would be a useful add-on when you want to share files with users that don’t have the same privileges as their team.
There’s also no way to secure files when sharing to outside users, but Huddle separates users into dedicated “workspaces” you need to invite users to. That helps maintain security and control over who can see and edit files, which makes classic content controls options not as necessary.
In addition, a workspace lets you invite external collaborators. We’ll talk more about workspaces in the “productivity tools” section below.
You can, however, specify team access for specific folders. If you do, you can set one of several permissions for teams of users:
- No access: cannot see or access a folder and its subfolders
- Viewer (online only): can view content only in Huddle and can’t download, copy or move content
- Viewer: can view, download and open content in apps in addition to Huddle
- Editor: can view, download, add and update content in other applications
If you want to get a share from others, you can do it by creating a file request. To do that, you need to specify which files you want, where they should go, who needs to provide the files and how long the files should be available. It’s a useful and more advanced feature compared to standard file requests.
The mobile app doesn’t enable you to tweak the folder access settings, but you can use it to share files. You’ll need to open a file, tap the arrow button and select the people you want to share it with.
If you need a more comprehensive solution for sharing, we recommend FileCloud. It lets you secure your shares using content control options and enables you to share from the desktop. If you want to know more about its sharing and other features, read our FileCloud review.
Huddle doesn’t use the classic model of sync, and the desktop client has issues uploading zipped files. There’s also no way to drag and drop your files, so you’ll have to manually pick and choose them.
Because Huddle doesn’t use a sync folder, you won’t be able to choose which files or folders to sync to the cloud. In fact, Huddle works like a network drive, in the sense that it streams content to your computer once you request to open it. That helps you save space, but it also doesn’t let you work on your files while you’re offline.
Because you can’t simply drag and drop files, you need to open the desktop client and click the small upload icon near the top. That opens up a dialogue, which lets you choose the files you want to upload. To test how sync works and how fast it upload files, we selected our 1GB zipped folder to save to the cloud.
However, Huddle wasn’t able to upload it without a hitch, and we got a message saying “something went wrong.” Still, we uploaded other files without any problems.
Once you sync files with your desktop, you can open them in “read-only” and “edit and lock” modes. File editing will be fast thanks to the use of a block-level sync algorithm. This reduces the time it takes to upload files because it uploads only the changed portions of the file, rather than the entire file.
Huddle doesn’t provide a library of productivity apps like EFSS services do, but it does integrate with Office Online and its desktop counterpart. Note that you need an active Office 365 license to use either. Plus, you can create workspaces around specific teams, which helps you be more organized and productive.
In addition, Huddle provides native task management capabilities. It’s easy to create a task and tweak it to your liking. First, you need to navigate to the “tasks” page from the left sidebar in the web client. Next, you can name the task, give it a status, assign it to a person and provide start and end dates.
After you create tasks, they’re shown in a list, which you can filter by the person they’re assigned to, their status and due date. If you have many tasks and you need to export them, you can do that by creating a CSV with them. Plus, when you’re dealing with a lot of tasks, it’s easy to lose track of who did what, so Huddle provides an audit trail, which details task actions.
If you’re an enterprise owner and would like to compare Huddle’s task management options to a different solution, check out our best project management software article.
Huddle also provides the ability to create and manage notes, similar to the best note-taking apps. The note editor doesn’t provide many options, but the other actions you can perform include creating tasks connected to the note, adding comments, managing versions and previewing activities on the note.
Plus, you can add approval, lock it to prevent editing and get a shareable link. All the mentioned actions are available for other files, too.
All these actions and features are nested in a logical space that Huddle calls a “workspace.” You can create workspaces centered around teams, project or clients. You have access to one workspace at a time, but you can easily switch between workspaces that you’re a part of or create new ones.
Workspaces also let you to safely interact with clients who are outside your organization, without having to manage permissions and access rights.
Huddle’s cloud security is strong thanks to it having solid encryption, transit protocol and hardened data centers. This, plus its two-factor authentication, will help you not become a victim of cybercrime.
Huddle uses AES 128-bit or 256-bit encryption — depending on the browser — with the TLS protocol to protect your files in transit to its data centers and AES 256-bit to protect them at rest.
Private encryption isn’t available, but if you want it, you should consider giving Egnyte Connect a try. You can learn more about its security features in our Egnyte Connect review.
Huddle’s data centers are located in the U.S., Europe and the UK, so you can choose the region where you want to store your data. Depending on which area you choose, different cloud laws and regulations will apply. However, the data centers are ISO 27001 certified, which means they provide adequate information security.
In addition, the data centers have SAS 70 Type II and SSAE 16 accreditations. They also have 24/7 surveillance, onsite security personnel, biometric scanners and a passcard system that restricts movement within the data center.
Data center security and encryption won’t protect you if someone steals your credentials, though. To prevent that, you should have a strong password, instead of a weak one. Unfortunately, Huddle doesn’t help you with this, because it doesn’t allow you to set custom password requirements.
You can, however, enable two-factor authentication, which protects your account by requiring users to enter a security code when logging in from an unfamiliar device. Huddle also provides single sign-on, which enables you log in to Huddle using the same credentials you use to log in to your other business systems.
If someone steals a device from one of your users, you can remove the user from the workspace to disable any future file syncs from happening. That won’t remove the files that are already synced to that device, but a remote wipe will, and Huddle enables you to perform it.
Huddle’s knowledgebase is open to all customers, while chat, telephone and around-the-clock support is only available to subscribers of the Huddle Plus and Huddle Premier plans. You can also submit an email request and get help that way. We got a response in short order, which is a great result.
You can open the knowledgebase from the web client by clicking the account icon in the top-right corner. You can search the knowledgebase for the articles you need or browse it by category.
The articles are concise, easy to follow and have plenty of screenshots to help you along. The knowledgebase also lets you sign up for training, which essentially means you can download recordings of on-demand training sessions. Still, having videos is a great way to teach users.
If you can’t find an answer, you can submit a help request. We did so at 12:40 a.m. and got an answer in about an hour, which is an excellent response time. There’s no way to pool answers from many users because there are no community forums.
Huddle is a checkered service. It has many strengths, including a good user experience, native productivity tools, strong security and excellent support. However, it also has several weaknesses, such as expensive plans, limited sync and few user management capabilities. Making advances in these areas would make it a more enticing service.
However, companies that don’t mind meeting its price and that require management capabilities, along with content storage, will find Huddle to be a capable solution. Those who need file sync and share capabilities should look elsewhere.
What do you think about Huddle? Does it provide what you need, or do you have another service that matches your business case? Tell us in the comments below. Thank you for reading.