Reviews

Citrix ShareFile, First Take: An enterprise-class managed file switch service

Cloud sync-and-share companies like Field, Dropbox and OneDrive are standard with customers for his or her comfort: you do not have to fret whether or not they have entry to the identical file share as you, or whether or not a big e mail attachment will bounce if you ship it to somebody you are collaborating with. Some IT departments stay reluctant, with considerations about safety and compliance, regardless of the admin controls in on-line companies. That is why Microsoft contains an on-premise model of OneDrive for Enterprise in SharePoint, for instance.

Citrix takes a unique method with ShareFile. Consider it as a managed file switch service that brings collectively cloud sharing and sync with mirroring of storage out of your servers and content material shops, with controls and monitoring instruments to watch what information are shared and who seems at them, with rights administration to manage what they’ll do. As an alternative of leaping from community shares straight to a cloud service, ShareFile enables you to combine a number of storage companies and add share and sync to them.

citrix-sharefile-dashboard2.jpg

ShareFile’s net dashboard.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

citrix-add-files-to-sf.jpgcitrix-add-files-to-sf.jpg

Decide the folders you wish to share, or use the ShareFile sync shopper to your system.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

Not like shopper storage companies that offer you no management over the place information are saved, ShareFile has totally different worldwide areas — enroll within the UK, for instance, and your paperwork will not be in a US cloud. In case you’re a worldwide enterprise, you may mix storage within the EU with US cloud storage for places of work in North America — and even on-premise storage that connects to ShareFile, with the information location dictated by your insurance policies. There are additionally totally different storage places for business and schooling prospects.

To connect with your personal storage repositories, you must set up the ShareFile storage zone software program on a system with an SSL public certificates and an web connection, behind a load balancer (there’s additionally an IIS extension). It isn’t an advanced set up, however it should actually take longer than merely signing up for a cloud service.

citrix-make-shared-folder.jpgcitrix-make-shared-folder.jpg

Create shared folders to which your group can add frequent information.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

citrix-add-users-to-share.jpgcitrix-add-users-to-share.jpg

Decide inner and exterior customers to share information with.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

The storage zone connector can discuss to SharePoint, community file shares and even some cloud companies together with Workplace 365, Field, Dropbox and Google Drive. That permits you to consolidate the storage you get with a number of companies right into a single interface, and use your commonplace auditing and information leak safety instruments (ShareFile integrates with Symantec, McAfee and Forcepoint DLP techniques). You need not change safety insurance policies; ShareFile impersonates customers on the community, so once more, no matter granular entry insurance policies you’ve and no matter logging you do will stick with it working. ShareFile additionally integrates with Lively Listing (and, in future Azure AD), each for person entry to information and folders, and to robotically populate e mail addresses for colleagues with whom you may share information.

On units, Mac and Home windows ShareFile software program enables you to sync all or a number of the folders you’ve in ShareFile to your laptop within the background, or entry information solely if you want them; it’s also possible to select to selectively sync folders that different individuals have shared with you — a function solely not too long ago added to OneDrive, for instance. Admin insurance policies can restrict what folders will be synced, or pre-populate folders to be synced — to ensure everybody within the finance division is getting up-to-date copies of key shared information, for instance.

citrix-feedback-approval-workflows.jpgcitrix-feedback-approval-workflows.jpg

ShareFile affords two easy however frequent workflows; gathering suggestions and getting a doc formally accepted.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

citrix-admin-device-security.jpgcitrix-admin-device-security.jpg

ShareFile admin settings to handle units and distant wipe.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

There’s additionally a Drive Mapper device that turns ShareFile right into a mapped drive in Home windows Explorer. That is significantly helpful in case you use XenDesktop and XenApp for digital desktops, since you get entry to your information as quickly as you log into your digital desktop, with out having to attend for something to sync. It additionally means information don’t get saved in pictures, or on the units used to entry digital desktops.

Like OneDrive, ShareFile additionally integrates with Outlook, as a result of e mail continues to be how many individuals wish to share information. You may insert hyperlinks to folders in addition to particular information (so you may inform your group the place to place the paperwork they’re engaged on, which avoids lots of work opening and resaving information), making ShareFile a helpful substitute for FTP. You may as well have native information you connect to e mail robotically shared through ShareFile on a regular basis, solely if you select to, or any time they’re over a sure measurement. Future variations will allow you to set particular guidelines for dealing with attachments (like shifting the information you ship to 1 individual to ShareFile, however not the pictures of receipts you ship to your accounts group).

citrix-admin-file-policy.jpgcitrix-admin-file-policy.jpg

Set a retention coverage on shared information or decide what doc viewers can be found.

Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

One helpful choice enables you to select what number of occasions somebody can obtain the file you ship them; it’s also possible to activate obtain receipts. Not like learn receipts, which Outlook enables you to block, obtain receipts come from ShareFile and allow you to observe whether or not individuals have truly obtained the doc you shared. (Citrix can be engaged on a model of the Outlook plugin that may work with Trade immediately, so you need to use it within the Outlook net interface.)

Admins may set insurance policies, like forcing all attachments going outdoors the corporate area to be robotically placed on ShareFile. The built-in rights administration enables you to create insurance policies like how lengthy information will be obtainable for, and whether or not they are often downloaded or solely considered on-line. Nonetheless, rights-managed paperwork can solely be learn in a ShareFile viewer app that it’s a must to obtain, not in Workplace (as a result of ShareFile makes use of Seclore’s rights administration reasonably than the Azure service).

There is a net interface that provides you a dashboard for sharing information and monitoring what you’ve got already shared. Firms can model this with their very own brand, to remind customers it is a work platform (utilizing the separate admin net portal for configuring the service). In case you do not wish to obtain a file simply to view it, otherwise you’re utilizing a borrowed or unmanaged system the place you do not wish to depart a duplicate of a delicate doc, the web site has content material viewers for an affordable vary of file varieties. For Workplace paperwork, it makes use of Microsoft’s Workplace On-line editors, so you may see Phrase, Excel and PowerPoint information in (virtually) full constancy.

You may as well depart feedback on paperwork through the online interface, however annoyingly these are solely seen within the net interface — they don’t seem to be feedback within the doc, so if some colleagues depart feedback in ShareFile and others open and edit the doc, you may’t cope with all of the options and modifications in the identical place.

You may carry out different duties within the net interface, like filling in a kind or sending it to another person to be signed utilizing the RightSignature service, so long as you’ve the doc rights to do this. These rights will be linked to the place the doc is saved, if you wish to be sure that signed contracts keep in a selected storage repository. This allows you to add an approval workflow to your paperwork, getting feedback and signatures from a series of individuals earlier than releasing the doc for instance. RightSignature has set of instruments, however as a latest Citrix acquisition the interface could be very totally different from ShareFile.

ShareFile has good cellular assist, with apps for Home windows Cellphone eight.1, Home windows 10 Cellular and BlackBerry in addition to the same old iOS and Android. It makes use of platform options like Home windows Whats up, Continuum, Home windows Data Safety (encryption containers) and MDM choices, in addition to Apple’s encryption on iOS. On Android, Citrix has added its personal safety reasonably than counting on the platform: you may edit information contained in the ShareFile cellular apps, which suggests the paperwork keep contained in the encrypted ShareFile container.

In case you lose a tool, each the person and admin can ship a distant wipe command to the app — on each cellular system and PCs, though Citrix notes that is extra dependable on cellular units, so you may wish to use full drive encryption on PCs if delicate paperwork are being shared.

Admins get set of reporting instruments masking account exercise utilization, folder entry, storage and bandwidth. You may as well construct instruments for provisioning and deprovisioning ShareFile customers.

ShareFile combines a lot of the benefits of cloud storage, FTP and inner doc repositories. It does not have all of the options of any of them (you aren’t getting the combination of Workplace 365 or as many file viewers as Field, you may’t have a password-free add space for purchasers, or the file check-in and checkout choices of SharePoint, for instance), however many companies may even see that as eradicating complexity. ShareFile is especially effectively suited to companies that must consolidate totally different storage choices. There are a number of totally different service tiers, so ensure you select the one with the options you want.

Learn extra evaluations

About the author

GN