Citrix ShareFile Review

Easy to use alternative to FTP with improved security, reporting and Outlook integration

What is our primary use case?

We use ShareFile to share groups of documents (typically architectural projects) with external consultants, clients, contractors, and other parties. When new files are added to a project folder in ShareFile, team members receive a notification of the new files being available. We also use the Outlook integration to enable the sending and receiving of very large files via e-mail. 

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to ShareFile, we had an FTP site, which was much more challenging to maintain and users had difficulty accessing and understanding the FTP process. Since there was no Outlook integration with FTP, large files had to be manually uploaded to the FTP site and then an e-mail had to be sent letting the intended recipient know that the files were available. ShareFile allows us to easily add new internal (licensed) and external (free) users and give them access to multiple project folders very quickly with a single login. Users can reset their own passwords. Project team members also receive notifications (configurable) when new files are added to the project folders. Admins of the project folders can optional be notified when files are downloaded.

What is most valuable?

Easy to use for all skill levels
No client required (web-based)
Optional clients (Win/Mac) for file synchronization
Integration with Outlook for sending large file attachments
Decent security model for internal employees and external users

Notification (configurable per user) when new files have been added to the site

Logs indicating when files are uploaded and downloaded

Simple account management
Ability to upload large files to specific employee with a simple URL that can be added to signature
No contract or long-term commitment required

What needs improvement?

Reporting features could be better

Support could be better; we don't usually need it but I have read a number of complaints from users with more complex implementations (API use, AD integration) that have had issues.

Web-interface has been altered over time to be more tablet friendly, which reduces the usability on large desktop monitors

More flexible interface options for desktop users

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The site has been unavailable periodically but that's been pretty rare. We have had some issues with the Outlook plug-in but it seems pretty stable overall.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did originally since there were storage limits based on the licensed user count. We never ran out of space but I had to manage storage much more closely. When we moved to the new pricing model (2015?), the storage allocation was increase dramatically and I haven't had to actively manage storage as a result.

How are customer service and technical support?

My interactions have gone fine with support in the few times that I've needed to work with them. I've heard some complaints from other customers (via the support portal) but it's been fine for us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used a pretty basic FTP site. It was very limited and users struggled with it. We also had some substantial storage limits.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was very easy as is creating and managing accounts within the system. ShareFile sends out an activation link to all new users and optionally can send a notification to existing users when they are given access to a new project folder. Installing the Outlook client is easy and simply requires logging into ShareFile the first time Outlook is launched with the client installed.

What about the implementation team?

We did all in-house implementation since it was so easy. I believe the sales person (or maybe a technical consultant) was assigned to me to verify that the process was on track but we didn't have any issues to speak of.

What was our ROI?

Since it's a monthly subscription with very little upfront cost, we saw a positive ROI immediately. For a few hundred dollars a month, my entire organization (42 users) can effectively share unlimited files with external partners. Since there is no additional cost for external users, we have hundreds of clients, consultants, etc, uploading and sharing files with our internal employees. With notifications enabled, people can know within minutes that a new file has been added to a project.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our pricing used to be based on user-count, bandwidth and storage. The pricing model has been greatly simplified (user-count, flat storage allocation, unlimited bandwidth) and much more storage (we're at 1TB) is now available. We actually saw a dramatic price decrease as the pricing model changed about two years into our usage. We do pay quarterly, which I think lowers the cost a bit. I think there is some room to negotiate with Citrix. There are some potentially useful add-ons (e.g., document signing) that we don't utilize that adds to the cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don't recall really looking at anything other than perhaps more robust FTP solutions and Sharepoint add-ons. ShareFile offered a turn-key solution that worked quickly and easily at a reasonable price so we didn't have to look far.

What other advice do I have?

There are now very few issues with anyone accessing the files they need to get access to. It is so much better than our previous FTP site. There are certainly some points for improvement but the people at ShareFile have been great.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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