Bravo Quick Ref: File Transfer

by  Sam C. Chan

May 23, 2006

For many years, we've advising clients that email is not the proper method for any major file transfer. It's only an adequate last resort for occasional small document transfer with the general public. Here is a comprehensive list of alternatives:

Suitable for General Public In-house/Partners-only
  • Blind Dropbox (preferred)
  • Blind Pickup Counter (preferred)
  • FTP
  • Web host (manual upload, send links)
  • File upload sites (control/privacy issues!)
  • Email attachments (last resort)
  • SSL VPN File Manager
  • SSFT (simple socket file transfer)
  • AIM/MSN/Yahoo
  • Replicate/sync programs
  • Remote programs: PCA/VNC
  • TS-client mapped drives

Some of the technical issues to consider when comparing different methods:

install client
initiate action
support UNC
support DNS
support encryption
NAT address/port forward
firewall issues (perimeter and host)
progress feedback: indicator, stats, eta
suitable for general public (many-many, many-one)
error checking
max file size
storage quotas
transmission quota

Dropbox Advantages:
easy user interface, user doesn't need ftp
no need to setup ftp account access for users
users cannot see files submitted by others
users cannot see files intended for others to download
once submitted, file cannot be deleted by users
easy admin interface, file management
note attached w/ each submitted file
upload to multiple directory

See also:

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