The ShareFile client portal makes it easy to share files securely with clients. On the flip side, it's pricey and it may not work well with your filing system. Is there an alternative? What specific features should you be looking for? Is there a best all-around option for most offices? Absolutely, and that option is FileCenter's Client Portal.
In this article, we'll walk you through some of the key features and considerations and show you why we recommend the FileCenter Client Portal.
ShareFile Alternative and Replacement Summary
- What is client portal software?
- Your ShareFile replacement needs to emphasize security.
- Look for a ShareFile alternative that works tightly with your local document management software.
- How does sharing files work? How does my client receive them?
- Is emailing files a viable alternative to ShareFile?
- Jump to our recommendation »
What is Client Portal Software?
We hear a lot of buzz about "The Cloud" these days and, as part of that, the growing idea of client portal software like ShareFile. The terms are vague but the concepts themselves are actually pretty easy to grasp. You decide to share a document electronically with your client, but you don't want anybody but your client to have access to it. So you upload the document to the Cloud – in other words, to a secure, intermediary server out on the Web. Your client can then pull the document down from that server whenever it's convenient for them. It's almost like escrow for files.
Your ShareFile Replacement Needs to Emphasize Security
When you're shopping for a replacement for the ShareFile portal, keep one critical word in mind: encryption.
You've got documents leaving the security of your local network to take a trip across public space – out to the cloud then eventually back down to your client's machine. As a result, you must be absolutely certain that the document is encrypted for every single leg of the journey. Here's what we mean:
Most client portal alternatives will tout the encryption and security levels of their server. But, at the end of the day, that's the least likely point of breach. Any hacker, like the highway robbers of the past, knows that the most vulnerable place to pick off a document is on the road to the server. So check carefully to be sure that the replacement you choose for ShareFile encrypts documents before they leave your computer and doesn't decrypt them until they safely arrive at your client's machine.
In the case of the FileCenter Client Portal, the entire journey takes place in a virtual armored truck. Your files get encrypted before the journey, remain encrypted as they sit on some of the most robust cloud servers in the world, and travel encrypted to your client. Any attempt to intercept them along the way will be useless.
Look for a ShareFile Alternative That Works Tightly with Your Local Document Management Software
Here is what your ideal replacement for ShareFile would look like:
It would have two components. First, a document management system to help you get your office organized. This piece assists you in organizing your company's own files: sharing files among your staff on the network, scanning documents, working with PDFs, etc. It's really the backbone of a thriving company.
Second, this document management system features a tightly-integrated client portal. The client portal is a way of securely sharing only very specific documents with your clients. These documents get uploaded to the Cloud where your clients can access them without gaining access to your whole document repository. Think of the client portal as an island halfway between your shores and your client's shores. You can place documents there for your clients to access and they can optionally send documents there for you. But neither party needs full access to the other's shores.
The FileCenter document management system has become a top pick for offices of all sizes, but particularly small to medium-sized offices that need a robust system that's easy to deploy and easy to maintain without sacrificing features. The FileCenter Client Portal integrates tightly with FileCenter to make sure that sharing documents with your clients is as effortless as staying organized yourself.
How Does Sharing Files Work? How Does My Client Receive Them?
A good replacement for ShareFile will do all of the work for you, especially if it's closely integrated with a good document management program. Taking FileCenter and the FileCenter Client Portal as an example, you simply open FileCenter to the documents you wish to share and click a button to copy them into the Client Portal. Select your client as the recipient or enter the email address of a different recipient, and you're done.
Your client will get an email message notifying them that they have a file waiting for them. The email message includes a link your client can use to download the file. That's it.
If you'd like to add an extra level of security, you can require a password to access the file. This will prevent unauthorized eyes from seeing the document, like in the case where you mis-type an email address (see below).
Is Emailing Files a Viable Alternative to ShareFile?
There's a temptation to revert to using email to share files with clients. It's fast, it's easy, and it's free. But does this really make a viable alternative to ShareFile? Three things to consider:
First, security. Thanks to the Internet, any computer in the world can potentially pry into an email. Why? Because email messages aren't encrypted and they fly through public channels. So any greasy-haired geek can effortlessly tap into your email messages and never be detected. That's why banks don't email sensitive documents. And that's why financial institutions and health care providers have already shifted to using client portal software.
Second, misdirection. This very morning, I received closing documents for a townhome in Colorado Springs and, while I didn't look, I'm sure they contain all kinds of financial info for a couple I've never met, but whose email address is probably just one or two characters away from mine. Right below that email, I got a construction quote from a gentleman in Mexico who, to this day, and despite a dozen emails from me, thinks that my email address belongs to his partner Jiminez. The moral: if you're thinking of sharing documents via email, you'd better be very sure where they're going.
Third, the ability to withdraw a document. Let's take up the prior example. The senders have no way to get those documents back from me. With a good ShareFile client portal software alternative, on the other hand, they could simply revoke my access to the documents. One click, problem solved.
Why We Recommend the FileCenter ShareFile Alternative and Replacement
The FileCenter Client Portal is available as a stand-alone application or you can use it within the FileCenter file organization software. The FileCenter Client Portal makes it easy for you to manage all aspects of your file sharing. With generous storage space and no limit to the number of clients you can share files with, the FileCenter Client Portal makes sharing files even easier than email. Download a free trial today!
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