As we continue the 10-day lockdown imposed on the City of Kigali and 8 districts across the country, to slow down the fast-spreading Covid-19, the majority of us have to work from home and accomplish the same tasks we are expected to accomplish at work.
Working remotely means that you have to set up your own internet connection and chances are it will be a bit slower than the bandwidth at work to a certain extent. Others simply tether from the mobile phones with connections which are not very reliable.
Sending or receiving large files can be stressful when you are working from home. From the network getting interrupted midway the upload or download, or having to wait very many hours for a download.
It is even worse when you have deadlines. File sharing is a vital tool for anyone working remotely or any other environment that is not the actual office. With a large percentage of us working from home, this article will explore how file sharing can be eased to save time and resources.
Today, many people have resorted to using internet-based file sharing platforms instead of the traditional servers’ companies used to set up to be able to share big files.
This is because online platforms make it easy for workmates in different locations to share large files without having to be in one place. The downside of this is that file sharing depends largely on the strength of your connection.
The other disadvantage is that some of the platforms limit how much space you can have for free, meaning that you must subscribe to get much bigger space.
That said, below are the top 5 file sharing platforms in 2021 that you can use to share large files, as recommended by the leading technology review websites ‘Tech Radar’ and ‘BloggTech’.
1. Google Drive
The commonest file sharing platform accessed by more than 1 billion people is Google Drive. Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google.
Launched on April 24, 2012, Google Drive allows users to store files in the cloud (on Google's servers), synchronize files across devices, and share files.
In addition to a web interface, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
Google Drive offers users 15 GB of free storage through Google One. Google One also offers 100 GB, 200 GB, 2 TB, 10 TB, 20 TB, and 30 TB, offered through optional paid plans. Files uploaded can be up to 5 terabytes in size.
Users can change privacy settings for individual files and folders, including enabling sharing with other users or making content public.
On the website, users can search for an image by describing its visuals, and use natural language to find specific files, such as "find my budget spreadsheet from last December".
Dropbox is an extremely popular file sharing platform, one of the best-known platforms in fact. Dropbox offers file sharing capabilities in both free and paid forms as well as offering services tailored to both home and business users.
The most common Dropbox platform is definitely the one for home users. This platform is offered on a free basis with a limited amount of storage. Even with the free platform, you can increase the amount of storage space that you have, but doing various tasks such as promoting Dropbox, registering your email address and even simply downloading the Dropbox application.
If you need to increase your storage space then you can subscribe to Dropbox Plus for a small monthly fee, which then gives you a massive 2TB of space and some other cool features.
If you want to use Dropbox in a business environment then it’s better to look at the business options. These plans are more expensive, charged at a per user rate, but they do provide a lot more features. In particular, with business plans you have the ability to control access to files for each of the users on your plan. This provides system administrators, and company owners, with similar control and management features that would traditionally come with legacy file server setups.
These features are important in a business, especially when moving to the cloud, as they allow you to maintain a clear level of control over your staff and the files that they have access to.
Dropbox works across multiple platforms including Windows, Mac and mobile devices and can be accessed via the web or via native apps available for each of these devices and platforms.
WeTransfer is another file sharing platform similar to the others that have been mentioned so far. WeTransfer is geared more towards sharing large files that can’t be sent via email. This was sort of the starting point of file sharing, which in turn paved the way for all of the fully-featured file sharing platforms.
WeTransfer is very easy to set up and really handy if you just want to send files to people, on a regular basis, and you can’t do so via email – perhaps because the files are too large to send in the traditional manner.
WeTransfer is ideal if you want to send these files simply for the other person to gain access to them, and download them onto their own file system, as opposed to actively collaborating on those files with you.
Livedrive is another file sharing platform that is very similar in nature to Dropbox, but definitely not as well known. Livedrive provides accounts direct to the end user, they also provide business plans, reseller plans and white-labelling.
The personal version of livedrive is similar to Dropbox in the features provided, however, it does come as a paid only platform and there is no free version. One of the big benefits of Livedrive when compared to Dropbox is that they also offer a file backup platform, which is integrated into their apps.
This backup platform allows you to back up the files and folders on your computer, or your mobile device, to the cloud in real time and it comes with a very intuitive setup wizard making it very easy to enable these backups when you install the software.
As well as a personal version, Livedrive also offers business accounts which, similar to Dropbox, come with a per user licensing cost. The business platform is similar but with additional features such as management of folder access and user management via a dedicated business portal.
Box is another file sharing platform that has similar features to Dropbox and Livedrive. Box also offers file sharing and collaboration through their web portal as well as a range of native apps. Box is definitely more geared towards enterprise use.
Box is a premium only platform with no free version; although it does come with a free trial.
The plans to go up in price fairly quickly but there are some really good features on offer from Box, including granular access control, SSL and at-rest encryption and active directory and SSO integration, among other features.