How to Share Documents Online: 4 File-Sharing Scenarioson 10 October 2018
Sharing large files with clients and other team members is often a challenge. Different solutions cater to different needs, and you may not be sure what approach you should take.
We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to share documents online across four file-sharing scenarios. See which one best aligns with your needs.
Four File-Sharing Scenarios
#1 Sharing Files With Clients
When sharing files with clients, you need to consider:
- Whether the files are sensitive or confidential. You may need a more secure means of sharing files in some cases.
- How frequently you need to share files. Ongoing, frequent sharing will require specialized solutions, whereas one-off sharing can typically be handled with something simpler.
- Whether you need evidence of client receipt. This may be related to legal requirements or simply peace of mind for your team.
There are several approaches you can take here. In some cases, physical mail is still viable. This may be necessary for legal reasons. For example, a highly regulated project for the government may require that all files be delivered on a CD or flash drive and be provided in paper form as well.
In most cases though, everyday email suffices for one-off document sharing. File-sharing services like Dropbox also provide an alternative solution.
The best way to share large files with clients on an ongoing basis is through a client portal. This enables them to access files on demand and provides you with an audit trail of what files they access and when.
Want to go beyond simply sharing files with clients? Start your free trial of Glasscubes and give your clients a sharing experience through a branded client portal.
#2 Sharing Large Files
When sharing large files, you need to consider:
- The size limitations of email. While acceptable for sending a small document quickly, email isn’t suited for large files. Most email services have a max size of 25 MB for a single email.
- Ease of use. The less friction in sharing files, the better for you and the recipient.
- Accessibility. Internet access, connection speed, and other things could stand in the way of accessing the shared file.
The best way to share large files is through cloud services. Instead of sending a file directly, you upload it through the service and provide the recipient with a link for them to download it.
File-sharing services like WeTransfer and Dropbox follow this basic premise, providing an easy way to share your documents with anyone around the world.
In rare cases where the recipient may have limited or no internet access, you may need to seek an alternative solution. For example, if the recipient is out on an oil rig with a slow connection, you may need to arrange a physical delivery of a CD or flash drive.
#3 Sharing Files With A Need For Versioning & Document Control
When you’re looking for document control with your file sharing, you need to consider:
- Document control vs. version control. See below how the difference between them will impact your solution.
- Accessibility. You need a way to manage situations where two or more people will access and make changes to the same document.
- The control limitations of email. Once it’s sent, that’s it. You no longer control the document or its current version.
There’s a distinct difference between “document control” and “version control” that could affect your decision.
Document control entails literally controlling documents—parties who have access, who has the document currently, locking documents, etc. This means seeking a solution that has a check-in/check-out capability, enabling documents to be locked against further changes while someone has it checked out. This type of feature is good for when approvals are needed. Glasscubes is a useful solution for this need.
Version control—being able to identify the current version of a document—is similar but can be satisfied by having a living document where changes are made in real time. Google Drive is a popular solution that uses version control but does not necessarily “protect” or lock any one version.
#4 Sharing Files With A Need For Collaboration
When you’re looking to collaborate on shared files, you need to consider:
- The need to communicate around content. Oftentimes, sharing a file isn’t enough. Your team needs to discuss and reference a document in context, continuously.
- The limitations of email. While great for a memo or update, email quickly becomes cumbersome for ongoing discussion, especially regarding a document. Plus, people often bring up unrelated topics on email chains or forget to reply all, derailing the continuity of the discussion.
- The limitations of Dropbox. It enables you to store and share, but collaboration is limited to basic commenting.
To collaborate with shared files, you need a solution that includes more features than simple file sharing. Your team must be able to not only discuss a document but be notified of discussion so they don’t miss out. (Tweet this!) Members should be able to add commentary directly to the file, so that other team members can easily see what’s being referenced.
There also needs to be transparency and auditability in who has accessed the document and when, in addition to the ability to approve file versions. Glasscubes covers all these areas. (For example, see the screenshot below of its file-locking feature.)
Sharing large files with clients and team members, controlling documents, and enabling collaboration are all possible with Glasscubes.
Glasscubes is an anywhere-you-are collaboration tool that’s purpose-built to get you from project start to project completion—without losing anyone along the way. And with Glasscubes, you don’t just share files online, you collaborate around them. Because file sharing isn’t a “one and done” deal; your team needs to discuss the content in context.
So get the comprehensive SaaS solution that fully enables collaboration—from file sharing to communication and more. Start your free trial today.