E-mailing attachments is a pain. Businesses hate storing an e-mail attachment several times over because it was sent, resent, and forwarded four times. Users hate hitting the sometimes arbitrary file size limits when trying to send a big file. And as the world gets more focused on security, the risk inherent with sending full-size and unprotected files with e-mail is becoming unacceptable.
There’s always the threat of a malicious hacker intercepting an e-mail, but it’s also likely that an innocent e-mailer will hit “Reply All” by accident or attach the wrong person when a contract proposal or a spreadsheet with proprietary data is sent, or even when sending sensitive financial information to your bank.
Many cloud storage services now offer the ability to generate secured, encrypted, and password-protected links to protect your vital documents from getting into the wrong hands. But typically that requires a lengthy upload process, using a separate app or webpage to access the file and generate the link, and for the user to know what security restrictions are necessary for that file. And it’s a bit ridiculous to ask the average cubicle worker to go through this process with every attachment.
EMC Corporation, creator of the Mozy online backup service, is hoping to make it simpler to ditch e-mail attachments with a new Outlook Add-in for their Syncplicity cloud storage service. This add-in will let you upload files from your computer to your online storage, generate secure links to individual files or folders from your account, and without having to leave your Outlook e-mail message.
These links can be secured either with password protection, by authenticating a shared Syncplicity account, and can be restricted with rights management controls and link expiration dates. IT departments can set up group policies and default security options so that every user and every link uses the same security options, making the whole process much easier for the end user.
While most cloud storage providers let you generate a link to a file, none as of yet have integrated into the popular Microsoft e-mail client with a 1st party plugin. Even Microsoft’s own OneDrive service still requires the user to generate a link from the website or from an app.
Cisco’s ShareFile service is their closest competitor in this space as they have been offering this functionality for a while with their integrated Outlook plugin and desktop software, in addition to some nifty custom logo options and eSignature support. But at almost $200 a year for an individual to as much as $1,200 a year for a business with a maximum file limit of 100 GB, it’s also pretty expensive. Syncplicity’s add-in has no file size limit and also comes free with any of their storage and file syncing plans running from $60 – $150 per user per year for businesses or from $0 – $60 per year for individuals.
Syncplicity’s Outlook add-in will be available to new and existing customers of the service on May 31.