The Pitfalls of Online File Sharing and Sending Services


Mike Nash TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

Easy-to-use, readily-accessible, and consumer-oriented, online file sharing platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive are, to end users, a pleasant replacement to older file transfer methods such as FTP. FTP is complex to use and requires IT intervention to make almost any change. The pain associated with FTP, which was developed in the 1970s, is one of the factors that opened the door for the rise of online file sharing services in the workplace.

Along with file sharing, for the sending large files, a series of consumer-focused tools have emerged such as WeTransfer to navigate around the size limitations of most email systems. Given the consumer-adoption of such tools, it’s no wonder so many business users are willing to circumvent internal IT systems and use file sending services when they need to send a large file to co-workers, partners or customers.

These trends, of course, make IT managers nervous (especially every time major online file sharing data breaches get publicized). Because now that users are self-migrating from FTP or internal email systems to unsanctioned, public platforms, leaving IT out of the loop - they open their companies to risks and challenges that companies can’t afford to take.

In some cases, EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share) systems including Box and Dropbox for Business are options for IT organizations to consider. These typically take a consumer-like offering and add additional management controls and, in some cases, more sophisticated security. EFSS solutions are widely deployed, and they are often considered a good choice for business documents. However, when it comes to sending and sharing mission-critical content or massive video files, such EFSS systems aren’t the best solution either.

Online file sharing and sending (OFSS) services are great for consumers and even for some simple business use cases there’s no denying that. But when it comes to mission-critical content and the complex workflows of modern M&E companies, these services just aren’t up to the challenge.

Seven pitfalls of OFSS services for M&E companies

  • No Acceleration

For all the promises of ease, access and user-friendliness of OFSS services, they fail to address the biggest bottleneck of all in moving large video files to other users: the transfer speed.

While employees might think they’re circumventing the annoying FTP process, they’re still left waiting for transfers to complete. Why? Because OFSS services still rely on traditional TCP transfers that don’t maximize network bandwidth. They are just as slow as FTP, but with a friendlier face.

  • Flawed Security Models

Even if a company advertises that files are encrypted in storage, you have no assurance whether your OFSS provider is following secure design principles. And, let’s say you get the information and your OFSS service is following secure design principles, is your company’s intellectual property and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data now sitting in someone else’s storage?

Just by using an OFSS service, you could be violating your company’s security policies with respect to PII. Freemium versions of the majority of these products seldom support critical security controls.

  • Storage Lock-in

You can’t choose where you want your assets stored. OFSS services use their own storage - and that could be anywhere. This means your IT department has no control over the actual server where assets are stored.

  • Closed Storage System

Additionally, because you have no control of where the content is stored, you cannot access this storage via other mechanisms. It may be impossible for you to directly interact with your stored files or move your files through an automated workflow that is outside or adjacent to your OFSS storage.

  • File Size Limits

As of July 2017, Dropbox has a file size limit of 20GB per file. That may seem like a lot but with today’s 4K cameras, you could exceed that limit quickly depending on FPS (frames per second), bitrate and codec.

  • Poor Control and Visibility

Without direct ownership of or access to the storage and server management, using an OFSS service introduces a dangerous barrier to corporate visibility. Being able to restrict access and assign granular permissions to files ensures that only the right people have access to the content. And, being able to view, track and audit activities means that if a breach occurs you can pinpoint its source.

  • No Robust Transfer Mechanisms

Even if you decide that OFS meets all your needs, you can’t afford to waste time starting at the beginning. With large files, a Checkpoint Restart function becomes very important. If a file transfer is interrupted due to internet connectivity or other network challenges, having to manually restart or worse having to start the transfer over from the beginning can be a nightmare in meeting deadlines especially when there’s no file acceleration.

A solution

The answer is to make the move to a next-generation file transfer solution like Signiant Media Shuttle. Media Shuttle is an easy and highly reliable way to transfer large files fast. More than 25,000 companies of all sizes use the solution and enjoy the enterprise security features and flexibility and control of choosing their own storage.

About Signiant Media Shuttle
Signiant Media Shuttle is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way for users to send and share large files. Used by hundreds of thousands of media professionals around the world, this cloud-native SaaS solution employs Signiant's patented acceleration technology to dramatically speed up transfers over public and private IP networks. Authorized users can log in to Media Shuttle's branded portals from any Web browser, gaining secure access to content via a super-simple user interface. Behind the scenes, the system can be configured to work with either local storage or cloud storage. Sold by subscription to businesses large and small, Media Shuttle is the de facto standard for person-initiated transfer of large files. For more information, please visit www.signiant.com/media-shuttle.


Tags: iss131 | ftp | signiant | efss | dropbox | google drive | ftp | ofss | media shuttle | Mike Nash
Contributing Author Mike Nash

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • JVC GY-HM650 upgrade at NAB 2013

    JVC GY-HM650 upgrade at NAB 2013

  • File Catalyst at NAB 2013

    File Catalyst at NAB 2013

  • Signiant at IBC2011

    Signiant at IBC2011


Articles
Trade shows and their role in the wired world
Richard Baker Historically trade shows afforded an opportunity to collect the latest brochures relevant to the visitor's chosen industry or career path. Today there seems little reason to store data of any kind, let alone paper brochures, when information is so easily accessible online. Brochure back-packing at exhibitions has become a rare sight, rarer still since the security clampdown on visitor luggage at exhibitions. Today's efficient show delegate need only carry a mobile phone and, in deference to tradition, a bundle of business cards. The phone doubles as a snapshot camera, video camera, dictaphone, email reader, internet browser, Skype communicator, and so on.
Tags: iss133 | finepoint | ibc | nab | kitplus show | bve | Richard Baker
Contributing Author Richard Baker Click to read or download PDF
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
What is next in OTT
Mary Kay Evans In the past year alone, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of OTT content that’s being streamed. In the first quarter of 2018, there’s been a 114 percent year-over-year growth in streaming video hours, and those numbers are only expected to rise. With OTT revenue predicted to reach $16.6B in 2018, a 40% gain over last year, there’s no question that OTT is booming, and that there’s never been a more critical time to pay attention to the space.
Tags: iss133 | ott | verizon | cisco | Mary Kay Evans
Contributing Author Mary Kay Evans Click to read or download PDF
Ride along on the Tour de Tech at IBC
Lorna Garrett Finding your way through the halls and aisles of the massive IBC can feel a bit like attempting to complete all 21 stages of the Tour de France — but in far fewer days. But have no fear; your team at Garland is all geared up and ready to show you the best on show at this year's exhibition.
Tags: iss133 | garland | liveu | lu600 | media excel | teracue | wisi | broadcast wireless systems | bws | artel | ibc | Lorna Garrett
Contributing Author Lorna Garrett Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF