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Problem: I've started volunteering for a small non-profit with fewer than five non-technical Windows users who need to share 20-30GB of files (Office documents, images, PDFs, etc.) amongst themselves online.

Background: The users are accustomed to a Windows network share on a machine that backed up their data locally. An on-site "disaster" has forced them to work from their homes for awhile and to re-evaluate their file sharing needs (office was located in an old building with obvious electrical issues, etc.). Access to time from volunteers with IT experience seems to be difficult. Demonstrably minimizing energy consumption is a nice-to-have.

I'm currently considering Jungle Disk (a Desktop account shared amongst the handful of employees since their TOS and my inquiries to their helpdesk seem to indicate this is permissible). It appears easy-to-use, inexpensive, secure, has backup functionality, and can scale to accomodate more data when needed. I've not used it myself though (have only used Dropbox for personal use) and systems isn't my area of expertise, so am worried I might be jumping on a bandwagon.

That said, any suggestions, thoughts or similar experiences would be really appreciated.

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Dropbox would ususally work pretty well in that scenario, but it's more expensive than dropbox iirc. –  Joris Feb 15 '11 at 6:04

3 Answers 3

Jungle Disk is probably a fine way to do this sort a sharing. If you really want to do save money you could try using GMail Drive Shell Extension, which turns your free gmail account into a file system you could share with others. As that site warns, however, Google could choose to block that tool at any time so it's a dubious idea unless you really, really want to save money.

Many hosting and email services provide some amount of webdav-based storage. Two that come to mind are Dreamhost and Fastmail. Once nice thing about webdav is that most modern OSes support it navitively so it's a simple way to share documents and files between PCs and Macs without installing additional software. I use Fastmail to back up a few small personal files and it works fine for that.

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I work for a small UK charity and we outsourced our FileServer to one that resides in the Cloud as we are a distributed team. For this we chose to use an offering called The Organisation Cloud by a company called SMEStorage.

We use this with free storage provided by a number of different storage providers that we map to our account, and it is setup to automatically back up files from one storage provider to another so we always have two copies of files.

We encrypt all our sensitive files using encryption that works on any of the clouds we use.

The six of us all have different personal phones and we are able to get at our files from iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Similarly on the desktop we use different PC's and we have clients for Linux, Windows and Mac.

We file share using embedded emails, and generate and share files using a URL for our blog, and the service let's us set up collaboration groups which we use to add subscribers to our newsletter. As soon as add the newsletter to the group all users receive an email that the newsletter is available.

The service works well for us and at $3 per user it is within our budget.

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For that scale I would probably consider Dropbox or SugarSync, but I don't have experience with Jungle Disk. It may be as good and as economical.

If the internal server is still an option, which it sounds like it isn't, you could use a "cloud" sync service to back it up, and if the server goes pear-shaped, your users could access the external backup directly.

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