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We sometimes need to share/recieve large files (sometimes in the gigabytes) to outside contractors or customers. These files are mostly CAD drawings, but could include almost anything. We want to only allow the the outside customer/contractor to upload/download their own files and cannot see anything else. Nothing unusual here.

While we could use FTP, that isn't usually the most user-friendly method. FTP also requires IT time to set up the location for the files, permissions, and the user account. What options are out there to make this entire process easier?

Update: Come to find out after talking to the user more. It is sending files out not receiving files in. We are setting them up with SugarSync to send out a link to the files on their servers.

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You want publicly available files and also restrict access to files, but not setup permissions and user accounts? – Ryan Mar 7 '12 at 23:39
Your question is a bit unclear here. Are you the system administrator? Do you have the ability to setup server system to publish content, will you be able to open your firewalls to permit this? – Zoredache Mar 7 '12 at 23:39
I am looking for options to transfer files back and forth. Files much too large for email. Everything secure. – Mike Wills Mar 8 '12 at 0:01
IPSwitch offers a hosted MOVEit DMZ product. Their products supposedly pass PCI-DSS compliance checks. There are other similar products from BISCOM and Accelion. Some products are available as a service, and some you could set up on a colocated server. – Jodie C Mar 8 '12 at 0:05
Reconsider FTP. It's accessible with a web browser and your IT staff should be able to offer access to a small set of contractor accounts in no more than an afternoon. – ladenedge Mar 8 '12 at 3:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

We use a secure ftp server that requires ssl auth. Each project has its own folder under /home/projectdocs/projectname. Each company involved has a login and a sub directory. We usually work with their IT group to script a sync to the source companies external file server. This way the contractors upload the data to a mapped drive within their company's firewall. The data is then syncd to our server every 10 minutes or so. Alternatively we provide the contractor a copy of filezilla to connect to our ftp directly. Filezilla is a great GUI for ftp. No IT knowledge needed.

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An FTP server is probably the way to go. I was just putting out feelers for options. – Mike Wills Mar 8 '12 at 14:44
I hear ya. I would be very wary of posting internal docs to public servers. – DaffyDuc Mar 8 '12 at 16:12
As a SFT server can be used a ssh server - secure and easy to maintain. WinSCP is also user friendly as a client - you have two GUI choices - single or dual panel – jet Mar 8 '12 at 17:25

A little bit complex to set up if you haven't had experience with Linux before, but if you got a pc and installed linux on it you could have lots of user accounts (one for each customer/contractor) which has a 'My Documents'-like folder (/home/username) that you could copy files to that you wanted to share with them. They could then retrieve the files with sftp or keep their filesystems in sync with rsync.

An additional complication is that you'll need to port forward on your router to the linux box. Have a look on for this is you have difficulties.

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Our web server runs on Widows Server, so we have servers. I just wanted to see what else is out there. – Mike Wills Mar 8 '12 at 14:39

You could make a Dropbox or account and create separate folders for each contractor. Then they could login via the web to upload/download. Or, if they download the client app, they'll have a folder on their machine that syncs with you.

The question is whether you can afford to pay the steep rates.

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There are any number of hosted services and locally-hostable services that allow the upload and download of files, and Google will provideth, but never underestimate the bandwidth of a USB stick and a courier -- around the same city, a motorbike courier can get that sort of thing from point A to point B in under an hour, and an overnight courier can get it across the country.

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All USB drives are blocked on our PCs. – Mike Wills Mar 8 '12 at 14:38
So get 'em unblocked. – womble Mar 10 '12 at 9:10
That isn't a solution. – Mike Wills Mar 10 '12 at 18:56
On the contrary, it most certainly is a solution. – womble Mar 11 '12 at 7:15
We locked them down for security reasons. We aren't opening them up again. – Mike Wills Mar 12 '12 at 13:13

For a secure PC-to-PC solution, try...

The difference here is there is no intermediate server where you can't be sure of security. It means (for best results) having your contractors/customers download the Desktop App, but well worth it.

Here's a short description of how it works...

1 Create a message, just like an email, attach files and click send. Files are ready to be picked up by your recipients. Just leave your computer on.

2 Your recipients get an email notification. They can download the files either with Web Pickup or with the Desktop Application.

3.1 With Web Pickup, your recipients can download the files using any device [iPhone, iPad, Android, tablet etc] that has a web browser.

3.2 Or, they can also download the files with the Desktop Application to benefit from advanced features such as encryption and auto resumes.

The dropbox idea is probably among the most trusted/secure of the other suggestions, though you could consider FileDropper also:


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We use UD Dropbox to solve this issue. You have to be able to have your own server to host it though. It's available here:

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