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We currently have an account with www.mailbigfile.com to allow us to send & receive files which exceed our client's email limits. In our industry, a 10MB limit is not unknown.

Mailbigfile works fine for what it is but increasingly, our clients are starting to block it as a security risk.

A solution would be for us to license the software and run it from our own web server which is far less likely to be blocked.

Does anyone know of vendors in this market? We are looking at web collaboration systems but that's a much bigger project. The technology behind www.mailbigfile.com isn't that complex (http upload, email notification and then http download) so I'm hoping it won't be very expensive.

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11 Answers 11

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You might want to look at this Gartner- Magic Quadrant for Managed File Transfer 2008 for some options.

We choose to go with IPswitch's MoveIt DMZ.

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Thanks for this link - looks useful. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 10:39

In theory, any web hosting service can provide access to files, be it HTTP, FTP, SSH or other protocols. The services you use add simple simple announcement messages that package the process. Any web server with enough space and reasonable upload policy can provide the basic functionality - you may have to handle the announcements yourself.

(Some competitors of mailbigfile include drop.io YouSendIt, Box.net, Dropbox, and MediaFire).

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Have you considered basically setting up an apache website and configuring the WebDav package.

The Windows File Explorer interfaces to websites with WebDav enabled. You can add in security as well which can be different than the standard account security depending on the way you set it up.

Also, if you don't like the native support you can get an application such as WebDrive that allows a user to map a drive letter to a WebDav enabled website.

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Don't do Apache I'm afraid.. IIS only around these parts. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 24 '09 at 10:05

Have you looked at drop.io?

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Not but the key requirement is that we can host it ourself to get around DNS/IP addresses blocking of hosted system by our clients. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 10:32

We have a perennial problem with that here in the land of .edu. We have researchers for whom email is the only really viable way to handle large dataset transfer. They don't want to use things like dropbox, yousendit, etc because the datasets are proprietary and they don't trust the cloud for true privacy yet. Therefore, we have to have internal departmental mailers independent of the central mail-system expressly so these researchers can send/receive files larger than the 10MB limit on the Exchange system.

The big problem is that we can't crack the full duplex problem. We can create system where these researchers can drop files, but can't set up a system to securely allow non-local users to pull the file.

Yes, I know email isn't secure at all. However, it does have a leg up on the likes of drop.io and yousendit in that the vulnerable period for the data is during transmission rather than during the whole time the file exists on the cloud service.

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The security you are looking for could be provided using PGP/GPG to encrypt files using the public key of the person the file is intended for then it should be secure enough no matter how long it sits on the server. Another option that isn't as good but will work without having to teach people PGP/GPG is to send files as self-extracting encrypted archive files (using 7zip or similar). Drop the encrypted file somewhere and then email them with the URL and the password for the archive (or better yet mail the URL and phone through the password). Use a different passwrod each time for paranoia. –  David Spillett Jul 20 '09 at 17:01
    
David: I like the PGP/GPG idea. I need to see if these user's administrators (they're not mine) think they can do it. –  sysadmin1138 Jul 20 '09 at 17:13
    
Yes, security is also a concern that I didn't mention. We work with pharms companies and they don't like the idea of the file residing on uncontrolled/external websites, even if they are deleted after 14 days. One assumes these companies back up their data so you then get into the thorny issue of data retention/data protection. This is the single reason why the cloud will be limited for a while until this core issues are resolved, if they ever can be. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 10:35
    
Our internal folk are griping about having to pay for both halves of the conversation if we do manage to get a system like this in place. We're at a bit of an impasse. –  sysadmin1138 Jul 22 '09 at 14:19

After messing with FTP and getting fed up with it being plain text security and having issues with various FTP clients thanks to an open ended spec I finally just created my own file management system. Basically I log into a site which shows a list of my files, I click create new archive and load up a silverlight client that uploads the file to the server. I can then create download tickets which are direct links to the file and allow me to send the links to whomever needs the file. The system also has some minor archiving functionality where I can upload an updated file under the same archive and all download tickets will point to the new file.

There's also a command line uploader.

You can see the system yourself on my etoys website. I hadn't considered selling it but if it looks like something you'd like to use I'm sure we could work something out.

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Ever considered using FTP or SFTP instead of email to distro the files? You could email out links to the files.

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FTP is even worse at being blocked - or rather never opened through firewalls - than mailbigfile. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 10:39

Accellion makes an appliance that can be deployed on your own virtual infrastructure, in Amazon's cloud, as well as selling hardware units to perform the same function.

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Thanks for this. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 24 '09 at 10:04

Off the top of my head I can't think of any specific applications to do this, but as you say it would be fairly simple to create so you may be able to cheaply commission someone to write it for you (you don't state the nature of your company: if you have an IT department then you may be able to second some resource from there to do it for less than getting external contractors in might cost (then again, some IT depts cost more than externals!).

The hardest part of the idea is access control: making sure users can only access the files that are intended for them (and by inference providing an interface to specify who the file you are uploading is for). Of course if the files are not sensitive then you may not need access control, in which case you don't need an application at all: just have a browsable directory on the web server and upload files as you would normally (SCP, SFTP, ...). If you only need very basic access control, you can use the "just use the web server" approach and create a password protected directory for each client and send the password and location to them by email.

As for ready-made web apps for this that are available for purchase (or for free), I can't think of any. You might get more responses on this if you specify your web server actually is (IIS, Apache on Windows, Apache on Linux, lighttp, ...) and what scripting languages are supported on it.

EDIT: Just reread your question and noticed the "send and receive" part. The "just user the web server" option would still work for this but not nearly as well (as you would have to give them accounts to send stuff to you and if using SCP/SFTP you'd need to ensure they had the relevant client application installed), though the rest of the answer is still relevant.

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We do have an IT department - me and two others. We also have a small development team so there are options. But I can't beleive nobody sells something like mailbigfile for hosting. There are plenty of web file managers out there (e.g. FileVista) but we want the simplicity of mailbigfile. –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 10:38
    
You may have found a currently unoccupied niche in the market, ripe for you to exploit if you (or your company) have time to create and market the product! –  David Spillett Jul 22 '09 at 11:12
    
David - yes, the same thought passed through my mind! ;-) –  Rob Nicholson Jul 22 '09 at 13:40
    
It would also be a a good candidate for an open source project. It sounds like something that a fair number of other people would find useful so once you had the first reasonably working version you might not find it difficult to attract a few useful contributors. Just make sure you keep the project simple in the early stages. I'd be tempted myself if I didn't already have far too much on my plate. –  David Spillett Jul 22 '09 at 15:26
    
Still looking at this :-) Yes, it would be a good open source project. People love mailbigfile here as it's easy to use. I contact mailbigfile and they offer a proxy service to get around the problem of their servers getting blocked by our pharmaceutical client firewalls. –  Rob Nicholson Apr 21 '10 at 17:44

well, I face the same with yousendit and use another 3rd paty http:/www.expedimedia.com (not very well known, but efficient) for costumers who have a web lock on yousendit.

I can pay for each use: no subscription

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www.expedimedia.com would suffer from the same blocking problem eventually as it's a hosted service. In the time that's passed since posting this, we've implemented FileVista which is basically a web based file manager. As this is hosted on our servers, it cannot be blocked. Where data resides is also answered. But it's not as easy or quick to use as MailBigFile. It's more a replacement for our FTP server which was also problematic (FTP ports blocked & not that easy to use, sometimes needed 3rd party client). So we're still in the market for a hosted service akin to MBF –  Rob Nicholson Dec 9 '10 at 9:16
    
Ohh, MailBigFile have recently sent me something about a proxy option which might help blocking –  Rob Nicholson Dec 9 '10 at 9:16

Sorry to respond to such a dated question... but I stumbled upon this randomly and have looked at solution called masstransit. It does what you are saying... but it also has a bunch of other features. Not sure if it's the right fit though.

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