It’s been about a year since we last looked at Citrix ShareFile, the cloud-based file sharing and synchronization service offered by Citrix. In that year, ShareFile has added Outlook and Gmail integration, a native desktop app, and better security controls to what was already an excellent, business-class tool for sharing files with your team or with your collaborators.
ShareFile is available in 4 pricing tiers ranging from $12 to $59 per user per month. Storage and collaboration options are what differentiate each of the tiers, with the exception of ShareFile’s Virtual Data Room, which is the most expensive tier. Lower priced tiers are aimed at small business and individual users while Virtual Data Room offers the least storage space and lacks many of the lower priced tier’s collaboration features. Why the high price? ShareFile’s Virtual Data Room offers a highly secure environment for storing and controlling sensitive data while sharing it with others.
The latest version of ShareFile has updated workflow options allowing you to send documents out for signatures, feedback, and approvals. There’s integration with Microsoft Outlook, which lets you push document attachments directly from Outlook to ShareFile, sharing those documents securely with others. There are new desktop integrations, similar to those you’ll find in Dropbox, which let you do drop a file into a folder on your Mac and have it synchronize with ShareFile so it’s available on all your devices and, if you choose, with others. ShareFile also offers reporting tools you can use to see whether or not a file has been downloaded and who it’s been accessed or downloaded by.
As has always been the case, ShareFile offers excellent options for securing your files and defining who has access to work with folders. You can define folder and file access for employees and clients, although the app is still somewhat limited when it comes to defining groups and putting users into those groups to set access to resources stored in ShareFile. Instead, ShareFile uses something called Distribution Groups, which define how files are sent to the users you’ve created. The Distribution Groups are used in conjunction with Workflows to route documents and folders to users for approvals and signatures.
ShareFile’s Outlook integration was a bit difficult to figure out when I first tried using it. I installed Outlook and added my email account, but could find no way to attach a file and share it using ShareFile. This is because Outlook Integration is limited to specific mail services. After digging around the documentation a bit, I discovered that Outlook integration only works if you’re using an Outlook.com account or if you’re hosting your own Exchange server. And, as you can see from the screenshot below, as soon as you switch from an Exchange account, ShareFile is no longer available. If you want to use ShareFile integration in Outlook you’ll need to make sure you’re running Mac version 15.33 or later and a version of Exchange that supports Microsoft’s Office Store.
When you’re using a supported version of Outlook with a connection to a supported Exchange server, you can log in to the Office Store to download and install the Citrix ShareFile plugin. When you attach a document you want using the ShareFile plugin, you can upload attachments directly to Citrix ShareFile and set sharing options, and the ShareFile plugin will add a link to your email message that recipients can use to securely download the attachments.
Citrix ShareFile remains a top-notch tool for securely sharing files with everyone you do business with. While it still lacks the kind of refined group management tools I’d like to see in a file sharing application, the service’s Distribution Groups are a move in a good direction.