Disaster Recovery

Review: FilesAnywhere offsite file storage

With a huge feature set and a number of different ways to access files, FilesAnywhere has something for everyone that needs offsite file storage.

FilesAnywhere combines online file backup and online file storage into one convenient package. With a huge feature set and a number of different ways to access the files, FilesAnywhere has something for everyone that has a need for offsite file storage.

Specifications

  • System Software: FTP, SFTP, or WebDAV client, or Web Browser (IE, Firefox, Netscape, Safari, AOL, Opera) required
  • Access: Internet access is required
  • Mobile: iPhone, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry devices supported
  • Additional Information: Product Web site
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Who's it for?

Highly mobile users who are frequently using computers that are not theirs will appreciate being able to access their files from a single location and not worry about synchronization issues. People who are looking to backup documents (but not entire file systems) will also appreciate FilesAnywhere, especially since they will not need to worry about hardware. In addition, anyone who is looking for a way of storing important documents offsite will want to take a look at FilesAnywhere.

What problems does it solve?

Most users do not backup their local systems. FilesAnywhere makes it easy to perform backups (both scheduled and real-time synchronization) to a location that is not dependent upon a particular piece of hardware. In addition, with FilesAnywhere, you do not need to worry about whether or not you remembered to put the right files on a Flash drive, since you can download them from just about any client imaginable.

Standout features

  • Cost: FilesAnywhere offers limited free and low-cost accounts which are attractive for low-usage customers.
  • Full Featured: Regardless of what you are using, FilesAnywhere has a way of talking to it. FilesAnywhere can be used for backups, as a WebDAV location for the local machine to work with, as a FTP destination, as an Outlook add-in, and it even allows you to embed a Flash widget onto a page to access the files. You can also create sub-accounts so a team can work together. FilesAnywhere performs versioning, and can show multimedia files online.
  • Enterprise Features: FilesAnywhere provides a number of features that enterprises will appreciate, including advanced encryption, custom URLs, branding, quotas, and IP restrictions on the service to prevent unauthorized usage.

What's wrong?

  • Cost: Once you get to the mid-range account levels, USB flash drives or hard drives are magnitudes cheaper.
  • Speed: If you have a lot of files to work with, or large files, you might rather carry a thumb drive than wait for a large download.
  • Lack of Central Management: Like many Web-based services, FilesAnywhere does not integrate with the rest of your enterprise management stack. IT shops needing central management or with special data control needs will need to pass on this one.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

Note: This review was based upon a complimentary review account provided by FilesAnywhere.

FilesAnywhere addresses one of the oldest points of frustration for business users. And at a technical level, it really gets the functionality right. There are so many different ways to get files in and out of FilesAnywhere, both as a privileged user and as an anonymous user, that customers will find all sorts of ways to incorporate it into their work.

For the free and nearly free accounts (free accounts come with file size limits, and the almost free accounts do not), FilesAnywhere is a handy tool that can save time and aggravation. And the larger, full featured accounts are useful for backing up one's documents, although a large PST (or similarly large, frequently changed file) file would take up a lot of space and be very slow to store there. FilesAnywhere is really not a good choice for a full system backup, because of the speed, storage available, and lack of a bare metal restore system.

That being said, one has to wonder if a service like FilesAnywhere makes sense given its price points compared to USB flash drives and external hard drives. Nearly everyone who is "on the go" all of the time is carrying a laptop, smartphone, or netbook, all of which can hold their files for them and sync to their main system or corporate network.

For infrequently mobile users, an inexpensive flash drive makes more sense. And for backing up, it is much less expensive to get an external USB, FireWire, or eSATA hard drive than it is to get a high quota FilesAnywhere account. This is not to say that FilesAnywhere has no use; quite the contrary. Small-to-medium businesses or users who provide their own self-service IT will potentially get a lot of benefit from it. But as flash drives and hard drives get even less expensive, there are fewer and fewer uses for this kind of service.

User rating

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About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

1 comments
C Hones
C Hones

Filesanywhere.com is a huge waste of time, bandwidth, and money. They make it next to impossible to share files, even for paid members. Not to mention their INSANELY slow customer service (answers in > 24hr!!!) and unclear terms. Now I'm having to waste time figuring out how to cancel my account.