It’s very easy to create stunning new digital sales collateral, colour brochures or training materials. Most times, before you know it, you have a 10, 50 or 100MB file to distribute to partners, customers or prospects. Or you may have regular software updates, patches or drivers that need to be sent out quickly and reliably to a list of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people.
So, what are the choices?
It would be nice to say email, but there are significant risks with sending even a 15MB attachment. It could clog up a customer’s inbox or even knock over their mail server. At best, it’s likely that at least some of the emails will be rejected, although you may never find out about this.
Perhaps unremarkably, many people still send data on CDs, DVDs and USB drives. Given the time it takes to burn, label, pack and post them, this is costly and certainly not time-efficient. Besides, the data is still not on the recipient’s PC until they put the media into their drive.
While file transfer protocol (FTP) is a common solution for transferring information outside the VPN, it can be inconvenient and have high support needs. FTP is intrinsically an insecure protocol and during transfers other applications such as browsing can become very slow. Moreover, FTP does not record what has been transferred in and out of the organisation.
Web transfer services are more user friendly than FTP, but they still present a security risk because of shared storage or through use of an open URL link. Like FTP, transfers can hinder other applications and network disruption can make transfers fail.
Peer-to-peer (P2P), while popular in the domestic environment, is in-appropriate for business use as most P2P solutions consume bandwidth and processing power voraciously, sometimes even bringing the PC or network to a grinding halt.
Given the choice, most people would use email to send and receive large files and folders if it did not have its current drawbacks and were secure, reliable and let you check delivery progress.
The ability to create professional digital materials is a great asset to the channel, but an easy, cost-effective and reliable method of distributing them is needed.
In the communications race, email simply hasn’t kept up with the pace and alternatives have been slow and costly, cumbersome or just insecure. But now at least it seems there are other ways to overcome the size problem without the pain.
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