There is a lot of companies on the Internet vying for your online storage needs. Although pricing should always be a consideration, do not be lured by cheap packages aimed at getting you in the door. Make sure the FTP host you choose offers a feature rich application, but not one that you need a computer science degree to operate. Below are the top 5 things to look for when you choose your provider:
1.Offer an Easy to Use System
The last thing you want to become is a technical support agent for your clients, therefore ease of use is key. No matter what provider you choose, there are only 3 parts to any file sharing service. The ability to manage files, manage who accesses those files and some providers offer some type of reporting. In any case you need to be able to quickly add users and set permissions to files, without having to look at a manual or make a call to technical support.
2.Offer Multiple Ways to Connect to Your Data
You should not have to download any proprietary software or be told that FTP is no good. Be sure to that your provider offers a way to upload and downloads through ANY web browser on ANY operating system. Also, your provider should be able to support any FTP client, such as Filezilla, CuteFTP, or Fetch. Some providers add other bells and whistles such as sending a files through email, API's, or some type of computer backup agent.
3.Offer Technical Assistant
There are several facets to support. The most important is a live person that is knowledgeable and are able to handle your question or problem without being on hold for hours on end, or worst, being transferred. Your provider should also have an online knowledge base that can answer your questions. If you like me, online video tutorials are a huge plus. Finally, if you feel more comfortable sending an email, your provider should offer a trouble ticketing system that allows you to keep track of the problem. However, trouble tickets are only as good as the time it takes for a person to respond to them. I believe 1 – 2 hours response time is a reasonable expectation.
4.Offer Unlimited Users & Connections
Providers like to offer you a package that starts at $ 4.95 a month, but only give you the ability to add three users to your account. If you like me, I have more than 3 people I want to collaborate and share files with. I recommend choosing a provider that offers unlimited users, with unlimited simultaneous connections to the system. This way you do not have to juggle users access rights or continue to have your package to meet your needs.
5.Offer Custom Branding
Custom branding allows you to use your own domain (uploads.yourcompany.com), your logo and color scheme. This allows the provider to be anonymous and for you to promote your company image and product offerings. Sometimes there is a small fee associated with this, but I would look for providers that offer this for free of charge.