Citrix ShareFile Offers Limited Storage, High Prices, and HIPAA Compliance

ShareFile is a filesharing service from Citrix, which is also responsible for services like GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. It is also gunning for Dropbox‘s customers, claiming to beat Dropbox in a number of ways.

While ShareFile has some features that would be attractive to a central IT department, its storage capacity is too small — and its price tag too high — to be much use to most law firms.

Misleading claims about security

The ShareFile-Dropbox comparison chart (PDF) I was sent by a ShareFile salesperson is misleading, at best. For example, ShareFile claims it beats Dropbox by using 256-bit encryption and that “files are stored encrypted on our servers.” But Dropbox actually uses 256-bit encryption for transfer and storage, too. This is reasonable security, but it is also fairly standard.

The comparison chart also claims ShareFile has no software to download, but that Dropbox requires it. Neither of these is strictly true. If you want to sync files across computers with ShareFile, you’ll have to download an app. Conversely, if you want to use Dropbox without downloading anything, there’s no reason you can’t do that.

Neither encrypts your files before transfer, which is one of the main reasons people worry about Dropbox’s security (if this bothers you, use SpiderOak). Both allow you to designate who can access files. Both use Amazon servers. And so on. Many of the points on the comparison chart are questionable.

Part of security is trust, and based on this promotional material, I don’t think I trust ShareFile.

Little for lots

It is also a questionable value. In order to get 5 GB of storage, you have to pay $29.95 per month. (As one LAB member put it, “$30/mo for 5GB? Are they storing all the data on floppies?”) If you want Dropbox functionality, though, you have to pay for the next level: $59.95 for 10 GB.

Heck, you can get 5 GB of storage on Dropbox for free if you refer a couple of friends or take part in one of Dropbox’s numerous promos. $50 a year gets you 50 GB on Dropbox.

But what’s worse is the maximum storage available. With ShareFile, you can get a maximum of 20 GB (for $99.95 per month) on the normal plans. That wouldn’t be enough to hold my files — and I’m a solo practitioner with fairly sparse files. ShareFile is ostensibly aimed at bigger businesses, but I can’t imagine a 20-person business needing less than 20 GB!

The sales rep did say ShareFile offers up to 400 GB on its corporate plans. If $100 for 20 GB is what storage costs, you would be looking at something like $2,000 per month for 400 GB, which is a pretty paltry amount of storage for an enterprise.

By comparison, Dropbox for Teams offers unlimited storage starting at $795 per year.

One reason to use ShareFile: HIPAA

ShareFile does have at least one redeeming feature: it is HIPAA compliant. That makes it one of the only HIPAA-compliant filesharing and file-syncing services out there. Of course, if you have enough medical information that you think you are subject to HIPAA, ShareFile’s limited storage options will make it practically useless. Then again, you don’t have many other choices.

Since ShareFile and Dropbox have essentially the same features across the board, this just tells me there is no good reason why Dropbox isn’t HIPAA compliant, and it should get on that.


  1. Avatar Bodkin says:

    At those prices, it would probably be worth setting up office 365’s enterprise sharepoint service. It provides more storage (plus email and MS Office Pro Plus if you like) for less, and claims HIPAA compliance from the rooftops.

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      Good to know. If and when Microsoft finally releases its rumored iPad app, Office 365 is going to look pretty attractive.

      At the moment, I want something that works across platforms, and Google is still the closest to a complete solution.

  2. Avatar Jesse says:

    Hi Sam,

    I’m with ShareFile. I think there’s a misunderstanding above about how our pricing model works. Above you are assuming that the only dimension of price is storage space. In fact, the primary driver of cost in our plans is the number of user licenses. We are targeted exclusively at businesses, and most of our customers have multiple employees at their firm.

    If you take our Professional Plan, it includes 10 employees at your firm for $59.95/month if paid quarterly. For 10 employees on Dropbox for Teams, the cost is $115 – $120/month. You’re right that Dropbox for Teams includes lots of storage, but many customers don’t need unlimited storage. Once you have your base plan of 10 employees at $60/month, you can configure the plan with as much storage as you want. Since user licenses are the primary driver of the cost, it’s not correct to assume that a $100 plan with 20GB would cost 20x as much for 400GB.

    If your primary goal is to back up all of your information, a service like Dropbox may be the best for you.

    There are many other features included in ShareFile that are not in Dropbox, like MS Outlook Plug-in, data retention policies, AD integration, robust reporting, etc. Also, permissions are much more granular. When you share a folder with someone, you can designate whether they can upload/download/delete.

    Feel free to reach out to me or someone on our team and we’d be happy to show you a full demo of the system so you can better understand how we differ from Dropbox.


    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      I already heard from someone on your team, and he couldn’t explain why there was so much BS in your marketing materials, either.

      The fact that your plans are meant for multiple users only makes the paltry storage space you offer more ridiculous. And all those extra “features” don’t amount to much, because they just make ShareFile harder (and more annoying) to use.

      • Avatar William Chuang says:


        I think that you’re being unfair to ShareFile. I think that ShareFile is really meant for larger companies, not solos and small firms like you and me. DropBox is great for folk like us, but larger companies may want to have users to have access to some files but not others—imagine if they can share files with their clients, but each client can only see their case folder. They might want to have a uniform password policy using Active Directory—imagine having to manage 50 people who lose their passwords all the time, then multiply that by two because they forgot their Dropbox/ShareFile password. Enterprise guys may also want phone and email support, or have their own branded access website so they can look cool to their clients. DropBox does not support any of this functionality, and ShareFile is cheaper when you have multiple users.

        I have problems with DropBox. They don’t really say that all of your data is being transmitted by 256-bit AES-secured SSL channels. I think it’s because the apps aren’t protected or encrypted—their apps recently leaked a bunch of passwords so clearly their implementation is not good. I really would opt for SpiderOak or CrashPlan to encrypt data on your side of the fence rather than trust a service that holds the encryption key.

        • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

          You may be right about the target user, but if so, I think Citrix has badly misjudged its clients’ storage needs.

          And that doesn’t excuse the extremely misleading PDF I attached.

  3. Avatar William Chuang says:

    I definitely agree that the ShareFile marketing sheet should be redone. It’s deceptive and Dropbox has a good chance to sue for unfair competition/false advertising. I would not use ShareFile, either. At this rate, you’re much better off rolling your own file server if you need access granularity and the like.

  4. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    The number of thumbs-downs on my comments tell me this post is making its way around the ShareFile office.

  5. Avatar Kenneth Hoffman says:

    I am in a trial with Sharefile now and cost is a factor. For a third the cost, I am thinking of It is HIPPA, FINRA compliant. is another alternative too for file sharing and storage.

  6. Avatar Michele Ballagh says:

    First, for the record, I’m not employed by Sharefile. I have a small firm in Canada (2 lawyers and 2 staff) and we are very happy with Sharefile.

    First and foremost, Sharefile lets me brand our page with our own logo creating a seamless and professional experience for clients. The fact that you can’t do this with Dropbox or Clio is a deal-breaker for me. Second, we simply and easily send ALL our email attachments through Sharefile using their Outlook plug-in. So no matter the size of the attachments or the setting on the recipients email filters, the email gets through. It also increases the security of our email communications with clients who have to login to download our reporting letters. Third, we routinely grant clients access to their own folder on the system to upload and/or download voluminous PDF documents required for litigation matters. They get their own password that is administered by Sharefile – less IT support required! Fourth, Sharefile has a “gadget” that you can put on your firm website through which clients can log into their folder at any time. We haven’t gone that far yet because we need to do some general overhauls of our web site, but I hope to one day avoid sending client multiple copies of documents and bills that they’ve somehow managed to lose. They will simply be able to go to our web site and download any documents from their own folder that they want to view again at their leisure without using up my staff’s valuable time. I understand that we could set up a similar file sharing site on our own server, but that would require extensive IT support to set up and maintain – alot of headaches and a waste of money.

    The one feature lacking that I’ve been asking Fileshare to add is a secure email function so that we can put a gadget on our website through which clients can send us secure email messages within Fileshare. In my opinion, clients need an easy option to send secure email messages to us without the rigamarole associated with sending encrypted emails. I haven’t yet been able to convince a client to use encrypted email.

    I’ve looked at Dropbox briefly, but it looks like a consumer driven product and does not convey the professional image that I want to give my clients.

  7. Avatar Michele Ballagh says:

    At present, we have the set the system so that all the documents that we upload to Sharefile are automatically set to be removed after 30 days. This keeps our storage well below the maximum level. If/when we start uploading all documents for permanent access by clients, I expect that we will have to be vigilant in removing closed files to keep the storage costs under control.

    No, we are not paperless. We do not use Sharefile as a backup system. We use it as a method of communicating with our clients. We have a server and back up our server by other more effective and efficient means.

  8. Avatar Michele Ballagh says:

    By contrast with Dropbox, Sharefile is a “professional”, “seamless”, “easy” and “secure” way to share files with our clients. Our experience with Dropbox is that it is none of these things. I am willing to pay for value. I understand that expense is not the only criteria for evaluating a service.

    • Sam Glover Sam G. says:

      Dropbox doesn’t make much sense for sharing files with clients. Which makes it odd that ShareFile is so eager to position itself as a Dropbx competitor that it is willing to misrepresent things.

      There are plenty of options for a client portal, but ShareFile seems like a reasonable choice, if you ignore the marketing department.

      • Avatar Andy says:

        Sam is wrong. I use Sharefile and Dropbox. There is no comparison. Sharefile is way easier and has way better features. It’s not meant to back up your files. We get 10 GB of storage each for 8 users and that let’s us share more than we want to.

  9. Avatar Kenneth Hoffman says:

    Here is a good whitepaper on file share services.

  10. Avatar Insop Song says:

    I am actually a ShareFile customer. We use ShareFile as an alternative solution to sFTP which can have some issues with file corruption. We were able to implement the solution wihtin a day and have only had 1 issue with the servers being down a few hours this past year with network issues. The ease of use of the product and general functionality and auditing is a compelling reason to take a look. If you are looking at ShareFile as a Cloud base File Server, then I would say that alternate strategies abound. As far as the Microsoft Solution, the Global Outages and the level of support you receive is a joke. For an alternate Sharepoint Solution, you should consider Hyper Office, espeically if you are a small to mid size shop. The total cost of ownership of Sharepoint is not attractive compared to Hyper Office.

  11. Avatar mocquery says:

    I also believe offers a far more relevant comparison to Sharfile. This service appears to expose the true weakness of Sharefile. Pricing & Storage. Sharefile plans are ridiculous for the solution being offered. This is commodity stuff, it is no longer cutting edge tech. I think they are taking a punt. These rather futile attempts to justify the costs and limitations only serve to highlight the lunacy of it all.

    Dropbox,, Dropsend, Droplr, all more useful and better value than Sharefile, sorry. Plus Dropbox recently doubled user capacity at no extra cost. 100gb extra for free!

    Sharefile note to self: time to listen to your target market and rethink.

    It is a shame. Perhaps greed is the motivation and they’re just unable to give up on the dream of being wealthy for minimal effort. My 2p.

    • Avatar mocquery says:

      I forgot to mention, in addition to the dropbox doubling of capacity, we have 1tb storage/transfer with A fraction of Sharefile cost. Integrated and sync’d in real time across all user systems/platforms, secure granular file sharing, the list goes on.

  12. Avatar Kevin says:

    Found this post while researching ShareFile reviews, since I am considering implementing it for my 33 lawyer, 24 support staff law firm. Our goal is similar to Michele Ballag’s use of the service: a simple, professional way to send and receive large and/or confidential files to and from clients.

    This “project” started because I had some angry partners approach me complaining that clients were emailing huge confidential files that were either getting rejected by the client’s email server, our email server, or somewhere along the way. This bothered me because: 1. email is not designed for large file transfer, 2. email is not a secure way to share files, and 3. email attachments are untraceable.

    So, I started searching for services that would allow me to do several things: provide an easy way for my lawyers to send large files, allow external users to send files without installing any software or signing up for any 3rd party account, all of this being encrypted along the way. Capacity was not a major concern, since these files are being saved into our document management server and backed up offsite nightly.

    I started looking around for different options.. I did not want to open up an FTP server for security reasons. I tried to sign up for trials from Dropbox “Teams”, and “Enterprise”. I was weary of using Dropbox because of their large data breach, and chose not to further pursue their trial when: 1. there was no direct phone number/email contact information on their website.. they just had a form you fill out, and 2. it took them several days to simply respond to my request for a trial (bad taste already). was quick to respond and set up a trial that same day. The customized web portal was nice, and I liked the idea of giving clients a customized email address where they could send large files, and it would be uploaded to our portal along with a notification email being sent to the receiving lawyer. This makes it quite easy for the external client, since all they need to do is attach files normally, and then send it off to the email address. However, this still does not resolve issues that come up from constraints outside of my control (i.e., email size restrictions from the sending server). Additionally, my lawyers would be required to log onto and use their processes for uploading/sending files out. This isn’t a big deal for those of us that are comfortable with technology, however, many of my lawyers would find these steps too much (and might end up messing up settings along the way). After a few things didn’t work as advertised, I had to open up a support case with They eventually helped me get things configured correctly though.

    Perhaps by coincidence, ShareFile called me a few days later and pitched their product to me. After going through a live web demo of the use of their product, I was very impressed. Basically, I log onto the ShareFile and create an account for each of my lawyers. Then, I install an Outlook add-in to each of their machines. I can then enter in their credentials in the add-in so that it is automatically populated if desired. When a lawyer wants to send a file to an external party, they just start a new email in Outlook, click on the “send a file” button, and then select the file they want to send. This automatically places a link in the email being composed, and the file is uploaded to ShareFile automatically. When the external party receives the email, they click on the link and are taken to a personalized ShareFile site with our company name/logo and are prompted to enter in their name/email address (and password, if we require it). Once submitted, they are taken to a page with a preview of the file. From there, they can click on a “Download” button and it will be saved to the external party’s hard drive. Once they download it, an email is sent to my lawyer that sent the file, informing them that their file was downloaded with a timestamp and the name/email/etc. of whomever downloaded it. To receive a file, my lawyer will compose a new email and click “request a file” in the Outlook add-in, which automatically places a link in the composed email (as an alternative, the lawyer can choose to put the link in his or her signature so that all contacts have the upload link). When the external party receives this email, they click on the link, which takes them to the personalized ShareFile site where they are prompted to enter in their name/email (and password if we require) and from there can drag and drop or select files through Windows Explorer to upload. Once they upload the file, a notification email is sent to my lawyer with a timestamp and name/email of the uploader, along with a link to the file. Lawyers log in the same way the external party does, and can download from there. With the users I’m going with, it will end up being around $15 per user per month, which is reasonable in my opinion.

    So, for file/folder syncing and backups, I agree that ShareFile is perhaps not the strongest service. However, for easy/secure business file sending and receiving, I think ShareFile is a great option compared to FTP, email, Dropbox, yousendit, etc.

  13. Avatar John McCurry says:

    We use It allows us to upload any document and then share and distribute it from our own File Sharing Portal. Everything branded with our logo, colors and URL. It´s completely white label, our clients loves it (and think we created the software).

  14. Avatar Karey says:

    DropBox clearly states they are not Hipaa compliant. So if you are in the health care field this makes a difference. Its too bad because i like Drop Box but have to change just because of that. Also, when you are dealing with a Hipaa compliant company there are business associate agreements both of you have to sign. Thats how you know if they are Hipaa compliant or not. This is the response i got from DropBox today: “Thank you for your interest in Zoho Docs.I am Manoj, your business contact for Zoho Docs. We are currently with US-EU safe harbor compliance and we do not support HIPAA, HITECH or OMNIBUS compliance. Sorry to disappoint you on this front. We are working on it but not sure on the ETA as all this requires a lot of legal procedures. But will surely keep you posted once we are up and running with these compliance.”

    Hopefully this info helps someone else since i have spent so much time trying to figure it out myself.

  15. Avatar SharefileUser says:

    Sharefile misleads you with file retention policy. Once a file is deleted you have 30 days to recover after that you are screwed. I dont see any company buying into that bullshit. If an employee deletes a file from their sharefile folder – on 31st day its wiped from Sharefile system. Dont be misled by Sharefile’s data stays there forever (until you delete it then its 30 days)

  16. Avatar Matt Ussery says:

    I actually am a Sharefile Partner. We sell and implement Sharefile for many customers as a replacement for Sharepoint or Dropbox.

    If you buy Sharefile Platinum, which MSRP’s for $420 per user annually you get;

    Unlimited storage

    Sharefile also allows companies to share out their internal file shares using a Storage Zone Connector. If you go with this option only you would purchase Enterprise Licensing annually or perpetually, with a maintenance agreement. It is cheaper, but you don’t have to worry about cloud storage costs. It lets you leverage your internal file shares using Active Directory. You can also select an option within Storage Zone Connector properties to encrypt your data, both in flight and at rest.

    Sharefile also lets you connect Dropbox, Box, Sharepoint, OneDrive and many other “sharing type connectors”. This gives you a single pane of glass to manage all your file sharing.

    Sharefile has a lot of features, I understand marketing fluff all companies do it. But if you really give it a chance I think you will find that it fits very well into Law Firms very well, especially with Podio using Platinum, which is a complete CRM solution that can be highly automated with workflows.

    Hope this helps!

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