Secure, Easy Managed File Transfer (Maybe)

YouSendIt makes e-mailing large, sensitive files secure and manageable by avoiding the pain of using FTP clients and servers.

The idea behind YouSendIt's namesake technology is to make the chore of sending files, especially large or sensitive files, easier and safer than it would be just attaching the files to an e-mail. There are a lot of reasons for doing this, the most obvious is that many e-mail servers have limits on how large a file can be attached to an e-mail, so if what you're sending is too big, you're out of luck.

A less obvious reason is that e-mail attachments aren't really very secure. Anyone with access to the e-mail server can open your attachment and examine it. This might be OK if the attachment is a photo of your Great Dane, Twinkie. But it's less OK if the attachment is a patient medical record or credit card information.

For images of YouSendIt in action, click here.

The reason YouSendIt exists is to provide a way to get large, numerous or sensitive files from one place to another securely and easily. It's designed to avoid both the pain of using an FTP client and server for large files and the security issues of all file transfers by managing the process in a way that's intuitive, encrypted and reasonably fast.

And YouSendIt proved to be a great solution for companies that need to send files securely, especially large files. But if you are running Windows 7, especially the 64-bit version, beware: You'll probably have to be satisfied with the Web interface. The available applications and plug-ins won't necessarily work for you in Windows 7, especially in the 64-bit version, although a company representative did say that an update is in the works.

I tested the corporate version of YouSendIt (there are also versions for small and midsize businesses, and for individuals, including a "Lite" version that's free). The corporate version, designed for enterprise use, allows you to give employees in your organization access to the file transfer capabilities of YouSendIt. You can also appoint other administrators and track the usage levels of individual users or groups of users. With YouSendIt, you can create groups of users in whatever manner you wish, such as by job function, location or some other criterion. (Each group will need a group e-mail address.)

The corporate version also includes a drop box feature that lets those outside your organization send material to you in the same way you'd send material, but without having access to your YouSendIt account.

Pricing for the corporate suite for five users is $16.99 per month per user or $999.99 per year; for 10 users, $12.50 per month per user or $1,499.99 per year; for 15 users, $11.00 per month per user or $1,999.99 per year; for 20 users, $10.00 per month per user or $2,499.99 per year; and for 25 users, $9.99 per month per user or $2,999.99 per year. Larger licenses are negotiated individually.

In its most basic mode, YouSendIt is a Website that includes a form on which you can add the e-mail addresses of your intended recipients, a subject line and any comments, in addition to an upload function that lets you choose the files on your computer (or an attached server) to be sent. It also gives you the option of receiving a return receipt, and using a password and automatic tracking. A simple click on "Send" and the file is on its way. Your recipients will get a link to the file, which they can download to their computer. If you chose to be notified of delivery, you'll receive an e-mail message confirming the files you sent made it to their destination.

Because of its store-and-forward nature, the YouSendIt process adds to your convenience by not requiring that recipients be around to receive the file. They can go to the site within the time limit you set and get the file at their convenience.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...