Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More control: Package Access Rules

Speaking about delivering dishes to tables... Do you want to share a dish between many tables, or you want only one particular connoisseur to have it?

In the world of computers, that would be called link sharing. And we have a great tool to curb link sharing. It's called Package Rules. You can set machine type, country, organization, or use other criteria to filter out undesired viewers.

Let's say you only want your US customers to be able to see an AutoCAD drawing, because it contains the data not allowed to be exported to foreign countries. The problem with other file delivery services that they can't stop file links from being forwarded. Once a file link is out on the Internet, it's completely public. Anyone can download the files. With our service you have a choice.

From the packages list, open a package to see package details. Our package is called Demo Test, and we set a few rules for it earlier. That's what you may see on the screenshots below.

Package details:

Now let's click on the Rules button. After you click on it, you will see the existing package rules:

Here you can see that this package already has 2 rules under positions 1 and 2.

Within the list, you can turn rules on and off, rearrange them according to their priorities, edit, or delete them.

Let's add a new rule that would limit the package accessibility to US-only visitors.
We type the rule name, select Country for the rule type, then select the United States from the list of countries, as shown below. To complete the rule, we need to choose False to disallow all countries other than the US, and for the sake of the example, let's pick the Display HTML item from the list of actions.

Optionally, we can choose to receive an email message when the rule stops a visitor.

Once you save it, you will see the new rule appear in the list:

From now on, when a visitor from another country attempts to open the package link, they will be presented with the following screen:

Once this rule triggers, we will receive an email message telling us about the event.

Instead of displaying an HTML message, you can redirect the visitor to a different file package, suitable for their country, just by selecting another action. Or you can redirect the visitor to your website page where you explain the file download policies for foreign visitors.

Same for computer platforms. If you have different file packages for Apple and PC, we can redirect the visitor to the correct file download form depending on their machine type.

Here is another real life example when the package rules may be useful.

Let's say you are an insurance agent sending a document to your commercial line client. You know their company name. Let's say you underwrite Google, and you only want Google employees to be able to download the document.

In this case, choose the "Org Name" for the rule type, then type Google in the value field, and set the appropriate action. After that, no one outside the Google campus, or rather, no one outside Google network should be able to download the documents via the package link. Even if you post that link on Facebook.

Of course, there are exclusions. There are situations when a Google employee may be working from home, therefore their computer will not appear as coming from Google network. In this case, the rule will stop them, and they won't get your file.

On the other hand, you should be aware that no network is absolutely secure. There is software as well as hardware that can spoof a computer IP address. In this case, the perpetrator may get around the rules to get access to the package by using such software or hardware. To prevent unauthorized access, you may decide to add more rules, or better protect the package with a password. E-mail the package password to the intended recipient in a separate message, or better read it over the phone to them.

There are other situations when package rules may not work as intended. Some people when travel may connect to the internet via a cell phone, in that case the organization name will be AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile, regardless of the state they are in.

Others may be using computers configured to use proxy internet providers. An example of one such provider is America Online. They dynamically change IP addresses in a way that they may appear coming from different parts of country, or even another part of the world. You should be aware about this as well. If you know where your main customers are coming from, you should be able to set the rules accordingly.

Our system of rules is not an absolute tool for securing your data. It's simple and efficient, and lots of our customers use it on a daily basis. For others, it might be a good idea to utilize multiple protection layers. For the best results, it might be a good idea to first run a few reports to see what the download traffic looks like, before setting up the rules. Just be aware that no information is absolutely private or secure, once it has been published.

Intelligent File Transfer

You might ask: "what makes EmailLargeFile so special?"

Well, that is the right question.

The short answer can fit in three words: intelligent file transfer.

If you are new to EmailLargeFile, you might not instantly notice the unique details that set us apart. We do have all the main ingredients for successful file transfer: file storage and upload tools, drop box, address books, user management, and more.

But after you upload files and submit your first e-mail, the valuable and important things will gradually unfold. You will notice that each file package you sent brings a flock of events which you can study and review, and most importantly, control.

On one page you can see which of the recipients have opened the file, and who needs an extra reminder. Another look will tell you which file package has suddenly received more downloads.

A quick report will tell which one of your file packages is so popular it's even being forwarded by your recipients to other parts of the world. Another report may give you a clue about the document workflow at your customer's headquarters, such as who opens the document first, where it gets forwarded, and when you can expect a response. Want to export results into Excel? You can do that with one click.

Our system captures as many events as possible, we pre-process and translate them for you when you run reports. The higher the subscription plan you choose, the more data, reports and tools you get. More detailed reports usually mean a better workflow picture. This brings you more flexibility in optimizing the file transfer part of your business.

It's often crucial for a business to know where their files or documents are most needed, so they can be delivered to the correct person at the correct place. We are here to make it happen. You order the dish, we serve it hot and never miss the table.

Our tracking system works globally. We track files all the way to their accurate destination, down to the latitude and longitude, postal and area code. Everyone knows that this sort of information is highly volatile. The geo location may be accurate today, but the next day the computer gets replaced, and the address shifts. We defeated this problem. We make sure the reports you get are the most accurate and reliable for this moment in time. We constantly feed our geolocation databases with new data, the data that associates each computer address in the entire world with its geographic position. That can tell you which country, city, and area code the file has been viewed at. In some cases, we may even tell you the name of a business who owns the computer that has received your data.

That unique combination of file tracking information and tools for its processing is what we call intelligent file transfer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Download All Files as ZIP

June 2020 Update: the pictures on this article are outdated as the Service has been completely redesigned in 2020.

Hi All,
You talk, we listen. We have been resisting implementing this feature for some time, but now after publishing it, we can say Yes, it's quite nice to be able to compress the entire package into a smaller ZIP.

So what exactly does that option give you?

First, it gives convenience of downloading all files in one click. See the screenshot?

This is how it looks. We added an option below the file list which says "Download all files". Once you click on it, a ZIP file is created and your browser will ask you to download or open the file.

Second, the ZIP format helps to compress the package files. So if you download the ZIP, it will actually be a bit smaller than the sum of all parts.

This comes at a price. We are still undecided on using strong compression algorithms. The problem is that the better the compression, the slower the process gets and the more CPU power is needed for it. Instead, our developers decided to shift the balance towards the faster compression. That of course does not make the ZIP files very small and tight. But the purpose of our web site is not to create the smallest archive files. We are constantly looking for better user experience, which means speed and responsiveness for a website like ours.

You might notice that the Download all files option does not show up for all packages. That means that either you opened the package from a mobile device or your package is too large. Some mobile devices can't open ZIP files without special applications, therefore we don't recommend people to download ZIPs to their Androids or iPhones.
If you are coming from a laptop or a desktop computer, then you can use the Download all files as ZIP option with no issues.

We threw in a couple of cool options on top of that.

First, the ZIP file will not contain duplicate files even if the package does have duplicates. If we detect there are the same files in the package, only one of them will make into the ZIP, and a Readme.txt file will be added explaining why certain files have been excluded.
Second, the ZIP file will always include the Description.txt file if the package has a description. Sometimes, the package owner may include meaningful information about the package in the Description field, so we decided to append it to the ZIP in the form of a text file.

Let us know what you think, you know the address: EmailLargeFile.Net/Contact.aspx

Monday, March 5, 2012

Internet Explorer 9 unable to download files via HTTPS

Hi All,
A few people have pointed us to the problem with Internet Explorer 9 when they cannot download activity reports in the Excel format from EmailLargeFile.Net.

The problem is that for certain web sites, specifically, those using SSL/HTTPS, the Microsoft browser blocks file downloads.
This appears to be a known issue with Internet Explorer 9.

To resolve the problem, open IE, then go to Tools\Internet Options, then under the 'Advanced' tab uncheck the box 'Do not save encrypted pages to disk'.

The problem and its resolution have been illustrated by Andy Grogan in this article Cannot Save/Open Attachments when using IE9

We are working on a permanent fix, but meanwhile please use the above workaround (which in fact enhances the security), or use Mozilla Firefox or other browsers.

UPDATE: Apparently, the issue was caused by a wildcard certificate which we purchased from Godaddy and which happen not to be accepted by some browsers, among which is Internet Explorer 9.0. While Microsoft has pushed a certificate update since, we nevertheless decided to give up Godaddy and go with Comodo certificates instead.