Hightail Review – Send & Receive Large Files (10GB) Online?
Cloud storage is a must in today’s world of digital file management on desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and other digital devices. Not only do you need a place to store all your photos and videos and documents securely, no doubt you’ll want to share them with others at some point. Hightail is a robust solution to doing it all easily.
Never heard of Hightail? You might recognize its former name, YouSendIt, which was changed to Hightail in July, 2013. According to the company’s website, this was done in order to better compete with cloud storage giants Dropbox and Box, a decision made shortly after CEO Brad Garlinghouse joined the team and spearheaded some major changes.
Located in California, USA, with offices in Campbell and San Francisco, Hightail was founded by Ranjith Kurmaran. Kumaran has managed to grow the company from one simply providing a way to share large files to today’s incarnation offering unlimited online sharing and storage capabilities for both personal and enterprise-level needs.
The company is active on social media. Their Facebook page has well over 100,000 likes, but most of the content is geared toward advertising and promotion. Their Twitter page mostly rehashes the same content from Facebook, although there are a few interesting sidelines for their followers. The same holds true for their LinkedIn and Google+ company pages. Hightail’s Vimeo page lists quite a few videos including helpful how-tos mixed in with promotional pieces. On the company’s blog, you’ll find interviews with customers that provide ideas on innovative ways to use their products as well as key personnel spotlights.
Send & Share Large Files (upto 10GB) On Hightail
Once installed on your desktop, Hightail becomes a file folder on your computer and automatically links to your online cloud storage space. It couldn’t be easier to drag and drop files into the folder or download them to any of your computing devices (with the appropriate Hightail app installed).
A Hightail account allows you to send and share files of up to 10GB in size (250MB for a free account). Much like DropBox, you can create folders to share with colleagues or friends, limiting their access to only the files you wish them to download and edit and including an expiration date, if you wish. Sharing options include sending an email directly from your Hightail account or sending the recipient a link to the folder.
If you work with more than one type of device, say a PC and a smartphone, you can access your own files on either one, enabling file editing and transferring on the go.
I gave it a try and found that I could easily email a file from my Hightail desktop app. It took a minute or so to appear in my inbox, but that could be due to the speed of my internet connection.
After downloading the app on my Android smartphone (via Google Play), I wasn’t quite as impressed. Social media sharing options include Pinterest, Facebook and Google Hangouts. You can do simple editing of photos, such as straight cropping or using the trapezoidal selection option. Unfortunately, the app might stop unexpectedly and logged me out at various times. Every time I accessed the app, I had to log in again (annoying, but probably best for security purposes). Although you are supposed to be able to digitally sign documents using the mobile app, that wasn’t an option when I installed the free version on my Samsung smartphone. It could be that I had to receive the file via email in order for this function to work properly, however.
By logging into your Hightail account online, you can easily see a summary of all activity on your files. An overview screen shows which files have been sent and received and any applicable expiration dates for the data.
Synching of data occurs regularly and automatically. If you wish to do a manual sync, all you need to do is right click on the Hightail taskbar icon and select that option.
Unlimited e-Signatures & 256bit SSL Encryptions
A unique feature of Hightail is the ability to digital sign documents, either drawing your signature (with a mouse or finger, if using a smarthone) or typing your name. The software includes identity verification, password protection and file tracking. You can also add an expiration date to the file’s link to further ensure security. With a free account, however, these options cost extra (other than verifying the recipient’s identity and receiving an email delivery receipt) and the files must be accessed and sent via your online cloud account, rather than the desktop app; it wasn’t available on the Android app, either.
Security for your data is provided via 128-bit SSL encryption (sending) and 256-bit AES encryption (storage). They are compliant with SAS 70 Type II, SSAE, SOC 2 Type 2, TRUSTe, PCI, HIPAA and GLBA, making this an ideal option for those who deal with sensitive documents, such as doctors and real estate agents.
Reach Out for Help Through Telephone, Email & Live Chat
Hightail offers support to its customers via phone, email or live chat online – and a nifty little icon indicates whether or not the team is available at the time you submit a request. You can also search their online knowledgebase for an answer to your question. Representatives are available for a call between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM, PST.
One file I saved to my Hightail storage wasn’t visible via my online account, for some reason. I submitted an email ticket for this issue and got an onscreen acknowledgement stating it would take up to 2 business days for a reply. Frankly, this response time is unacceptable and with my free account, online chat is not an option. I did not get an answer to my email support ticket until more than 12 hours after submitting it, so don’t expect a speedy response to your issue using this method.
FYI: In browsing through the support forum online, it seems a recurrent issue is billing problems. Responses by support team members to these posts are, not surprisingly, sluggish (2 – 3 days, on average).
Hightail Unlimited Storage: Is It Worth the Cost?
You can get a free account from Hightail simply by downloading it. The site will ask for a credit card number to access the trial version of a Professional or Teams account, but if you simply close the box and indicate you only want a free account, Hightail allows you to download it without including payment details. It’s doubtful the free version would be robust enough for business user; it limits you to a maximum file size of 250MB, total storage space of 2GB, 1GB download bandwidth monthly and a maximum of 100 file downloads. One nice thing – there are no annoying popup ads to deal with, as there usually are with free versions of some software.
The next step up is a Professional account, which costs $15.99 per month or $159.99 per year. With this account you can share up to 2GB files, you get unlimited storage and E-signature documents and the Microsoft Outlook plugin. For the small business owner, a Teams account allows for two to 100 users and custom branding at a cost of $24.99 per month per user (or $249.99 annually). Hightail also offers an Enterprise account with customized pricing for your organization.
The price for a Professional account is in line with other, comparable services. However, many of the other online storage services offer less robust accounts for a lower price (generally around $100 a year like JustCloud) so it really depends on your personal or business needs as to whether Hightail would be worth the annual price.
Conclusions: Is Hightail a Recommended Cloud Storage Provider?
Of course, Hightail isn’t perfect. There are two things in particular that make this cloud storage company lose points, namely:
Hightail cloud storage is a great solution for businesses, including large enterprises. The robust features don’t come cheap, but they easily allow for collaboration, sharing files and signing documents when that is a major focus of your business.