Arup Group Ltd. is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, U.K., which provides engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment. The firm has over 13,000 staff based in 92 offices across 42 countries and has participated in projects in over 160 countries.
As Arup works on projects around the world, its staff and clients exchange digital models, documents and CAB files far too large to send over email. For several years, the firm relied on a custom-built file transfer system capable of handling files of up to 2 GB—a limitation that over time proved inadequate. Even files under this cap often took a long time to upload and download. As a result, approximately 60 percent of their employees turned instead to personal file transfer services including GlobalScape, Ipswitch and others, but these lacked effective security and control. Arup needed an enterprise solution that could make sending large files fast and simple, as well as allowing access to files from tablets and other mobile devices.
Arup chose Citrix ShareFile Enterprise for its simplicity of sending files of any size and for the ShareFile Microsoft Outlook Plug-in that lets people send files within their familiar email client for optimal ease and convenience. “We looked at a few other solutions and they were nowhere near ShareFile—their user interfaces were poor and not nearly as simple to use,” says Gareth Atkins, global IT security specialist for Arup. In addition, ShareFile offered employee mobility. Arup’s employees needed secure access to files from mobile devices including iPads and other tablets, and ShareFile helped facilitate that. The firm created multiple ShareFile StorageZones in each region to serve as local storage, greatly improving performance over its previous Europe-based in-house system for users in Australia and the Americas. Employees now use ShareFile for any file over 5 MB.
The ShareFile Microsoft Outlook plug-in feature allows Arup employees to send large files as easily as any email without worrying about size limitations or performance issues. “Users don’t have to think twice about sending a large file—they just attach the file and press send,” says Atkins. Users can also add more people to a file share easily, without sprawling email threads and forwards. “ShareFile has significantly sped up our workflows associated with sending files, helping us become more productive for our clients.”
“ShareFile has improved our relationships with our clients—they can get their documents from us more quickly, and we can track when they look at them to make sure they’re accessing the information we’re sharing in a timely manner,” says Atkins. Sometimes, clients request that the firm use a specified file sharing service. Arup uses ShareFile Connectors to integrate these third-party systems into its ShareFile environment, allowing it to accede to its clients’ wishes while maintaining ShareFile as its own corporate standard. “Many of our competitors don’t have a file sharing solution and struggle with large files. When we collaborate with one of these companies, we can invite the joint client to use our ShareFile solution, which makes us look more professional.”
“Our previous solution lacked encryption. With ShareFile we can encrypt files at rest—it definitely improves security,” says Atkins. ShareFile also allows Arup staff members to select how many times a shared file can be downloaded so they can control access granularly depending on current needs. ShareFile StorageZone Connectors help the file allow the use of third-party file transfer services when required by a client, without sacrificing its own security. “Users can connect into SharePoint, Dropbox and other systems from within our solution. This is a very big advantage for controlling our storage services, especially when we’re required to use a server that we don’t have any control over.”
Arup continues to expand its ShareFile implementation and plans to introduce additional mobile functionality soon. Meanwhile, the firm views Citrix as a key technology partner. “With Citrix, we can find the right solutions for day-to-day problems and get things working the way they should,” says Atkins.
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