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See our How-To Videos on YouTube for more help.
Read our User’s Guide for an overview and some how to get started information.
What is File Drop Vault?
File Drop Vault is a system for secure, verifiable, file transfers on the Internet. It was designed to be used by professionals who need to collect confidential and sensitive information from colleagues, clients or patients, collaborators, and send confidential information back. Because only the recipient has the encryption key needed to read the file (and associated information, like the file name), only the intended recipient has access to the data. Files sent are “fingerprinted” and can be tracked by the sender. Proof of delivery includes proof of the contents of the file. No other system can prove so clearly that the recipient received exactly what the sender sent. Certified mail, courier services, fax and email can’t prove that the recipient got a particular file. File Drop Vault LLC has a patent pending on this unique system.
Who uses File Drop Vault?
File Drop Vault is used by licensed professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, pharmacists, mortgage brokers, and their clients/patients. For example, a doctor may use File Drop Vault to enable patients to send previous lab results prior to an appointment, or send a patient the result of a test. A lawyer may use File Drop Vault to share discovery documents with another lawyer. The high security end-to-end encryption makes File Drop Vault the right choice when sharing confidential or sensitive information. Anyone can send files to File Drop Vault Professional Members so users need only a computer and access to the internet.
Questions About Using File Drop Vault
Can I install FDV’s app on my Mac, Windows PC, or Linux box?
Yes! File Drop Vault is built with versions to run on the most common operating systems. It runs on Windows (7 and later), Linux, and will run on Mac OSX (version available by request). Go to our download page and follow the instructions to download and install.
How do I send a file with File Drop Vault?
There are two ways to send a file with File Drop Vault. Professional Members have a tool on their website, usually on their contact info page. Simply go to that page and click on the link to send them a file using File Drop Vault, fill in the form, and click “Send.” You can see a video demo on how to do this HERE. The other way is to install our app – FDVSend. FDVSend works like an email client except without the spam, lost attachments, and uncertainty. Once installed you simply choose the recipient, pick the file, and hit send. The How-To Video is on YouTube. In either method you get a progress screen that shows you that the file was successfully sent and a tracking number so that you can prove the file was sent, and even which file it was.
How do I receive a file using File Drop Vault?
To receive a file you must have our app installed. Professional Members can receive files sent either from the tool on their website or from the FDV app. When a file has been sent to you, it plays a sound and the icon changes. Log in to the app, click on the receive file tab and select the file from the list.
If you are not a Professional Member then you need to install the app and be sponsored by the Professional Member from whom you want to receive files. The process is simple: 1. Install the FDVSend app. 2. Send a file to the Professional Member with whom you are working (communicate with them first). 3. The Professional Member will then enable you to receive. Your FDVSend app will upgrade to FDVPlus and be ready to receive files next time you log in.
Why can’t I use the rest of the application when I have a “Compose” window open?
The compose window is modal – by design it prevents you from doing other actions in the system. This is a security feature that prevents you from forgetting that you have an open window that could be used to send a transaction.
How do I become a Professional Member?
Becoming a Professional Member is easy for licensed professionals in the USA and Canada. Simply install the FDVSend app. Fill out the application form and send us your professional license and identity documents. We verify your license and identity, process your payment, and upgrade you to Professional Member. Your app will automatically be upgraded to FDVPro.
How do I track a file, prove delivery, or verify file contents?
In the FDV application, you can simply select the transaction and read the file tracking information from the details window below. If sent online, a progress screen shows you the file status during upload. When it is uploaded, you are provided with a tracking number and the Internet IP address from which the file was sent. You can click on the “Track Your Files” link on the File Drop Vault home page and enter the tracking number from the form. Clicking “Submit” will take you to the file delivery information page. On this page you can see when the file was uploaded, whether the file has been delivered, and, if so, when. You can also select a file to compare with the sent file. File Drop Vault will compare the “fingerprint” of the file you select with the “fingerprint” of the file sent and display whether they are the same or not.
What is a transaction ID or tracking number?
A tracking ID or number is a unique identifier for each file transfer. It can be used to track when the file was sent, when the recipient was notified, and when the file was downloaded or deleted. Other data is also available. The tracking ID or number is provided to the sender when the file is sent. It is also stored in the app, if the sender uses the FDV app to send the file. The recipient also receives the tracking number and sender’s IP address and can view the log of events.
I got a file that looks suspicious, what should I do?
If you receive a file that you suspect may be a virus, the easiest and safest thing to do is to simply delete it without downloading. You may also want to contact the sender, especially if the sender is known to you, and has sent worthwhile files to you before. If you the can’t allay your suspicions, you can delete the file by going to the Receive Files tab of the FDVPro or FDVPlus application and highlighting the file in the inbox and selecting “Delete”. We recommend that you not accept any file that may contain executable virus code – for example, viruses commonly have .zip, .exe, .doc, .xls, .bat, and other executable extensions.
How Does Sponsorship Work?
Sponsorship creates a 2-way secure channel for file sharing between a Professional Member and a FDV user who is not a Professional Member. Professional Members can sponsor any non-professional member who has installed the FDVSend application and then sent a file to the sponsoring professional. This enables the non-professional member to upgrade their application to FDVPlus (automatically, the next time they log in) and allows the Professional member to send files to that user. To sponsor, the non-professional member must send a file to the Professional. We strongly recommend that the Professional verify the identity of the sender, for example by having them include a code word in the subject, or by other means. Once the Professional receives the file, they can highlight the transaction in the Received Files table, right click and select “Sponsor User”. We also recommend that you right click and select “Add to Address Book” as well. Clicking “Sponsor User” upgrades the member to FDVPlus mode and allows them to receive a file from you, the sponsor. Adding them to the address book enables you to easily enter their name in the send form by simply starting to type their name. Professional members pay for their use of the system and are responsible for any costs incurred by sending files to those they sponsor. Refer to your agreement for more information. Professional members may end their sponsorship of a sponsored member at any time, for example, when the sponsored members relationship with the Professional member ends. To end sponsorship, simply select a message received from the sponsored member in the Receive Files table, right click, and select “Remove Sponsorship”. The Sponsored member cannot un-sponsor themselves.
How secure is File Drop Vault?
Security is the top priority for File Drop Vault. The system was designed for the most sensitive information any person might need to share with a professional. All communications are encrypted using SSL during transport. We use a combination of AES-128 or AES-256 military grade encryption and RSA public-private key encryption to encrypt files before they ever get stored on our servers. Because the key to decrypt the files is only available to the intended recipient, File Drop Vault cannot access any confidential data in the files sent through our system and stored on our servers. We do not have a backdoor for the federal government. Hackers are often tempted to break into systems that store lots of confidential data, but we only store publicly available data, such as professional’s names and business contact info, and encrypted data that even we can’t access. If you send a file using File Drop Vault we cannot tell you what was in it, no matter what. So be sure to keep a copy of the original file in a safe place, backed up. If you have more detailed questions about security, please contact us.
Is File Drop Vault HIPAA, PCI, etc. compliant?
Both HIPAA and PCI require maintenance of a complete security plan and procedures. No single app or tool can bring you into compliance. But because File Drop Vault keeps files and associated confidential data encrypted from end to end, it can be used as part of your overall HIPAA or PCI compliance plan. File Drop Vault also has the data security and access logs needed to comply with most strict regulations. In addition, we recommend you do at least three minimal things to secure your systems: 1. Ensure all users have and use unique individual usernames and passwords that are secret and not easy to guess. 2. Keep connections to your computers and network physically and digitally secure with firewalls and locked doors/cabinets, etc. 3. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware tools to prevent viruses and spyware.