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Relying on person-to-person file transfers or email attachments between users is risky for essential business processes and cumbersome for users. IT organizations want to have a way to enable users to collaborate on documents across wide area networks (WANs) as if they were local, while maintaining the integrity and availability of essential files.

IT organizations must decide how best to address this problem. For example, network equipment vendors push the benefits of WAN-optimization appliances, which promise to solve a wide range of problems. But these appliances do not deliver the best results for sharing large files, or sharing files with the frequent access typical of active collaboration.

This paper outlines the essential requirements for file sharing across WANs; briefly discusses the limitations of appliance-based WAN optimization when applied specifically to document collaboration; and describes how GlobalSCAPE Wide Area File Services (WAFS), a software-based file replication solution, enables secure and reliable collaboration across WANs with the performance of local file sharing.

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