Attach2Cloud
This question and answer page presented in the form of an interview is an excellent way to discover Attach2Cloud.
If you have browsed the pages of this site, you probably have questions about Attach2Cloud that can be answered on this page.

ATTACH2CLOUD - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Question #1

What is Attach2Cloud?

Attach2Cloud is a Microsoft Outlook add-in that has two main goals:

  • Engage Outlook users to store their Outlook attached files in OneDrive.
  • Allow the attachment of files of any size (several GB if needed) in Outlook emails.

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Question #2

What is the point of storing Outlook attachments in OneDrive?

It is infinitely more productive for a group of users working on a set of files to store a single copy of these files in OneDrive rather than sending and returning these files by email to each other after each modification.

OneDrive is needed to support Office 365 advanced collaboration features like co-edition in Word Excel and PowerPoint, advanced file sharing features, selective file synchronization, integrated version management, etc.
If their files are not stored on OneDrive, O365 users cannot benefit from these features. This is the reason why OneDrive adoption is key to any Office 365 deployment project.

At customers starting with Office 365, and sometimes even at customers using Office 365 for some time already, the main vector of file exchange is Outlook.

Attach2Cloud provides a bridge between Outlook and OneDrive, accelerating and increasing OneDrive adoption and usage and, consequently, increasing the Office 365 advanced collaboration features adoption and usage as well.

Attach2Cloud not only improves Office 365 user productivity but it also significantly maximizes your investment in Office 365 by accelerating the adoption and increasing the usage of all Office 365 advanced collaboration features.

As a side benefit, the size of emails in which attachments have been replaced by OneDrive shortcuts is expressed in KB instead of MB (they are 1,000 times smaller). As part of a global use, this has an extremely positive impact on the agility and performance of Outlook and Exchange.

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Question #3

You’re talking about attaching files in emails with no size limit? Isn’t this contradictory with the goal of engaging Outlook users to use OneDrive more intensively?

Not at all, quite the contrary!

Indeed, these attachments are in fact only attached to emails in appearance. Attach2Cloud creates the appearance of an attachment but in reality, these files are uploaded to OneDrive and replaced by OneDrive shortcuts when sending the email. (This is performed automatically and transparently by Attach2Cloud).

For the Outlook users, everything is as usual: They create an email, attach some files of any size (several GB if needed) to it, complete their email and click on Send. That’s it!

In fact, for the O365 users, this feature of attaching files to Outlook emails without any size limits is often the most attractive Attach2Cloud feature, as a first step in Attach2Cloud usage. 
Then, they most often start understanding the benefits of OneDrive shared files (compared to standard Outlook attached files) very fast and let Attach2Cloud uploading most of their Outlook attached files to OneDrive.

Attach2Cloud is a great way to engage your Office 365 users to adopt OneDrive, or, for more advanced O365 users, to help them making a more intensive and more productive use of OneDrive!

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Question #4

No email size limit?

Yes, absolutely!

There is still a maximum size limit for an attached file that is the maximum allowed file size in OneDrive (currently set to 15 GB).

But regarding the email itself, there is no limit. With Attach2Cloud Outlook users can attach as many files as they want to their emails. The only rule is that a file cannot exceed 15 GB by itself.

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Question #5

How can Attach2Cloud help Office 365 customers refocusing large file exchanges made through specific platforms to OneDrive?

Thanks to Attach2Cloud, Office 365 customers can maximize their investment in Office 365, and regain control over the exchange of large files often performed through third-party platforms located outside the customer’s managed infrastructure.

As soon as Office 365 users see they can use Outlook to exchange large and very large files exceeding by far the maximum allowed Outlook email size limit, they instantly adopt this solution.
Because for O365 users, nothing is simpler and more efficient than writing an Outlook email and attaching files to it to cover this type of needs.

After all these years of restrictions on the Outlook maximum allowed email size, it is quite amusing to see our customers now encouraging the use of Outlook for their needs in terms of exchanging multi-GB large files!

This is a real revolution for all Outlook users!

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Question #6

Does Attach2Cloud impose a change in user habits?

No, and this is really a key point!

Once Attach2Cloud is installed, users continue attaching their files to their Outlook messages exactly as they usually do, using the Outlook paper clip button, dragging and dropping or copying and pasting files from Windows Explorer to their emails (or doing a right-click + “Send to Recipients” from Windows Explorer).

When they press the Outlook “Send” button, their email is put in their Outlook Outbox, as usual. Attach2Cloud then uploads the attachments to OneDrive and replaces them with OneDrive shortcuts before the email is effectively sent.

An optional panel, The Attached File Control Center, can be displayed at the time the users send their emails containing attached files, allowing to choose the attached files to upload to OneDrive as well as other options like target OneDrive folders, OneDrive file permissions and elapsing dates.

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Question #7

So from the users’ point of view everything is as if they had sent their email as usual?

Yes, absolutely!

Users can continue to work in Outlook and even send other emails while Attach2Cloud is uploading to OneDrive the attachments of some emails waiting to be sent in the Outbox.

Sent e-mails that do not contain attached files to upload to OneDrive will be sent without waiting for Attach2Cloud to finish with the emails it is processing.

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Question #8

Is it possible for the user to choose which attachments to replace with OneDrive shortcuts and which attachments to keep as attachments in his/her email?

Yes of course. At the time the user sends his / her email (when clicking the Send button in the email form), Attach2Cloud can display a window (the Attached File Control Center) listing the files attached to the email being sent.

In the Attached File Control Center, the user can check the attached files he / she wants to upload to OneDrive.
For attachments to be uploaded to OneDrive, the user can also specify a OneDrive target folder, OneDrive file permissions, and a number of days beyond which the file must be deleted from OneDrive.

Another possibility is to define rules that apply without user intervention (and in this case not to display The Attached File Control Center).
For example: “All attachments larger than 5 MB must be uploaded to OneDrive” or “All video attachments must be uploaded to OneDrive”.

A mix of the 2 above options is possible: Display the Attachment Control Center and define some rules. In this case, the attached files targeted by the rules will be pre-selected for upload to OneDrive in the Attached File Control Center.

What is really fantastic with Attach2Cloud is that users never have to wait:

If you compare with the usual way of uploading files to OneDrive (would it be from Windows Explorer or from Outlook), users have to wait for the files to be uploaded to OneDrive before to go to next steps (for instance modifying permissions or sending links to the uploaded files). (And these additional steps requires using a variety of menus and options).

In comparison, with Attach2Cloud, there is zero time lost:

Attach your files (whatever their size is) as usual to your email and send the email.

The Attach2Cloud Attached File Control Center dialog is displayed allowing you to set file permissions, target OneDrive folders and elapsing dates in a few clicks.
Validate this dialog and you are done!
Your email is put to the Outlook Outbox, the upload of the files to OneDrive occurs automatically and the email is sent then.

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Question #9

What is the default behavior of Attach2Cloud?

By default, Attach2Cloud displays the Attached File Control Center window when an email containing attached files is sent. All attached files are checked for upload to OneDrive, the proposed OneDrive target folder is “/Attachments”, file permissions are the default OneDrive permissions and automatic file deletion after a certain number of days is not enabled.

The user can change these settings for each of the files displayed in the Attachment Control Center window.

Of course, if the total size of the listed files exceeds the maximum size allowed for Outlook emails (e.g. 10 attachments of 5 MB each and a maximum allowed size of 35 MB for Outlook emails), the user will ultimately have to check (upload to OneDrive) at least 3 attachments.

Similarly, if the unit size of an attachment exceeds the maximum size allowed for Outlook emails, this attachment cannot be unchecked and will be uploaded to OneDrive.

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Question #10

Can Attach2Cloud parameters be managed centrally?

Yes, absolutely.

All Attach2Cloud settings can be managed using Windows Group Policy Objects (GPOs) or any other registry management tool.

For each of the Attach2Cloud parameters, it is possible to specify a default value (other than the default value encoded in the product), for example :
“Delete attachments stored in OneDrive after 90 days”
It is also possible to define rules that apply by default such as:
“MP4, MP3, AVI attachments must always be uploaded to OneDrive”

Settings and rules can be locked by the administrator to prevent users from modifying them.
Settings and rules not locked by the administrator are considered as default values and can be modified by users.

For example, if the number of days beyond which attachments should be deleted from OneDrive is specified but not locked, the specified number of days will be displayed in the Attached File Control Center window and users will be allowed to change it.
If this same setting is specified and locked, users won’t be able to modify its value in the Attached File Control Center window.

Another example; if this rule is specified and not locked:
“MP4, MP3, AVI files must be stored in OneDrive”
These attachments will, by default, be checked for upload to OneDrive in the Attached File Control Center window but users will be able to uncheck them if they don’t want to upload them to OneDrive.
If this same rule is specified and locked, users won’t be able to uncheck these files in the Attached File Control Center window. However, they will be able to specify (in the absence of other rules), the target OneDrive folders for these attached files as well as their OneDrive permissions and the number of days beyond which these files must be deleted from OneDrive.

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Question #11

Can users change the default behavior of Attach2Cloud?
Can they create their own Attach2Cloud rules?

Yes, provided that the Central Administrator let them the right to do so, users can use the Attach2Cloud Ribbon (in the Outlook main Window) to create their own rules.

Even better, you can let users create their own rules inside managed limits:

For example, The Administrator, can specify a range of values between 90 and 365 days for the number of days beyond which attachments stored in OneDrive must be deleted automatically. Users won’t be able to select values outside this range but they will be able to create their own rules in this matter, for example 60 days for video files, 365 days for Office documents etc.

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Question #12

How can customers who do not have a user registry administration tool configure Attach2Cloud?

As with all our software, we offer our customers to insert their settings into the setup packages we deliver to them.

By doing so, Attach2Cloud will work on the basis of their specifications from the moment it is installed.

The values of the parameters to be installed can also be specified at setup time, on the command line launching the Attach2Cloud setup package.

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Question #13

As we are talking about deployment, what is the size of the Attach2Cloud installation package?

11 MB for the 32-bit and 64-bit MSI packages and 21 MB for the executable package automatically installing the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Attach2Cloud depending on the MS Office version installed on the target computers.

Our installation packages are of course pre-configured for automatic and silent deployment.

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Question #14

What is the cost / benefit justification of Attach2Cloud?

Attach2Cloud delivers 2 major benefits:

  • Maximizing your Office 365 investments by accelerating adoption and increasing usage of Office 365 advanced collaboration features.
  • Providing Office 365 customers with an ideal solution to exchange large and very large files.

Depending on the customers, one or the other of these benefits is predominant, but in any case, they are fully mutually reinforcing.

Let’s take a closer look at this:

Maximizing your Office 365 investments by accelerating adoption and increasing usage of Office 365 advanced collaboration features.

Attach2Cloud provides a real service to all Office 365 Outlook users by transparently replacing the totally unproductive process of exchanging attached files by a new collaboration mode based on a single copy of these files stored in OneDrive and allowing the use of Office 365’s advanced collaboration features such as co-edition and integrated version management on these files.

Attach2Cloud does this without changing users’ habits. On the contrary, it takes their “file-sharing” habits (sending Outlook attached files) as a starting point for discovering new practices that are infinitely more productive (and infinitely more satisfying and rewarding for users on a daily basis).

At many Office 365 customers, Attach2cloud can really help Office 365 users adopting the Office 365 advanced collaboration features that OneDrive is key to, and thus very significantly improve the ROI of the Office 365 subscription.

Providing an ideal solution to exchange large and very large files.

Attach2Cloud, by providing Office 365 users with an ideal solution to the needs of exchanging large and very large files, makes it unnecessary to use specific platforms that are often located outside the customer IT administrative and security perimeter.

Using such platforms has financial and administrative costs and sometimes raises integration and security issues. It also requires using specific tools or web sites breaking the continuity of the Office 365 environment.

Attach2Cloud, by refocusing the exchange of large files to Office 365, cancels risks and costs while improving the productivity of O365 users. It also saves IT administrators time by eliminating the need to manage specific platforms.
 

In summary, for many Office 365 customers, Attach2Cloud has really the power to significantly increase Office 365’s return on investment.

This is particularly true for all organizations facing low to moderate Office 365’s advanced collaboration features adoption rate and not wishing to invest heavily in user training, as well as for organizations needing to exchange large and very large files internally and externally.

Office 365 is a fantastic collaboration solution… but only if users evolve their practices and use it “for real”.

For Office 365 customers with several thousand, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Office 365 users, what is the value of a 10%, 20%, 30% or more increase of their Office 365 subscription ROI?
In any case, by far higher than the cost of Attach2Cloud!

Corporate Image Improvement Benefits

Sending large attached files is more and more considered as outdated, and definitely as a practice from the past. It also tends to be perceived by the recipients of these files as annoying or even worse, as a lack of respect.

The people to which your MS Outlook users send the largest attached files, (i.e. the biggest amount of information / data), are most likely your company’s most important prospects, customers or partners.

These are precisely the people to whom your company wants to promote its best possible image.

Attach2Cloud contributes to give and image of modernity and of high efficiency to your organization. This is an important Attach2Cloud benefit you may not have thought of!

Organizational and Technical Benefits

From a technical point of view, Attach2Cloud reduces the size of emails for which it has replaced attachments with OneDrive shortcuts by a factor of 1,000. For example, the size of an email initially containing 35 MB of attachments will be reduced to a few tens of KB by Attach2Cloud.

This is an undeniable benefit in terms of agility and performance for all your Outlook users as well as your network infrastructures, especially if you have many remote locations with low speed internet links.

Moving away from the use of Outlook attachments to OneDrive shared files also reduces network bandwidth consumption, especially for files attached to emails copied to multiple recipients:
Generally all copy recipients don’t need all files, but they do receive a physical copy of them in their mailbox.
In the event of a response including a modification of one of the attached files of a copy email, users generally return all files to each other.
Thus, even for a small number of Cc recipients, each of the attached files is sent over the network and potentially stored tens or hundreds of times, and each recipient must sort through the updated files for each response.

This is a technical and organizational nonsense as well as a significant waste of time and IT resources (network bandwidth, O365 storage) that Attach2Cloud puts an end to.

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