Why we created FG Free

I recently had someone ask me why we created FG Free, the free version of FileGuardian. They thought we may lose some paying customers. Customers who would downgrade to FG Free vs. their current paying plan.  It’s a valid question and I’m sure there’s more people who think the same. I figured it would be good to explain the rationale then behind FG Free and why we thought it was a good idea.

When we started Shugo, we wanted to focus on providing solutions, no matter what they may be, to help all small businesses be secure. Obviously our initial foray into achieving this was FileGuardian, a secure file transfer solution catered to 1-50 employee companies. We’ve accomplished our goal in other ways too.  Whether it’s leading/hosting small business security education webinars or keynoting at industry conferences on small business security, we’ve used education as a second tool in our tool belt.

For a small business, we found having FileGuardian wasn’t enough.  What was equally as important was educating employees on why they needed to use it and the potential legal ramifications if they didn’t. Without education, it was almost like providing someone with a table saw but not giving them directions on when and how to use it.

Often times small businesses know that they should be secure, but the cost and burden of implementing security are major turn-offs. Especially when you put the two together, people start to cringe. “It costs me money (which small businesses fight for everyday) and it takes up time (which most don’t have)!” Well with FG Free, we want to take those concerns away. A free solution which takes 60 seconds to create. Pretty much a no-brainer, or at least we hope.

We also took a look at some of the online products/services we use internally. Services such as Highrise, MailChimp and Wufoo and how on each, we started on their free plan. We chose the free plan to take the product for a test drive – to ensure it fit into our needs. And we chose free vs. a free trial of a paying plan because we knew there was never any pressure to enter in payment information. We could use the service for free continually if we liked what we saw (and never be prompted to enter in a credit card).

In our minds, a free plan vs. a free trial of a paying plan is completely different. There’s a fundamental difference between the two. With a free plan, there’s never any pressure to worry about paying. A free trial (of a paying plan) comes with a prerequisite that a decision must come at some point on whether or not to start paying. We probably would’ve never started using Highrise or MailChimp or Wufoo if there wasn’t a free plan. If they didn’t have a free plan we would’ve never got hooked on the service and upgraded to a paying plan. So why not try that out on FileGuardian.

So that’s the rationale. We actually talked about FG Free for the past year and a half and kept on saying “we’re gonna do it”. I’m glad we did it — even though it was probably a little later than we hoped.

So if you use FileGuardian could you do us a favor and promote FG Free to other companies you know?  If you don’t use FileGuardian, try FG Free. What do you have to lose – it’s FREE…


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