FleetBoston has introduced a Web-based safe deposit box for online document storage that also takes advantage of one of the real powers of theInternet: the ability to collaborate with people online. Called FileTrust, the product was developed as part of Fleet's e-Catalyst initiative, which began last year as a corporate-wide strategy for creating Web-enabled services.
"It's a natural extension of what banks do, which is the safe deposit box," said Blaise Heltai, managing director of global Internet strategy at $179 billion FleetBoston.
The product is available for a flat fee starting at $7.95 per month for 20 megabytes of storage space. There's no set-up fee or software to install. To rent space, all customers need is a browser and Internet connection. When they sign up at www.filetrust.com, they receive a personal ID number and password, allowing them to upload, download and view files in any format.
"Most documents are electronically generated anyway," said Heltai. "You can think of this as another disk drive. It just happens to be another disk drive that we manage, secure, and back up."
The solution is aimed initially at the growing number of home offices and small business professionals such as lawyers, certified public accountants and doctors who need to ensure the safety and integrity of their files and records.
"It's for people who have complicated needs, but little infrastructure behind them," said Heltai. "Large companies have well-established processes and technologies. But if you're smaller, there's an incredible amount of time wasted on faxing, e-mailing and scheduling appointments. That's what this technology can solve."