BizSpark Featured Startup on Azure - Send Files Securely

Send Files Securely is a service for sending files securely over the Internet without the need to install or configure any software. The application was put together on the MIcrosoft stack by founder Andrew Johnson of the United States.

Users simply upload a file and Send Files Securely secures it. All files are transmitted over HTTPS and stored encrypted using AES. Send Files Securely is ideal for sending files containing confidential information- accountants, lenders, lawyers, and anyone else needing to send sensitive data can benefit from using this service.

According to founder Johnson, Microsoft technology has been a vital component in the creation of Send Files Securely.

"The application is an ASP.NET C# application with an Azure SQL Database backend. Windows Azure was selected to host Send Files Securely for many different reasons, one being the storage options available. Send Files Securely has the potential to store a virtually unlimited number of files which are kept in Azure’s geographically redundant storage. Another reason Windows Azure was selected was due to its scalability. As business grows, Azure makes it very easy to expand server capability and capacity," he says. 


Do you build for scale first, or for revenue? How are those things related in your mind?

I build for scale first. The saying goes, “if you build it, they will come.” To add to that, if you build it for scale, you’ll be able to handle the traffic when they come. I like to think that if you build a solid product, that people want to use, then the revenue will come in due time.

Do you make reasonable predictions about how you are going to achieve revenue and then test them out, or do you start with a business model and deploy it, to see if it brings in revenue?

Revenue is always a goal, but not necessarily always the main goal. With that being said, during the early stages I feel it’s important to think about revenue and plan accordingly. Business plans should definitely include reasonable predictions for achieving revenue and sustainability.

What questions do you and your technical co-founder / engineering team feel are the most important to solve about the business aspects of your company? As a technical founder there are many challenges that come with the business aspect of a startup, some of these include:

  • Marketing: after the service is launched, how are we going to generate traffic?
  • Converting: how will we turn visitors into paying customers?
  • Branding: how will we establish and maintain our brand?


What impact or legacy do you hope to make in the market and in the business world?

Security is hot topic at the moment and I don’t see it fading any time soon. Send Files Securely plans to climb to the top of the market providing easy to use solutions for security problems. We hope to bring more awareness to online security and privacy with a focus on securely transferring sensitive data over the Internet.

What characteristics do you possess that make you an entrepreneur? What makes your startup a startup?

There are a few key characteristics that make me an entrepreneur:

    1. Drive – I get things done. This is a key characteristic that differentiates an entrepreneur and just another person with an idea. As an entrepreneur, I know what needs to be done and I have the determination and drive to get it done.
    2. Persistence – I know few entrepreneurs that made it on their first try. As an entrepreneur, I have the persistence to try and try again.
    3. Knowledge – An entrepreneur should be a constant learner. With today’s technology, we have so many learning resources available. I’ve made it part of my daily routine to spend time listening, reading, or watching something that will increase my knowledge in some way. 

Send Files Securely is a definitely a startup. It provides a great service, is in the early stages, and has so much potential. As the creator and currently the sole employee, I am anxious to see this service grow into a seasoned company serving thousands of individuals and businesses worldwide.


Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?

Microsoft has been a great partner in the building of Send Files Securely. Microsoft software and technology has been key in making Send Files Securely what it is today as well as what it can become in the future.

Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?

Microsoft has made some great strides in recent years in providing the tools needed for a business of any size to succeed. With the release of the Windows Azure cloud platform, the possibilities are virtually unlimited. Whatever your company’s goals are, Microsoft has the technology to help make it happen.


Tell us about your Azure based solution.

Send Files Securely uses Azure for almost all aspects of its operations- Virtual Machines for website hosting, SQL Database for data, and Storage for file storage.

How is Azure implemented in your solution?

The SendFilesSecurely website is hosting on an Azure Virtual Machine running Windows 2012 and IIS 8. SQL Database is used as its database backend. Encrypted files are stored as blobs in Azure Storage with Geo- replication.

How did you get excited about Azure?

What first attracted me to Azure were the cloud storage capabilities. With a simple API, I am able to store a virtually unlimited number of files in cloud storage that is replicated across multiple instances in different geographical regions. On top of that the management portal is easy to use and deployment is very fast.

What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?

Azure Storage was the main feature that prompted me to build on Azure. Send Files Securely is in the business of storing encrypted files. This has the potential to require a huge amount of storage. In years past this would mean managing many different servers. With Azure, the redundant storage is all taken care of for me.

Another feature of Azure that enticed me was how easy it is to deploy and load balance server instances. As our website grows, we’ll easily have the ability to increasing capacity.

What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?

Give it a try! Windows Azure has so much to offer and makes it really simple to get started. You can start out small and grow as needed.


Andrew Johnson, CISSP – Founder, Send Files Securely