foldermaestro-logoThere are plenty of options for businesses seeking file-sharing and collaboration systems, but FolderMaestro, a division of a company called Peer Software, says it’s faster and cheaper than competitors like Microsoft SharePoint. Now it’s targeting a new audience with File Check-Out, a product launching on Monday that makes it easier to collaborate when you’re out of the office and using a laptop.

General manager Jimmy Tam describes FolderMaestro as a “[file sharing service] Dropbox for enterprise, with file version conflict control as the main differentiator.” The company says it helps companies with multiple locations collaborate on files by creating a local version on each server, allowing those files to be accessed more quickly. When someone starts working on a file, it gets locked across all servers; then when editing is complete, all copies get updated.

File Check-Out brings a similar approach to a different situation — instead of a company with multiple offices, it’s useful for a business that may have only one office, but still needs to coordinate among team members as they access files remotely, usually on their laptops. So if you want to work on a document at home, on your laptop, it lets you check that file out, locking it down until you’ve uploaded your edits.

Tam says File Check-Out should help FolderMaestro expand among small and medium-sized businesses — rather than paying more than $10,000 for a file-sharing server, they can buy File Check-Out for $249 per laptop. And even if they want to use it in conjunction with FolderMaestro’s Multi-Server File Collaboration application, that’s still cheaper at $4,000 per server. (But it is more expensive than web-based collaboration tools like Google Docs, which offers a free version and a professional version for $50 per person per year. Another downside is that it’s only available for Windows computers for now.) You can see a product comparison chart created by FolderMaestro below (click to enlarge).

Peer Software is based in New York and says that across its various products and divisions, it has more than 8,000 corporate customers.

Update: A YouSendIt spokesman emailed me to dispute some of the information in the chart below:

Although it’s subjective, there is no retraining of employees required, especially if you benchmark it against SharePoint, which got a “yes” in that category. Also, YouSendIt has always offered resumable upload in case of network outage, which impacts your last grid category. Finally, YouSendIt is not usage based, there is a free option and monthly sub tiers at fixed costs.