Secure File Sharing: Useful and Helpful Tips

10/28/2022

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Images, documents, and files are no longer shared physically in the world of technology today. Most transfers take place using online resources. While certain documents can be safely disclosed, others remain private. To reduce risks and transfer files securely, it is advisable to use a secure file sharing service rather than sending sensitive information through email. Learn more about file sharing in this article  and which online file sharing services are best for you.

What is File Sharing? 

In a network, file sharing is the public or private data exchange with various levels of accessibility. A limited number of individuals may read, view, or update a file depending on the access rights and the level of access the file sharer has granted. File sharing services often allot a specific quantity of file storage to each user and each account.

All forms of data, including papers, music, videos, and entire applications, can be stored on today’s computers. You share files when you send one or more files from your local computer to a different computer or location. The recipient may need to accept the file in some circumstances, but usually, the transfer will be finished automatically.

The Dangers of File Sharing

Now that you know the range of possibilities offered by file sharing, you should be aware of the risks. It can be unsettling to share your sensitive or crucial files with an internet provider because of the prevalence of hackers and malware on the internet. It’s critical to be aware of the dangers of file sharing and to exercise caution while downloading any file.

Risks consist of:

  • Obtaining a malicious file by downloading one
  • Downloading a forbidden, copyrighted material
  • Using a file-sharing application that asks to turn off firewall services
  • Accidentally uploading private data to a website that hosts public content

The Advantages of File Sharing

  • Administrative simplification
  • File centralization ensures consistency
  • Maintains and organizes files

While there are hazards involved in file sharing, for a well-organized, user-friendly system, the advantages may exceed the disadvantages. Using secure data rooms is another option to share files safely.

A data room is a location where data is often kept in a secure format. It is a more sophisticated type of on-site or cloud storage. This is the most secure file-sharing system for organizations sharing sensitive papers. Additionally, it can offer a shared team workspace with various means of data protection, such as digital watermarks.

Types of File Sharing

You must choose the method and protocol you want to employ before you can begin sharing files over the internet. Your choice should depend on the data you are moving and the recipients of those files. We’ll examine the primary options and explain which situations they can most effectively address.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP was among the earliest techniques for transferring data over networks to be developed, and because of its dependability and effectiveness, it is still widely used today. A tool with a user interface or a command prompt window can be used to execute FTP operations.

  • Ideal for Legacy data, odd file types, or large files.
  • Programs like FileZilla, Telnet, and WinSCP are examples.

Peer to Peer (P2P)

A P2P file transmission is meant to do away with the requirement for a central server to hold the data. Own clients, instead, link up with a distributed network of peers and carry out the file transfers across their network connections. P2P could one day be utilized to build an impregnable TOR. The popularity of The Onion Router (TOR) in creating a more secure internet connection is, without a doubt, regardless of whether or not it is a proper P2P environment.

  • Excellent for files that can’t be found in public repositories, file sharing with a small number of people.
  • For instance, consider Limewire, Gnutella, and BearShare.

Cloud Services

One user uploads their data to a central repository using a cloud file sharing service, and others can download the contents to their own devices. Although users can choose the types of permission levels to apply to the files, all data is hosted by a third-party source.

  • Excellent for quick file sharing and data backups.
  • Software examples include Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and iCloud.

Email Providers

Some people are unaware that email can be a mechanism for transferring files. You start a data transmission over the public internet every time you attach a document to an outgoing message.

  • Works well for small files and data that need an explanation
  • Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo! Mail are a few examples.

Portable Storage

If there isn’t a network-based solution that will work for you, you may always use a hard disk to handle file transfers. This suggests that you’re copying data to a USB flash drive and putting it into the computer.

  • Great for large files and sensitive information.
  • External hard drives or USB flash drives are two examples.

How to Choose the Most Effective File Sharing Method

Once you’ve chosen the file-sharing technique you’ll employ, it’s time to select a specific service or item. Because there are so many possibilities, from well-known businesses to brand-new start-ups, this might be difficult. Here are some recommendations for factors to consider while selecting a file-sharing solution.

Price – You should be aware of the service’s up-front, monthly, and annual fees. You could occasionally additionally be required to pay for the bandwidth consumed during a transfer.

Security – Before entrusting a cloud service with storing your data, conduct some research into how that data is stored and how it is protected.

Compatibility — Find out which operating systems and device categories will support the file transfers. If some of your consumers are hesitant to embrace new technology, search for solutions with straightforward user interfaces.

Limitations – Research any restrictions or limits the provider may have on the quantity of files that can be transferred or the total amount of data that can be saved before making a significant investment in a file-sharing service.

Cloud Storage for File Sharing

A cloud-based solution will typically suffice to satisfy your file sharing requirements. There are several free solutions available for personal usage. You should look for a reliable and adaptable program for file sharing at the business level. You can reduce your options by using the suggested list below.

Box

One of the earliest cloud-based file storage systems to become widely used was Box. Users and businesses can collaborate with one another and centralize all of their data with this tool. Box offers a number of paid solutions for businesses and a free one for individual customers.

  • Great for: Big businesses that need to manage massive data systems globally.
  • Pros: Meets regulatory criteria, provides workflow configuration and integrates nicely with enterprise security systems.
  • Cons: Cheaper plans have relatively few features, making it difficult to preview files on PCs and other devices.
  • Activate email alerts to receive notifications whenever a document is uploaded or modified.

Dropbox

Individual users and organizations may store all of their crucial data in one location because of Dropbox. Since Dropbox has native apps for mobile devices and enables you to bring your files everywhere, syncing is a major focus of the service.

  • Great for: Users who want to back up important data and small and medium-sized organizations without a need for complex functionality.
  • Pros: A large user base makes it simpler to share data securely, files are always protected, and desktop integration is available.
  • Cons: The free personal plan only offers 2 GB of storage, and new collaborative tools can be challenging to understand.

Egnyte

Business customers who want to maintain strict control over every material transferred within or outside the organization are the primary target audience for Egnyte. It has a number of sophisticated features out of the box and enables you to use its services with your applications via an API (API).

  • Excellent for: Businesses that must convey sensitive information and groups that support a range of hardware and operating systems.
  • Pros: Every file transmission saves an additional backup copy, follows the best encryption requirements, and has reliable mobile access.
  • Cons: Customer assistance can be inadequate and is more difficult to utilize than some essential services.
  • Pro tip: Administrators can share files and design unique dashboards for each user.

Google Drive

With its Google Docs suite of browser-based capabilities, Google Drive was one of the first businesses to introduce document collaboration to the cloud. That is made possible via Google Drive, a fantastic file-sharing service.

  • Great for: Individuals with existing Gmail accounts and small businesses who don’t want to worry about local storage.
  • Pros: Any email address can share files, and new users receive 15 gigabytes for free.
  • Cons: Sharing preferences may be difficult to notice, and collaboration requires a Google account.
  • Pro tip: Upload photographs and Google Drive will extract text for searching from them. 

iCloud

The iCloud software package from Apple has been getting updates regularly. In order to enable automated file synchronization, iCloud Drive is now pre-installed on new Mac computers and iOS devices.

  • Excellent for: People who share files with Apple customers who use their products at home and at work.
  • Benefits include connection with iMessage and other Apple services and the release of hard disk storage space.
  • Cons: There is little Windows integration, new users only get 5 GB of storage, and little business assistance.
  • Pro tip: To easily share pictures and movies among numerous individuals, try the family sharing options.

 MediaFire

MediaFire is a small but expanding cloud-based storage platform that can be accessed through a browser or mobile device. It aspires to offer a streamlined file-sharing option for customers who don’t need other features.

  • Excellent for: Users who like to share files via email and for quick file transfers between individuals.
  • Pros: No bandwidth restrictions, quick bulk downloads, and support for multiple browser uploads.
  • Cons: Limited collaboration opportunities and on-screen advertisements are part of the basic package.
  • Pro Tip: Configure a one-time link to ensure that your files are not shared more than once.

OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive tool has become a crucial component of the Windows operating system as the company has transferred many major business products to the cloud. Users can back up their data and make shared folders accessible to everyone in the company.

  • Great for: People with an Outlook email account and businesses that use Windows-based PCs.
  • Pros: Sharepoint integration, fine-grained permission setting, simple Office use.
  • Cons: Mac OS is not supported, and upload and download speeds may be slow.
  • Pro tip: Use the OneDrive mobile app to have all of your images automatically backed up to the cloud.

SecureDocs

Considered a virtual data room, SecureDocs is made for companies looking to manage safe document sharing during mergers and acquisitions. The company provides access for an infinite number of customers as part of a flat monthly cost structure. Additionally, they offer single-sign-on alternatives to your current enterprise authentication tools.

  • Great for: Situations where security is of the utmost importance.
  • Benefits include flat-rate pricing, drag-and-drop folders, and limitless accounts from one of the few suppliers.
  • Cons: Limited integration and difficult authorization configuration.
  • Pro tip: For increased security, activate two-factor authentication.

SugarSync

Users can quickly sync folders to their cloud account by running SugarSync on their Mac or Windows PC. It was first introduced in 2008 and served both consumer and commercial users. Their security standards are on par with those of the banking sector.

  • Excellent for: Users with disorganized folders and companies without a backup strategy.
  • Pros: It creates public connections to documents and is simple to recover data online.
  • Cons: No free subscription option, occasionally poor syncing rates.
  • Pro tip: You can always view snapshots of your synchronized documents.

Best Cloud Storage Software

It might be challenging to locate and select the best cloud storage and backup option for personal use, so we’ve put together this guide to assist you.

Conclusion

Accessing data across devices without compromising confidential data is possible with secure file sharing. Ensure you follow the essential guidelines to keep your information locked down once you have chosen the ideal file sharing system for your company.

File sharing has advantages and disadvantages, although it generally aids in the smooth operation of businesses. Users have the opportunity to collaborate with other workers by sharing files. Customers may access information remotely from businesses.

You are not risking your papers by storing them in the cloud or with third-party suppliers. Ensure you’re protecting your information and provide your employees the tools to do the same.