Distributing data digitally is a way for businesses to operate efficiently, both in terms of the internal projects they run and the opportunities they have to communicate and collaborate with third parties.
Of course, there are a lot of ways to share files at the moment, and the trick is to pick solutions that are both secure and speedy.
Let’s look at just three of the top options for file sharing which are worthy of modern businesses and undeniably efficient to boot.
Leverage internal server resources
While more and more businesses are intent on outsourcing data storage and file sharing to third-party solutions and services, this is not always necessary to ensure security and affordability. In fact, you could be better equipped to offer secure external file sharing using your on-premises hardware.
There are platforms made specifically to facilitate this, so rather than implementing yet another layer of storage with a separate file sharing service acting as the middle man, exploit what you already have available instead.
For some businesses, being in complete control of the hardware and software used in their file sharing ecosystem will actively improve security compared with the alternatives.
Embracing access control in-house, while also retaining unquestioned ownership of the data itself, is appealing in this context.
This might sound like a step backward, or at least not a forward leap for file sharing. However, software solutions can of course open up on-premises servers to outside users while implementing all of the advantages associated with their cloud-powered equivalents.
From collaborating on file editing to tiered permission-granting, all this and more is achievable.
Obviously, this is not an approach that will work for everyone, but it is good to recognize that you don’t have to go all-in with third-party apps and services if file sharing is a priority for your organization.
Look to the cloud for enterprise-grade data products
While we may have talked about the cloud as if it is a nice-to-have but not essential asset for file sharing, in reality, it can be a more appropriate option if it fits your budget and needs.
The key to ensuring security when using cloud services for this purpose is to pick a package that is built with businesses in mind; don’t settle for consumer-grade solutions, as these may fall short when it comes to protecting mission-critical information.
Thankfully there are a multitude of competing services in this sphere, including big-name options like OneDrive and Dropbox.
Of course even after you have adopted a cloud-based file sharing service, you also need to follow protocols and avoid common mistakes for safe, secure use of it.
Whichever approach to file sharing you take, it is crucial to implement encryption both when your data is stored and while it is in transit.
Encryption is a complex business when you dig deeper, but on the surface, it is simply a means by which information can be protected from malicious outsiders, even if it falls into their hands.
The best file sharing services will automatically apply encryption to the information you upload to them, and so long as you are using a secure connection to do so then your vital files should be safe from exploitation while they are winging their way through cyberspace.
In the case that you stick with on-premises servers for sharing files externally, you will obviously need to encrypt the data yourself, which again is something that the right software tools will allow you to do with relative ease.
Encryption should also be embraced across the other devices you use to store data. This applies to smartphones, laptops, and desktops on which files might be kept by employees.
Lots of data loss and theft is down to devices like these going missing without proper encryption being applied. If you don’t want to become yet another statistic, a rigorous encryption policy has to be in place.
Because of this, all businesses have to recognize their responsibility for training and educating team members in every department with regards to how they should store, share and use files both internally and externally.
In amongst all of this, you need to remember that it is more likely that data security will be compromised as a result of human error, rather than due to any direct breach attempt by hackers.
Furthermore, if you are sharing files with customers, clients, or business partners, they need to be appraised of the security implications of this process and advised as to what they can do to protect themselves as well as your organization from subversion.
Ultimately this is not something you can afford to neglect, whether you are a small start-up or an established company. Secure file sharing is achievable, but only with the right tools and the right tactics.