And so here we are, sharing files. You’d think it would be easy, right? And it kind of is, as long as you are dealing with a few files. But, as your company grows in size, how do you know if your file sharing capabilities are keeping pace? With cloud-based software, more and more businesses realize the benefits of having their own file sharing system that lives in the cloud.
Business file sharing is one of the cornerstones of any business’s online operations. It allows you to share files internally, within your company, and externally to other parties. Files may include: documents, presentations, applications, or even whole file systems; irrespective of data type, business file sharing must be secure by design, with extra caveats for external sharing. In addition, more advanced file sharing applications allow you to manage, find and share files faster.
Let’s take a look at the inner workings of this essential service.
The big-name file sharing services include Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud - you will have heard of them before. While smaller businesses often use these platforms, they are more typically used for at-home file sharing. You may require extra features at work, such as file tagging, more accessible version control, intelligent search, and file process automation. More advanced file sharing software with these advanced features, such as CentricMinds, should be considered to get more organised.
File sharing is not giving someone a copy of a file. Instead, it’s sharing the exact file that you have been working on without making another copy of it. This eliminates all the separate different versions of files floating around, saving space and confusion on your end.
You may continue to update your original file over time - and the recipient will be able to see the changes as they occur. This means that you don’t have to remember to send them across new files each time you want to show the recent changes. This saves confusion both internally and with the person who is going to receive it.
Depending on file permissions (more on this in a minute), the recipient can also work on the file as if they were the owner of the file.
File sharing security is critical to any digital workplace, whether it’s internal file sharing, with other people within your organisation, with external partners or parties, or with the general public. Sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can have wide-ranging implications.
File sharing security can refer to several different security vectors:
The software that you use to share files must be secure. Take, for instance, provider Accellion. In 2020, they released a patch for a vulnerability in their file sharing service. However, 17 customers, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, were the targets of ransomware as they didn’t patch quickly enough. The lesson is to patch systems as soon as security patches are released.
When the file is being stored, how secure is it? Whether storage of the file is on internal servers or in the cloud, encryption at rest is something you can consider. Encryption at rest means the file is encrypted - and therefore not accessible - without decryption, usually via password access. (P.S. Take a look at our security, compliance, and hosting capabilities)
When sharing a file, the information may traverse over internal local networks only, via a VPN, or via the wider internet. Encryption during transit is not generally used in internal networks, is the default part of the design of a Virtual Private Network (VPN, e.g. with AES encryption), and, over the wider internet, will generally be one of; SSL, TLS, and HTTPS.
Secure file sharing with clients may include caveats - that the recipient may only access a file using a pre-determined password, from a Single Sign-On from a particular domain, or that the access to the file will expire after a given time period.
File permissions can stop the recipient from messing with your file. For instance, they may have full permissions, including the ability to delete or copy the file, or limited permissions, which could include making comments on the file but not editing it directly.