Updated March 2022
What Is Secure File Transfer?
Modern-day business organizations thrive by sharing large files digitally. In doing this, there’s always a cybersecurity threat if you don’t leverage secure channels. Nonetheless, not every company understands the situation as to how risky and fragile most file transfer approaches are until they learn the hard way.
Securing your passwords, personal data, financial information, and other sensitive data from external intruders has long been a priority for businesses. But the recent spike in data breaches has shown how important it is to use secure document sharing approaches.
Securing your data is crucial for protecting your organization’s reputation and clients. One of the most significant data security threats is how you transfer data and files. Implementing practical and safe data sharing approaches and secure access is no longer a great business idea – it’s now a necessity.
This detailed guide highlights the importance of secure file transfer, the common challenges when working towards this, and practical tips to ensure you share large files conveniently and securely.
Benefits of Secure File Transfer
Sharing files securely can benefit your organization in the following ways:
- Secure file transfer also improves document collaboration within the organization and outside. Effective data sharing enables employees in different departments to access valuable data and foster new partnerships throughout the company.
- Organizational file transfer cuts on inefficiencies and facilitates healthier bottom lines. Furthermore, it enhances teamwork, subsequently opening up new opportunities between decision-makers and business leaders.
- The society also benefits through improved information policy and increased trust with companies. It also increases innovation.
- File transfer makes data easily accessible, hence accelerating research by making critical data accessible.
- It enables informed decisions as senior staff will easily access crucial data and insights.
- It maximizes the utility and impact of research data allowing you to make the best use of the participants’ significant contributions, ultimately contributing to different industry improvements.
- Data sharing creates room to reuse existing data and analyze knowledge gaps among staff in different departments.
- Secure document sharing enables data pooling, which increases the strength of research evidence in populations underserved by research.
Types of File Sharing
Before determining how you can share files securely, ensure you choose the right file-sharing services. The following options are available:
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP is among the most reliable approaches to secure sharing. It only needs a command prompt window, hence easy to use. You’ll only type in the source file you intend to share and specify your destination location. This approach lets you specify the downloads and uploads bandwidth limits and set passwords and usernames. Furthermore, it’s practically user-friendly, especially on non-web-related projects.
P2P file sharing focuses on individuals instead of a central server. In this secure external documents sharing approach, users connect to a network and can access shared files. P2P is the ideal information-sharing solution for small teams that intend to work together.
Cloud File Sharing
Cloud services have become popular recently since they offer secure online document sharing that allows your team to upload files and access them from any device and anywhere. Files are stored in a central location, and users can create folders and apply different permission settings for each.
Email is among the most straightforward file transfer approaches. Users only need to attach their preferred document to an email, but the file-sharing method isn’t interactive. After sending a document attachment and the other user opens and makes changes, you can’t access the edited document unless they forward it back. What’s more, the approach limits large file transfers and has numerous data breach vulnerabilities. Here’s a list of email security best practices.
External storage hardware can be helpful when you can’t access the internet or don’t want to use an online file sharing platform. This type of storage includes external hard drives and USB thumb drives. Just like email providers, external storage has its setbacks. Since you’ll copy files into the device, only a person with physical possession of the drive can enjoy secure access to it. It’s also vulnerable to viruses and other infections.
Risks Involved with File Sharing
File sharing offers immense benefits to your business. However, it comes with its challenges. Understanding these hurdles can help you align with cybersecurity best practices and choose the correct file-sharing solutions. Let’s explore:
- Lax BYOD policies – Organizations that use the bring-your-own-device policy where they use their devices on secure corporate networks can cut costs and enjoy other benefits. However, most fail to enforce BYOD policies correctly, and this can spur numerous security hurdles. Furthermore, there’s a significant security risk when devices are misused, stolen, or lost.
- Release of critical business data – One of the most significant risks facing file-sharing is intentional or unintentional data exposure. Once an unauthorized party accesses your file-sharing tool, it can be hard to ascertain what they accessed and the extent to which your private data has spread.
- Inadequate data flow visibility – File sharing options beyond your IT department’s scope can limit comprehensive visibility into the flow of data. When your personnel lack visibility into your data flows, they can’t track the files leaving or entering, inhibiting your company’s ability to ward off data breaches and comply with internal and external mandates.
- Cyberattack susceptibility – If you have to bypass firewalls before downloading or uploading files, you could open yourself up to threat actors who can perform attacks like man-in-the-middle or denial-of-service.
- Lost control over company data – Most consumer-grade file-transfer options limit control over data. When staff download these unreliable tools and rely on them to share data with external entities, they’ll restrict your company’s integration and security management.
- Malicious software installation – When someone opens a risky file, they can unintentionally download and introduce malware like Trojan horses, spyware, viruses, or worms on specific devices. Should this happen, it may end up compromising the entire company network.
7 Tips For Secure File Transfer and Document Sharing
The following steps will help push through the challenges of secure file transfer and enable you to share your company documents securely and conveniently.
Implement a Comprehensive Password Policy
Passwords are among the most significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities, so you need a strong one to secure access to critical business data. Long gone are the days when using “Password123” as your security credential was enough. Threat actors can crack these simple phrases using the most straightforward rudimentary tools.
What you require is an excellent password policy requiring staff to secure company data and resources effectively. So include the following password elements to make it harder for threat actors to crack:
- A string of unrelated numbers
- Lower and uppercase letters
- A minimum of eight characters
- Words that don’t exist in the dictionary
Organizations should also encourage staff to use varying passwords for different sites. Once a hacker guesses your password, they can access every platform you use and compromise your data security. So ensure you and your team assign unique passwords to your different accounts and sites.
Backup Your Data
Creating reliable backups is among the most basic data transfer and storage tips, yet the most overlooked. According to the US Chamber of Commerce and Nationwide, the insurance provider, about 68% of small companies lack a disaster recovery plan. It comes with lots of challenges, and the main problem with this is that when you take longer to restore your critical data, you’ll lose more money.
A reliable data backup system is your best solution to this challenge. In essence, this creates a copy of your valuable business data so that if a device is stolen, compromised, or lost, you’ll still have your essential information intact.
Avoid USBs When You Can
USBs can help transfer data across devices quickly, but the convenience comes with its dangers. First, the devices can be lost easily, and you have no idea where your critical data might end up. Think about how many you’ve seen forgotten in a PC port, lying around, or run through the laundry. And if you encounter one, never connect it to your device. You may think you’ve gotten that one-terabyte USB for free, but this small thing can potentially ruin your computer or even business. These devices pick up infections, and once you plug them in, they’ll quickly spread to your device or even the company network.
If you have to rely on a USB drive, ensure you scan it with your anti-spyware or anti-virus before opening any folders or documents. Don’t take chances, or you could lose your files, or criminals will exploit your networks and company.
Educate Your Team On Secure File Transfer
Your staff must understand the nature of your organizational data and the potential risk when they mishandle it, unintentionally or otherwise.
Begin with evaluating and classifying the data you handle to ascertain the required security level. For instance, sharing a client’s personal health information requires relatively more attention than your weekly meeting insights. Threat actors will likely avoid your college’s brilliant idea introduced ten meetings ago and focus on other valuable data.
When you demonstrate the importance of cybersecurity to your staff and describe how it’s a priority, they’ll be more attentive. Train your team about the latest cybersecurity threats and cyber hygiene best practices. Furthermore, they should know what they shouldn’t share outside the company.
Leverage Cloud Opportunities
When looking for the most secure file transfer solutions for your company, consider beginning with the cloud. These easy-to-use platforms allow everyone to connect to the same cloud through your internal network or the web.
Teams should learn to download and upload files, collaborate, and check permissions. Cloud service providers offer numerous personal packages and a wide array of business-focused options. These options give you the required storage space, bandwidth, and security.
If possible, always upgrade your package so that it meets your storage requirements. But always pay attention to solutions with a shorter learning curve.
Avoid Sending Files Via Email
Another excellent cybersecurity tip is limiting staff from sending company files through email. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to protect recipients from downloading them or uploading by an unintended party.
Emails lack adequate security protection, so hackers can easily intercept the data on transit.
Even if the data arrives safely, this alone can’t ensure that it’s secure henceforth. When sending files through emails, there will be four copies created – in the outbox, sending mail server, receiving mail server, and the one that enters the recipient’s inbox. It means that you are four times as vulnerable to hackers. It’s also hard to verify whether the email contains secure links.
Find a Secure File Transfer Service Provider
On average, data breaches cost companies $3.8 million, an amount you can’t afford to lose. You can truly secure your data only by facilitating transfers using a reliable file-sharing solution. By engaging a solution provider, the company will take the responsibility of ensuring all your company data is secure.
As data protection experts, they’ll offer a secure solution that gives you peace of mind regarding your data security and protect your reputation in the process. Having the right solution and paying attention to the rest of the cybersecurity tips could mean the difference between loss of business and an excellent reputation.
Everyone within your organization should be aware of the imminent cybersecurity threats and adhere to all the cybersecurity best practices. It will give you great control over data transfer and allow you to mitigate risks.
A Reliable Platform For Secure File Transfer
Businesses now understand the importance of secure file transfer and the potential risks of failing to implement cybersecurity best practices. As a result, savvy corporations are now turning to reliable document-sharing tools.
Numerous file-sharing solutions can enable you to send large files and other vital business documents. However, only a few can match the reliability and security level offered by Sizle, the reputable mission-critical document transfer and analysis solution for teams.
The tool is simple to use, highly secure, and fast, making it one of the leading in the industry. Whether you want to share PDF or any other document format, Sizzle assures excellent document experiences and the ability to make improved insight-driven decisions.