File sharing has been a business practice for a very long time. As businesses become more globalized with business partners and employees spread across the world, file sharing has become a business necessity. It is very crucial for businesses that want to avail of the necessary information needed to complete tasks in a timely manner to employees. This allows them to avoid unnecessary delays to improve collaboration and productivity.
However, simply sharing files isn’t enough in today’s technological world. As files move from one device to another via digital networks, there are some risks involved. It is possible for the file to meet with intruders or unauthorized users who can get a hold of sensitive data, or plant malware into devices. These attacks consequently cost businesses a lot of money to rectify the damage. This raises the need for file sharing security.
Technically, file sharing security is adopting secure measures in the process of sharing files. This means that the parties involved put in security measures to ensure that the process is private and confidential, or the files are in a protected mode to protect them from unauthorized eyes.
As much as file sharing is crucial, the need to adopt best practices for secure file sharing is evident if organizations are to achieve file sharing security. Here are some of the steps that companies can take to ensure files are shared securely.
Educate employees on risks involved
Not many people know about file sharing security. In this case, organizations must never assume that their employees know the best practices of secure file sharing. That is why the first step towards secure file sharing should be educating all employees on the risks involved in unsecured file sharing. Failure to do this could result in employees turning their knowledge to transfer files. Unfortunately, this could involve insecure practices such as using their personal emails, using free cloud storage services, or other unsecured file-sharing systems.
On top of educating employees on the risks involved in file sharing, it is important to adopt a file-sharing policy within the organization. This policy should be specific in the methods that should be used by all employees whether sharing on cloud storage or otherwise.
Adopt the use of VPNs
Workforces are rapidly going remote. While this provides benefits for both employer and employee, the employer has no control over where the employees perform their jobs. The reality for most remote workers is working in public spaces such as the library or coffee shops in a bid to save on data costs as they connect to the internet through the free Wi-Fi networks.
VPNs also come in handy when there is a need to send large videos, which is always a challenge for most people. A VPN, such as NordVPN, or other providers, works well in hiding the size of the video from internet providers, allowing it to pass through without problems. ( Take a look at this NordVPN Review if you’d like to know more.)
Public Wi-Fi networks are open to anyone, which increases the possibility of malicious people camping along the way to steal data or eavesdrop on what people are doing over the network. It is important for organizations to avail their employees of access to a VPN. This is a virtual private network that encrypts data as it moves from devices to network providers, making it possible to pass through the channel in a protected mode.
Adopt a file-sharing solution
Adopting a file-sharing solution gives employees an official way of sending large files, or just files that contain confidential information regardless of their size. This way, they have no excuse for opting for other personal methods. The good thing with such file-sharing solutions is that organizations can limit access to the files by allowing access to authorized personnel only. They can also allocate passwords to control permissions. A good practice is to employ strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. However, it is important to train the employees on how to use it, to be effective. It’s also worth mentioning that organizations can encourage the use of encrypted zip files. A zip file contains multiple files compressed into one unit through software such as WinZip. Sharing files in a compressed form throughout a network of employees is much easier and safer, especially if encrypted with a password.
Setting a file expiration date
When it comes to sharing files with clients or other third parties, setting expiration dates helps reduce the vulnerability of the information. If it is information that is needed for a while, organizations can have an availability window. The file should be available on both ends within this period. Upon the expiration of the availability window, the file becomes unavailable to all. To enhance security, organizations can use passwords on both ends to avoid unauthorized access.
Organizations thrive when there is a timely sharing of information. However, all this becomes a waste if this information is exposed to not secure sharing methods. That is why IT departments should be proactive in ensuring file sharing security is adopted. Most importantly, they should be able to conduct regular audits and adjust accordingly.