With data privacy and governance rules that seem to get stricter each year, today’s businesses and organizations need to be more diligent than ever with their content. At the same time, the fast pace of business, technology and customer behavior requires content to be shared at record pace.

When an organization needs to share sensitive or confidential information with an outside source, be it a client, vendor or customer, things can get complicated. Organizations need to make this information accessible to the intended participants, while also putting in effort to preserve privacy and security – for the organization’s own benefit, and to stay in compliance with current industry laws, standards and regulations.

Finding a solution that meets your security and accessibility needs can be a tough balancing act. Many file sharing methods offer convenience at the expense of security and privacy, or the other way around.

However, secure file sharing technologies allow businesses to toe this line with ease – with a simple click of a button, you’re able to share files with others, while gaining the peace of mind of knowing your file sharing activity can be monitored and logged for auditors later.

 

Traditional File Sharing Isn’t Always Secure

While security of sensitive content is increasingly a concern, many organizations still rely on traditional ways of sharing files, opening up potential vulnerabilities.

These are some of the common methods today’s organizations use to share files, each with its own security challenges:

Paper

A popular method for sharing information that’s centuries old. Still, paper can get easily lost in the shuffle of day-to-day business operations, which is especially troublesome when dealing with sensitive or confidential information. Paper documents containing sensitive information can also be harder to permanently delete, usually requiring secure shredding services for proper disposal.

Email

Although you may be able to password-protect an attached file (depending on the application you use to create it,) emails themselves can’t be password protected. They can be encrypted (in other words, “scrambling” the message in transit so would-be interceptors can’t read it) but this by no means implies the content is secure once it reaches its destination.

This is especially true since emails received generally don’t have an expiration date – they can stay on a machine or server indefinitely unless deleted by a user or administrator. Even without these concerns, email attachments usually have file size limits, so the document you’re sending might simply be too large to share this way in the first place.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Another option for sharing files is using an FTP server. Think of it as a network drive with a very specific way of moving files to and from it – the actual file transfer protocol itself.

On its own, FTP does not provide many built-in security features, or a way to track and monitor user activities being performed. The traditional FTP protocol doesn’t support encryption either, which means outside parties may be able to read or intercept data being sent. Your IT department may be able to create custom settings and features to make up for this lack of built-in security, however that’s only if you own the server, and would require heavy lifting as far as time and resources to make happen.

 

A More Secure Approach to File Sharing

Secure file sharing software offers a more locked-down alternative to paper and email, while still being easy and convenient to use. It also provides powerful security without the need for extensive infrastructure or IT resources:

  • Password protection helps to ensure that once a file reaches a client, constituent or customer, that it can only be viewed by those with the password.
  • Cloud hosted content means your organization doesn’t have to configure external-facing network security in order to share files.
  • Expiring URLs limit the amount of time for sharing. Largely, this reduces the risk that others will post your link online for extended periods of time.
  • Link deactivation can be performed by some secure file sharing tools. This functionality adds flexibility, enabling you to shut down a link regardless of its expiration date.
  • Audit trails are likely one of the most important reasons to choose a secure file sharing solution. Across industries, countries, states and jurisdictions, strict data governance regulations are increasingly common. One of the easiest ways to appease auditors is to keep accurate logs of your activity, including file sharing.

Improve Your File Sharing Practices

For organizations where protecting sensitive information is a priority, it’s practically essential to add secure file sharing software as part of your enterprise toolkit. Laserfiche’s secure file sharing feature, direct share, gives you the ability to share information securely, internally and externally, as part of Laserfiche’s robust enterprise content management platform.

Interested in seeing how Laserfiche can provide a way to manage your documents while supporting information governance efforts? Schedule a demo to learn more.

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