8 Tips and Practices for Secure Business File Sharing
Sharing documents is vital for organizations to ensure that the correct information reaches its intended recipients. However, poor file-sharing practices might lead to disorganization, chaos, and frustration.
For instance, users can’t locate critical documents immediately, resulting in lower productivity. In this case, it’s best if your company follows efficient file-sharing measures.
When you improve your practices, you can streamline workflows. For example, folders are easier to find, so teams can collaborate on projects and achieve exceptional results.
Besides, you’ll also be able to protect data from unauthorized access. That way, you reduce your data infrastructure’s vulnerabilities from cyberattacks like malware and phishing scams.
So, what does it take to achieve efficiency in file sharing? This article provides you with eight best practices for efficient file sharing.
1. Look for a Secure File Sharing Method
Choosing a secure and reliable file-sharing method is crucial.
There are several established options you may choose:
- E-mail is a convenient way to share files and use it to fax a PDF. This method is ideal for sending small files and provides a fast and easy way to share documents with others.
- Cloud migration offers remote access to your files and easy collaboration. Usually, this method is effortless to use and requires no additional hardware installation.
- File transfer protocol (FTP) allows users to transfer documents from one computer to another. This option is ideal for companies that deal with large files.
With these file-sharing methods, you can send data across the Internet.
2. Assess Your Company’s File-Sharing Needs
Before you do anything else, knowing your organization’s file-sharing needs is best. Review the size of the files and the number of documents that need sending. Also, it would be wise to outline your employees’ remote work requirements. This way, you can determine which method fits your situation.
3. Establish a File Naming Convention
A reliable naming convention ensures that all staff members use a consistent approach to managing the files. This framework enables users to identify and retrieve files, boosting collaboration and productivity.
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Here are some tips for building a file naming convention:
- Keep It Simple: Don’t use complex and non-intuitive names that are hard to recall.
- Think of Templates: Create a template with critical document details in the name. Include the date, unique identifier, and brief description work well.
- Release a Memo of Your Naming Convention: Communicating your file naming convention to everyone in your business is essential. You can add this information to your company’s handbook and manual. If possible, consider scheduling a training session to help team members understand how to use the new system.
Of course, you’ll make some changes to the naming convention over time. In that case, it’s best to communicate them to employees so they’re aware.
4. Prioritize File Security
File sharing isn’t just about collaboration with authorized users. Some cybercriminals target organizations through phishing and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Both threats can tamper with information or revoke access to critical data shared via a file-sharing platform.
With this in mind, following a zero-trust architecture is a must. With this security framework, you ensure that only authorized users have access to applications and sensitive data.
Here are the best practices for protecting your shared files:
- Create Backups: Store multiple copies elsewhere, even if you lose the originals. Backup options include cloud storage, hard drives, or optical discs.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA adds another protection layer for your data. Unauthorized users have no access to MFA-enabled files without verifying their identity. A hacker must input a one-time PIN through SMS or e-mail to answer a secret question. Beyond that, the system also asks biometrics to authenticate the user’s identity through fingerprint scanning or facial recognition.
- Encrypt Documents: Encrypting your data shields it from interception during exchanges. Tools like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) ensure information encryption in transit between your devices and servers.
- Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): VPNs protect remote devices from cyberattacks. Companies that adopt the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) model should consider this option. This way, they reduce the risk of confidential data leaking outside the establishment.
- Leverage File Sharing Permissions: Setting permissions allow you to control who can access and edit documents. With permissions, you can grant privileges to team members who need them. For instance, in Google Drive, you can give specific users access to files while others have viewing access.
Remember that your company’s reputation and sensitive data are at stake when sharing files. Thus, prioritizing file security is not an option but a necessity.
5. Keep Business Files Organized
Organizing business files in folders and subfolders can make navigating and finding what you need easier. In addition, with well-organized files, team members can save time searching for documents.
For example, you may create a folder structure that mirrors the organization’s departments. Aside from that, it’s best if you create separate subfolders for specific projects assigned to each department.
6. Regularly Update Documents
Outdated files can confuse and lead to errors. On the other hand, keeping files updated ensures everyone is working on a document’s most recent version.
Say you’re using tracking and version control features in cloud-based storage services. If so, ensure everyone can access the most updated file version.
7. Use File Compression to Minimize Size
Sending large files can take time, and sending the entire file all the time may be optional. However, compressing the file before sharing it reduces its size, making it quicker and easier to upload or download.
So, if you’re sending a large video file, consider using a trialware file archiver to compress it before sharing it. This way, you can minimize network traffic and speed up sending files online.
8. Educate Users about Proper File Sharing Practices
These practices are only effective if your employees know how to implement them.
Thus, it’s best if you educate them about proper file-sharing techniques:
- Training Sessions: Conduct a company-wide training session to outline acceptable practices regarding file sharing. You may show the importance of secure file sharing and the consequences of the careless handling of company data.
- Demonstrate Examples Of Risky File-Sharing Behavior: This can include giving access to hackers through phishing scams. During the training, provide your employees with the steps to respond to a possible phishing e-mail. They can call their supervisor or your in-house information technology (IT) team.
- Implement Strict Policies: You can prohibit users from sending files through an insecure cloud storage service. Confidential information can be trade secrets or personally identifiable information (PII) about customers or co-workers.
When employees know the dos and don’ts of file sharing, you ensure they won’t fall victim to cyberattacks.
Efficient file-sharing practices are essential for your modern business as you optimize productivity. These measures are also crucial in mitigating the risk of data breaches that might cause data loss.
In addition, you make it easier for employees to locate necessary documents for their tasks while restricting access from unauthorized users.