10 Best Practices for Online File Sharing

While the methods we use to share files may have changed, file sharing is not a new concept. Minstrels, messengers, carrier pigeons – humanity has been sending documents back and forth since the very beginning.

Fast forward to the digital age. Organizations are reliant on email and other file sharing methods to transmit information between co-workers and clients. But like almost everything else in the world, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. And although this exchange of information may be a daily occurrence, you may not have any standards governing file-sharing practices at your office.

Here are some best practices to help you out:

1. Protect your information

While there are many file sharing solutions on the market, not all are focused on protecting your private information or keeping you compliant. Know which option is the best for you and your organization.

2. Limit your recipients

Security breaches and data leaks often start internally. Mitigate risk by limiting file access to a ‘need to know’ basis, ensuring that confidential documents are only viewed by a select group and not by employees that don’t require access.

3. Keep it simple

Not everyone is a technology expert. Choose a system that’s secure but also easy for everyone to use. Complicated systems could deter your subscribers from logging in, potentially pushing them towards unsafe methods of file sharing.

4. Think before you send

We’re living in the age of the overshare. Before sharing a document consider your rationale: will another set of eyes make the work better? Do you need help with problem-solving? If you can’t come up with a concrete reason why someone else needs to see a document, it’s better left unshared.

5. Share the most recent version

Ensure that you’re always sharing the most up-to-date version of the file to avoid the spread of misinformation.

6. Guarantee compliance

If you work in an industry bound by compliance regulations such as HIPAA or PIPEDA, you’re already well aware that any file sharing practices must help you satisfy all regulations. Make sure everyone you work with is practicing the same level of diligence.

7. Choose the best method

File sizes are increasing. When you’re sharing a large file consider the sending method. PowerPoint decks and video presentations can be slow to send and can also clog up the receiver’s inbox. No one wants to deal with the dreaded ‘your inbox is full’ message, so think before you send.

8. Manage devices

USB drives probably aren’t doing you any favors. While encryption programs can help protect your information on external drives if you’ve lost information that isn’t saved elsewhere you’re still costing the organization. Think about banishing USB keys altogether.

9. Audit regularly

If you’re sharing confidential information you’ll need a system in place for monitoring access to the documents. This includes when and with whom the information has been shared. Diligent monitoring is the first step to preventing data mismanagement.

10. Revise often

Take time to review how file sharing is working for your organization. Ask employees for their feedback, and implement their recommendations if possible and practical.

What is TitanFile?

TitanFile is an easy-to-use secure file sharing solution that enables professionals to exchange confidential information with clients and colleagues with peace of mind.

Get a free 15-day trial of TitanFile.

Tony Abou-Assaleh

President and COO of TitanFile, Tony is a computer scientist, researcher and an ex-Googler with extensive background in information security and team leadership.

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