Today, when working remotely has become a part-and-parcel for several businesses, the need to access information from anywhere has also grown significantly. And, with more and more companies shifting their employees to remote working, safe and secure data sharing becomes extremely important.
While the internet has made it very easy to share cloud-based files; however, there is always the issue of security threat and safety of the medium of transfer, and even cloud sharing can be a risk. However, several ways to transfer files may not be very safe and may not offer protection from intruders and thieves.
Nowadays, the safety of sensitive data and share files has become a huge technological challenge, and even hacking most secure storage services. Data breaches have made the security of data very vulnerable. So, in our article, we’ll explore some of the best and safest ways to share files online.
What Is File Sharing?
Sharing any digital media, including apps, documents, videos, songs, etc., from one device to another is known as file sharing that you can access from anywhere across the globe. With a few clicks, you can share files very quickly, and there is no limit to what you can share and how often you share it.
There are essentially 4 types of file sharing, and you can choose a method depending on the type of files being shared and how much security is required for the data being shared.
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP): FTP is usually used to transfer vast amounts of data or large files between a computer and server via the internet to several users. You can use this method to transfer business data or documents, and users can access the files shared from an FTP server site.
- Peer-to-Peer Networks (P2P): This mode of file transfer only needs computers to communicate without requiring a central server. You can share files located on a particular computer with another computer that is on a completely different server.
- Online File-sharing Services: If you’re storing data or sharing files on the internet, you can use online file-sharing services or cloud content collaboration software such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. This enables a user to upload documents, photos, etc., on a platform, which the receiver can access and download using the same platform.
- Removable Media: This is one of the original methods to share data and information such as floppy disks, CDs, memory cards, memory sticks, and removable hard drives.
File-Sharing: Advantages and Risks
Risks of File-Sharing
- Sensitive Data: The most serious file-sharing risk is that sensitive data can get exposed if you’re not careful. And, once any dubious party accesses the file-sharing service, it may be difficult to determine what data has been accessed and how much has been leaked.
- Vulnerability to Attacks: If you bypass firewalls to upload/download files, there is a high risk of opening up your system for a malicious attack.
- Potential Viruses: If you open a file from a dubious source, you may end up downloading malware like viruses, Trojans, spyware, ransomware, or worms that can cause your system or the entire network to crash.
Internet safety is quite important to consider in today’s world!
Advantages of File-Sharing
Although there are some risks associated with file sharing, there are several benefits if you take adequate precautions and do it safely.
- Anywhere Access: You can access files and documents you need anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
- Efficient: File sharing is a quick, easy, and efficient way to send data, files, or documents to another person. It is even possible to share huge files quickly.
- Easy Collaboration: File-sharing makes teamwork very easy, allowing you to edit, comment, etc., on files, especially when using cloud content collaboration software. It enables you to collaborate more easily with any person located across the world.
- Cost-Effective: File sharing is often free and is an excellent, cost-effective option, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Factors to Consider in a File-Sharing Service
Whether you want cloud access for your business or personal correspondence, files, workflows, etc., it must be intuitive, easy, and reliable. Most importantly, the technology should be secure and can get configure across various devices, including computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Today, there are several file-sharing platforms and services available in the market at various prices and offer varying functionality levels. So, choosing the best file-sharing platform can be rather difficult. While most platforms offer free accounts and drag-and-drop features; however, most of them require you to purchase a plan.
Some file-sharing services allow businesses to store the entire company’s documents, while others may only offer the feature of securely transferring files from one location to another.
So, if you ask, which is the best online file-sharing platform? Well, this purely depends on your business requirements. Read on to know which are the popular file-sharing services in 2021.
One of the oldest and most popular cloud-based file storage services, Box, allows organizations and individuals to collaborate with others by centralizing their information.
It allows users to upload their documents to a shared folder and give other users rights to view or edit the files. A box is a great option for large organizations requiring to manage a huge amount of data across the globe.
The box is free for individual users, while it has a range of paid plans for organizations. Box integrates seamlessly with the enterprise security systems, meets all compliance requirements, and allows workflow configuration, and the advanced security controls and encryption key management provides complete security.
This is one of the first top-rated file-sharing services, including personal and professional cloud software, file synchronization, and cloud storage. Dropbox allows the user to create a folder on their computer, which is transferred to the Dropbox server or any other device on which the user for storage installs Dropbox.
Dropbox has a simple interface, is easy to use, and is suitable for small businesses. Many 3rd party apps like Office 365, Salesforce, Gmail, Trello, Slack, Jira, etc., integrate with Dropbox. Dropbox offers around 1 to 2 terabytes of free storage and allows the users to send and receive files even without an account.
Google Drive was amongst the earliest companies that made document collaboration cloud-based with its Google Docs tools. It is a personal cloud storage service that allows users to store their files and sync content across devices. Also, it is a great file-sharing platform. This is a good option for users who already have a Gmail account, and you get around 15 GB for free.
Google Drive allows its users to use its Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc., to edit documents, spreadsheets, etc. Before the information leaves any device, Google Drive encrypts it with the TLS standard. Also, the information is very secure.
The Microsoft OneDrive is a file management software from Microsoft, part of its online services. Great for individuals and businesses using PCs with Windows and users having an Outlook email account, Microsoft OneDrive is a part of the Windows OS. Users can use this to back up their information and also create shared folders.
Once the user authenticates the Microsoft account, OneDrive syncs all the data. The file-sharing option integrates with Microsoft Office and saves all the files immediately to the cloud. The easiest option for people using Windows and Office 365, One Drive offers 5 GB of free space to its users or 50 GB for $1.99 per month.
If you’re looking for a simple file-sharing option, then WeTransfer is a good choice. The service is free and does not require registration. You can share the file by selecting them and then entering both the email IDs of the sender and recipient. You can share single or multiple files using a custom link, which remains active for 1 week.
If you want more than 2 GB per transfer, you can opt for the WeTransfer Pro. It costs around $12 per month. This allows you to transfer up to 20 GB of files. Also, 1 TB of cloud storage, setting the link’s expiry period and setting a password for the download link. However, whether you opt for the free option or the paid ones, WeTransfer allows you to share files easily and securely over the internet.
Firefox Send is a super easy-to-use platform to share files whether you have a Firefox browser or not. The platform allows you to share files up to 2.5 TB free of cost. Firefox Send has a range of useful features. For example, you can set download links that will expire after a certain period of time. You can also password protect the links if you want additional security.
Firefox Send allows you to drag and drop the files in your browser. It is without the need for installing any additional software or signing up for any service. You can monitor when the shared files are accessed, and you can also revoke the link at any time.
That was all about the safest ways of sharing files online. Data is the most important and valuable asset of any organization, and any data breach can be a costly affair. A secure file-sharing platform can help protect your information while sharing it anytime. Also, with anyone across the world, and can be a huge advantage for your organization.
Thus, quite evidently, it is imperative to evaluate various options. Also, select the best file-sharing service/platform that will keep all your data safe and protected.
Maryam has been teaching IT as a school teacher for over a decade, and her main subject of choice is Internet safety, especially helping parents keep their families safe and secure online. When Maryam is not teaching or writing she is a big fan of the outdoors, the complete opposite of staring at a computer screen for hours.