Swift, straightforward file sharing is an essential tool of modern business, yet the security issues that can arise may be enough to make some organizations think twice before embracing this approach.
To better understand what is at stake, here is a look at the main concerns with the levels of protection afforded to those sharing important files online, and the strategies which can help to overcome them.
Access management is imperfect
The main problem with using online services to share mission-critical data is that it can be tricky to make sure that only the right people have access to it.
In the case that download links are distributed indiscriminately, or login details are shared between multiple users, there is a higher chance of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, even if it is shielded robustly by the service in question.
This might encourage companies to stick with the use of a local file server, only making it accessible to legitimate users hooked up via an in-house network. In theory this is more secure, but it is also less flexible than a modern, cloud-powered file sharing system. As such a hybrid approach may be desirable, and using software to share a folder online while keeping a tight grip on access is increasingly popular amongst businesses of all sizes.
Not all providers are created equal
The second complication worth considering is that the online file sharing marketplace is increasingly competitive, yet the rival brands operating in this space are not necessarily on the same level when it comes to security.
Although even the largest companies can be struck down by breaches and other dilemmas, as a rule it is usually better to opt for services that are delivered by providers that have the resources and expertise to minimize the risks as much as possible.
Data integrity may be tougher to maintain
Security is not the sole talking point when considering online file sharing solutions in a business context. Organizations also need to be aware of the challenges that come with keeping data synchronized across the board.
The risk of fragmentation occurring, in the case that files are accessed by several parties, changes made separately and then disparate versions of the dame document uploaded back to the centralized storage solution, is high. This is why a combination of careful platform choice and rigorous employee training is needed to overcome these hurdles.
Industry standards must be met
Data security regulations exist in most parts of the world, and no matter the scope or ambitions of your business, you will be responsible for adhering to whatever rules govern how files are shared and stored in your region.
There is no certainty that the online solution you use will be adequately secure to keep regulators happy, so this is an area you will need to investigate closely to avoid being penalized further down the line.
In short, sharing important files online is quick and convenient, but it should not be integrated with your everyday operations until you have factored in all of the security risks.