Secure file sharing apps describe a file-sharing method that uses security protocols to ensure the safe protection of data. Companies use secure file-sharing to share documents, multimedia, marketing materials, and other files between company members and vested parties.
They use secure file-sharing because they can’t afford to share unprotected files containing sensitive company information such as copyrighted material or proprietary information. But what is file sharing, and what are the different methods? Which of these methods is more secure than the other. Continue reading to find out.
File sharing is the interchanging of digital information, including multimedia, graphics, computer programs, images, and e-books. Online users can share this data either publicly or privately and set parameters for sharing privileges.
The most common file-sharing techniques include the following:
There are two primary types of file-sharing over a network: directly from computer to computer or from a computer to a server. When a computer and server share a file, the computer uploads, and stores the file in a location where you can share it with others. People with access to that file can download it from the server.
When you share a file between two computers, one person sends the file directly to the other person. Another term for this file-sharing method is peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. There are no servers involved in this process and each device communicates with the other.
Once users download or use a file via the file-sharing network, their endpoint (computer) becomes a part of that network and allows other users to download files from the user’s endpoint. FIle-sharing copyrighted and proprietary is illegal. Spyware and adware are also potential hang-ups with file-sharing. Some file-sharing sites have installed spyware programs on their websites installed on users’ computers without their knowledge or consent.
Secure file sharing is essentially any method of file sharing that protects your shared information from unauthorized users. When businesses share proprietary or copyrighted material, they need to ensure their data stays confidential.
According to Olivia Tan, the Co-founder at CocoFax, "Companies accomplish this aim by adhering to file sharing methods that incorporate security protocols such as encryption. Secure file-sharing methods also ensure the individual enters passwords or other information before gaining access to the files."
Common examples that require secure file sharing include financial transactions like mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, IPOs, and other events where companies send private information to outside parties.
You can share files over a network using several methods. While some techniques are easier, all of them share common characteristics.
An on-demand file transfer program is a quick and easy way to share files over any network, whether you’re sharing with someone across the globe or between two people over a shared network in an office.
File transfer protocol (FTP) is an example of a file-sharing tool that involves setting up an FTP server on the computer to share files. Anyone who wants the files then uses an FTP client to communicate with the server to download the files.
You can also use some tools for P2P file sharing, such as ShareDrop. With tools such as ShareDrop you get a special URL granting you access to download your files and you choose what you want to share from your computer.
Cloud storage services store the file on a server where others can download it if they have the link. This method provides fast downloads at speeds a normal user wouldn’t be able to achieve (your upload bandwidth caps P2P file-sharing rates).
Online file storage websites make it easy to share the same file with multiple people or share with someone in the future without re-uploading the file. With cloud storage, the file stores for as long as you want. There are also temporary cloud storage options that keep files for a few hours or days.
One of the most popular ways to share files utilizes messaging apps. Email and texts are the most notable examples of this file-sharing method, but there are others, including Slack and Skype. Most of these applications are web-based messaging services, meaning you don’t have to install anything to share your files.
You can share files over a network with your operating system. The operating system often has built-in tools, but it has its limitations. File-sharing via the operating system is typically only applicable to local networks.
One easy way to utilize file-sharing via your Windows operating system is using a mapped drive. Mapped drives give you direct access to download files from another computer that sets up a network share.
However, using an operating system to set up file-sharing is not exclusive to Windows. You can also set up file-sharing on Mac and other operating systems.
When you share a computer over a network, every file and folder on the computer also shares. P2P services, cloud storage services, and messaging apps don’t have this capability. With those methods, you have to choose the specific files you want to share.
For example, in Windows, you can enable the admin share so anyone on the local network with the admin password can access all of the computer’s files.
You can also utilize the remote access program to share files. In this case, the computer doesn’t actually share the files. It only shares the screen. There are many free remote access programs on the internet that allow you to access your work computer remotely. This technically means you’re sharing the program’s files and programs, though it is a slightly different method.
As you can see, some methods of file sharing are more secure than others. Companies that have sensitive information should always use these methods over their less scrupulous alternatives. Companies also shouldn’t have trouble finding secure file sharing methods. Common techniques include Google Drive, which encrypts your files.