To remain competitive and operate at their optimum, businesses must be agile while staying secure.

It is understood that data sharing is an important part of almost every organisation’s daily process, both internally and with other companies, customers and collaborators. Data regulators like the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) insists that enterprises are responsible for the information they retain on file and share with others. As a result, businesses are required to effectively govern, manage and control all data flow across their teams, networks and ecosystems partners.

For many companies, the data formats, file sizes and epic volume of information flowing requires them to use some form of secure file sharing technology. However, to work efficiently, it must allow data to flow unhampered while remaining secure, whether it is at rest on servers and in cloud storage, or on the move being shared via emails and online applications.

Let’s take an in-depth look into file sharing and the security solutions available. We’ll also examine the risks of insufficient security and how data encryption can help keep data flowing freely while always staying protected.

What does file sharing involve?

File sharing is the process of enabling access to or sharing digital media, like video files, electronic images and documents. Effectively, when you choose to move a single data file or many from your local device to another computer, or to a remote location, you are engaging in the practice of file sharing.

There are multiple file sharing methods used by enterprises, including pluggable devices like USB sticks and removable storage drives, but also central servers based on computer networks where all users sign in. Hyperlinked documents that are web-based qualify, as do networks that are peer-to-peer, among many others.

Defining file sharing security

The practice of secure file sharing refers to sharing or providing access to files privately or securely. Secure file sharing methods enable digital resources to be shared between a variety of organisations or users inside a protected mode, safeguarded from unauthorised entities and intruders.

Typically, secure file sharing is achieved by using encryption software to ensure that data files cannot be viewed by those without permissions whether they are static or being sent. Most software or services supplying secure file sharing will enable securing file sharing through the restriction of access to the data, ensuring only authorised personnel can interact with it. This includes, viewing, editing, deleting or downloading the data file.

What are the security risks involved in file sharing?

Most modern enterprises require a reliable option for secure file exchange. While it is true that security is always a paramount concern, companies must also select a file sharing option that is easy to use and flexible, while also supplying adequate protection. When firms select an overly complex solution, it can present a significant security risk as users may not implement it correctly, or may use an easier and less secure option they can understand.

While the file sharing software market is packed with vendors who will promise that the tool they offer is the most reliable option, not all solutions are created equally. Businesses must be mindful of always selecting a secure file sharing tool that matches their requirements and the type of data they need to safeguard. An enterprise-grade product is essential and paying for a standard consumer grade solution represents a false economy that can put companies at risk of a data breach. Consider these additional issues:

Inadequate data control

A major drawback of conventional file-sharing options is that firms simply don’t have the level of control they require over their data. If personnel use consumer tools for sharing when swapping data with external entities, critical business information is being taken beyond the company’s IT scope. As a result, it is also beyond the IT department’s ability control in terms of integration and security. Additionally, firms sometimes find they encounter security breaches, as employees using substandard file sharing tools on work devices open up further vulnerability points in the business network.

Poor visibility of data flows

Inefficient cloud-based file sharing tools employed outside the scope of an IT department also hinder full visibility into information exchanges across the company. Without a clear perspective into enterprise data flows, IT teams cannot effectively track the data files leaving or entering the organisation. A poor level of transparency can hamper an organisation’s ability to ensure it remains compliant with internal policies, and with external agreements and mandates. This raises the risk of businesses facing fines and penalties, and loss of reputation.

Rules for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Many companies have an established BYOD policy, which impacts whether staff can employ their personal devices to access and use a secure corporate network. However, many BYOD policies are improperly enforced, resulting in numerous security issues for company IT chiefs when a user mixes personal and business data sharing. Although BYOD rules can save companies the expense of buying new equipment, they can represent serious security risks if devices are lost or stolen, and sensitive information is exposed.

What are the advantages of encryption for secure file sharing?

Encryption is a powerful asset to enterprises looking to share data easily while keeping it protected. Unlike other solutions that secure the area where data is held, encryption protects the individual file with multiple layers of defence. As a result, files are not only safe when they are stored on servers and in the cloud, but also when they are emailed or transferred outside of a company’s secure boundary.

Encryption never interrupts the flow of data but ensures that only those who are issued the appropriate decryption key can interact with the information. Robust end-to-end encryption scrambles the characters of a document so that the content remains unreadable by anyone other than its intended recipient. Promoting the highest levels of data security, if files are shared with the wrong entity, stolen on a pluggable device, or intercepted by an attacker, they will stay safe.

Secure file sharing with Galaxkey

If your firm seeks protection from snoopers and hopes to share files swiftly and securely, Galaxkey can help. Our state-of-the-art solution offers secure storage and sharing, and the ability to track your files anywhere. Contact us today to arrange a free trial.