Design and development projects often require you to send large digital files to clients as well as other members of a collaborative team. This can be challenging. You need to find a file-sharing service that won’t automatically delete your file; more than that, you need a secure service.
Any time you upload files to an online file-sharing service, your documents go into that company’s servers and cybersecurity slips out of your control. If you upload files that contain sensitive information through an unsecured service, the content could be exposed by a data breach.
If a data breach occurs, and exposes files that include your client’s sensitive information, you could be in big trouble.
1. Prioritize security for file sharing
Free online file-sharing services are convenient for sending files to clients when they aren’t particularly valuable or don’t contain sensitive information. But if you get accustomed to using such services for sharing files, you might casually turn to one of them and send a file that contains confidential information out of habit.
Prioritizing cybersecurity for sharing files with clients is one of the essential functions you have to ensure your organization does for its clients. You’ll minimize the potential for accidental exposure of personal information, trade secrets, and other data that is expected to remain private.
2. Use Box to send large files
If you don’t already have an account with Box, you should get one, even if you only end up using it to send large files to your clients. Box makes it possible to send your clients large files securely, such as high resolution photos, large videos, presentations, and .zip files.
With Box, you won’t ever receive an error message telling you that your file is too big to send.
Unlike the web-based file-sharing applications that delete your file after several days, Box is a file storage platform, too. Your files won’t be deleted until you choose to get rid of them.
When you share files through Box, you can customize the shared link settings to restrict access or grant special permissions. For example, you can make files read-only by disabling the download function.
You can also determine whether people with the link can edit or simply view each file you send. The best part is that Box’s servers are secure and HIPAA-compliant. That means you can use their services to store and share files containing protected medical information without violating HIPAA, provided you enable the right features.
For instance, you can encrypt data, require a password, and set an expiration date for each file you share.
3. Give your client a physical DVD, hard drive, or thumb drive
External file-storage options are another way to deliver large files to a client without worrying about auto deletion. You probably wouldn’t want to send a hard drive through the mail if it contains sensitive data, but if you meet with your clients in person, it’s easy just to hand off a thumb drive.
Be aware, however, that USB drives have a finite lifespan and are susceptible to corruption. If you provide files for your clients using a USB drive, make sure you also keep a full back-up copy of everything you place on the drive. As time passes, you might have occasion to resort to it; your client might even misplace or lose the drive before managing to open and view the contents.
4. Upload directly to a client’s file storage account
If your client has their own secure file storage account, they might give you access so you can upload files directly into it. This option is preferable to using a web-based approach that may not have sufficient security measures in place.
Keep client files secure: always enforce your IT security policies
Take care not to depend on unsecured systems for quick transfers of data just because you can set your files to self-destruct after a few hours. Deleted files can be easily recovered.
You have a responsibility to keep your client’s data safe. Even if you didn’t sign a contract that specifically guarantees you will keep your customer’s information secure, you create an implied agreement whenever you enter a business relationship with someone.
Unfortunately, the use of unapproved solutions significantly contributes to malicious cyberattacks. These may include using personal email addresses to send files, depending on free and unsecured cloud-hosting services, and other facile workarounds.
No matter how you choose to send large files to clients, security policies have to be enforced if they’re going to be effective. Find out whether your team struggles with sending large files to clients. Find out what their workarounds are.
Then implement a permanent solution that uses a reputable, secure file-sharing application. Transition your crew over to the new system and prohibit the use of anything else. This is the only way to avoid the catastrophe of a data breach.