The importance of online collaboration took a quantum leap as the COVID-19 pandemic forced just about every office worker to stay at home.
As a result, many companies discovered they can function efficiently with people working from their home offices, and part of the credit for that goes to file sharing.
File sharing is also a Catch-22 scenario, especially in cases where big data files are shared. According to an article in the SmartData Collective, big data has made file sharing more dangerous than ever since more hackers use machine learning to dupe their targets. The article also references a Ponemon Institute report, which found 35% of data breaches are caused by the “human factor.” These include mistakes and negligence by employees who open doors for hackers through improper file sharing.
Yet, file sharing must continue. Whether it’s among internal team members, customers, or business partners, sharing files is how business gets done. The process sounds so simple and people often share files without a second thought. But it must be handled just right or else people will get frustrated with the process, or your files could be left open to cybercriminals.
Key Factors in Selecting a File Sharing Solution
If you’re looking for a file-sharing solution, most IT teams look at four key factors:
- Is it easy to use? (to avoid technical support for end-users)
- Will it send files fast? (to prevent end-users from complaining)
- Is it secure from hackers? (to protect the company’s digital assets)
- Does it comply with regulations? (to avoid fines and streamline audit responses)
As you consider these key aspects when evaluating the best file sharing solution for your company, the decision may come down to the nature of the files you share. Some contain data that warrants a high level of security and compliance while others may not require any significant protection.
Where to Start
As a starting point, first consider the available methods for sharing files. There are two basic techniques involving one-to-one file sharing:
- The Peer to Peer (P2P) approach allows individual client devices to connect to a network for file transfers. This technique is usually best when a small group of users needs to share files.
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP) works well for large and unusual files, such as those containing legacy data. It’s been around for a long time and works fairly efficiently, although it can be lacking in security. Files are usually sent from a server through a command prompt, or you can use an interface tool.
Although not a direct one-to-one user technique, the cloud is another way to share files. One user can upload data to a cloud repository (often in a public cloud like Dropbox) and specify multiple users to give access to for downloading. Some companies also use this method to back up their files.
Of course, there’s always email for sharing files. All you have to do is attach a file to a message and click. This is best only for small files that don’t require security.
Managed File Transfer: The Big Brother to FTP
The most advanced file-sharing technology is Managed File Transfer. MFT is a more secure method in comparison to FTP and is more reliable, efficient and faster. MFT also outperforms more recent protocols like HTTP. By leveraging the Secure File Transfer (SFT) protocol, MFT solutions typically provide several key security capabilities:
- Encodes files so only senders and recipients can view them.
- Generates a trail of file transfer operations—sender information, send time stamps, and recipients.
- Produces proof files have been received by intended recipients.
- Authenticates by connecting to user repositories such as LDAP, Active Directory, NTLM and PAM.
Security: The Primary Factor
Given that most file-sharing platforms send files quickly, security and compliance tend to be the factors IT leaders look at the most closely when considering a file-sharing solution. Along these lines, it’s critical to use a solution that applies end-to-end encryption and permission settings to prevent hackers and the host system from viewing the data inside of a file. Be sure the public sharing option is turned off!
From a compliance standpoint, it’s important to use a solution with auditing capabilities so you can prove who sends and receives each file your system handles and anyone else who accessed each file. As part of the compliance effort, configure a process to automatically delete files that are no longer needed.
Leading File Sharing Options
An online search reveals many choices for file sharing solutions. A few that receive recognition from more than one rating service include Egnyte, GoAnywhere, IBM, GlobalScape, and MOVEit from Progress:
- Egnyte is cloud-based and features customizable branding, multiple user management, data authentication, offline access, file locking, and audit reports.
- GoAnywhere MFT is a managed file transfer solution that enables users to secure, automate and manage file transfers and related processing tasks. The solution can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises.
- IBM Sterling Secure File Transfer is another managed file transfer solution that features a unified platform so you can share and track mission-critical file movements within your company and across partner networks.
- Globalscape, the third managed file transfer solution in this line-up, features a simplified architecture for lightweight deployments that can scale and automated workflows.
The other solution that sets itself apart by using a Managed File Transfer (MFT) methodology is MOVEit Managed File Transfer by Progress. MOVEit is used by thousands of organizations around the world to provide complete visibility and control over file transfer activities. With MOVEit, you can assure the reliability of core business processes and the secure and compliant transfer of sensitive data between partners, customers, users.
MOVEit also leverages proprietary technology to send files fast which will make your end-users happy. And your IT team will appreciate how much easier it is to manage since it supports multiple file transfer protocols and automates file transfer processes, including the detection and handling of failed transfers.
Try MFT for Free
Visit our website today for a free trial of MOVEit Managed File Transfer. The solution complies with HIPAA, GDPR PCI DSS, ISO 27001, SOX, BASEL I/II/III, FIPS, FISMA, GLBA, FFIEC, ITAR, and other data privacy regulations. You can also deploy it on-premises or as a service in the cloud. It’s the easy way to ensure fast file transfers for your end-users while also protecting all your digital assets.