Most Secure File Sharing Options for Enterprise & Compliance

Most Secure File Sharing Options for Enterprise & Compliance

Looking for the most secure file sharing options? Here are the options, what to look for, how to compare options, and which is best for your enterprise.

What is secure file sharing? Secure file sharing is privately sending or receiving data or files from internal employees and external customers. This type of transmission will protect the information from being shared with unauthorized users or hackers and ensure confidentiality.

Why Secure File Sharing Is Essential for Enterprises

Secure file sharing is essential for enterprises for the following reasons:

  1. Protection of Sensitive Information: Enterprises handle a significant amount of sensitive and confidential content, including financial records, customer data, intellectual property, personally identifiable information and protected health information (PII/PHI), and employee information. Secure file sharing ensures that this information remains protected from unauthorized access, theft, and cyber threats.
  2. Compliance With Regulations: Many industries and regions have data privacy regulations in place that require organizations to protect and secure the storage and transmission of sensitive content. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines and legal liabilities. Secure file sharing helps organizations meet these requirements and avoid penalties.
  3. Collaboration: In today’s digital workplace, collaboration is crucial for business success. Secure file sharing enables employees, partners, and clients to access and exchange files and information without compromising security. This promotes better teamwork, productivity, and business growth.
  4. Reputation and Trust: Data breaches and cyberattacks can severely damage an organization’s reputation and trust with customers and partners. Secure file sharing solutions help enterprises maintain a strong reputation by providing peace of mind to stakeholders that their content is being protected.
  5. Cost Savings: A data breach or cyberattack can result in significant financial losses for an organization due to legal fees, settlements, business disruption, remediation, and reputation loss. Secure file sharing solutions can help prevent these incidents from occurring, ultimately saving the organization money in the long run.

Overall, secure file sharing is essential for enterprises to protect their sensitive content, comply with regulations, promote collaboration, maintain a strong reputation, and save costs. Implementing a robust and secure file sharing solution should be a top priority for any organization that handles sensitive information.

What Are Different Types of File Sharing?

While file sharing and storage have clear definitions, they also work through several methods that are more or less secure (which can impact how they affect compliance in enterprise organizations):

  • Email and USB sharing: It goes without saying, but many companies still rely on stone-age tools like email and removable media to share files. This works on a small scale but is definitely not a best practice for data-driven companies. This is especially true for businesses that deal with PII or PHI data that requires specific security controls.
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP): This protocol is almost as old as the internet itself, and supports fast file transmissions between two computers. Any computer can send and receive files over FTP so long as they have access to each other through a networked connection. While it’s a common transmission method, it’s not secure. It includes no end-to-end encryption and transmits data clear over the Internet. Alternatively, users that need actual security for file transfers utilize either FTP with SSL (FTPS) or SSH FTP (SFTP), depending on their needs.
  • Cloud storage and sharing: Consumers and businesses both use cloud storage solutions to keep files safe and support collaboration and access. These platforms typically have built-in file sharing capabilities that include secure sharing and authorization controls.
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing: P2P file sharing found popularity in the 1990s and 2000s with networks like LimeWire, Napster, and Kazaa. Many of these were built with at least the semblance of legitimate sharing, but quickly evolved (or were purpose-built for) sharing copyrighted material like music and movies. This category also includes BitTorrent, a decentralized and rapid sharing protocol used for content distribution.
  • Managed file transfer (MFT): MFT is an offshoot of secured file transfer. Whereas secure transfer maintains security for file transfers over public network, MFT adds additional data visibility, security, automation, and compliance features to support enterprise transfer needs.

What Are the Risks Involved With File Sharing?

While sharing a simple file like a document seems harmless, sharing files across an enterprise or a larger network like the Internet comes with a set of risks and challenges that businesses will have to consider.

  1. Security. One of the biggest risks of sharing files online is security. Hackers can intercept transmissions, listen to sharing connections, or break into file servers used to share across an organization. This is a major problem for any organization, but especially so for one that works in regulated industries like healthcare, finance, or government contracting. If not using a secured file sharing and storage solution, you run the risk of introducing malware and other malicious programs into your network. At the very least, you’ll leave your organization exposed to potentially dangerous files that you can’t trace or track.
  2. Compliance. Most security regulations require some form of encryption for file sharing and storage. More complex ones, like HIPAA, will also require some sort of capability to trace file management and track users in the system, at least so far as they are using those files. Conversely, if you don’t have a secure system in place, your business will be out of compliance. Operating outside of compliance can, and usually will, include severe penalties including heavy fines and loss of ability to do business within that industry. If your business works in a regulated industry, having secure sharing tools will be a must.
  3. Lack of Data Transparency. Since many secured file sync and sharing solutions include features like user authentication and other security controls, you can also get a view of how users are interacting with files in a system. With a secure system, you can trust that users are legitimate and that access is controlled, which means that you can provide transparency across the system.

What Are Some File Sharing Security Risks Manufacturing Organizations Face?

File sharing is a common practice in many manufacturing organizations. It is an important business tool that allows manufacturers to securely share and collaborate on design files. However, there are some security risks associated with file sharing that need to be taken into consideration.

First, unauthorized access to files is a serious risk. If a file is not protected properly, it can easily be accessed by anyone who has the right file sharing credentials. File sharing systems should be configured to require a password or other form of two-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the files. Additionally, it is important to use file sharing tools that encrypt data in transit, to ensure that files are not easily accessed or tampered with.

Second, malware and viruses can be spread through file sharing. Without the proper security measures in place, it can be easy for malicious software to be unknowingly downloaded and installed on company computers. To protect against this, antivirus software should be run on all computers and any files shared should be scanned for viruses before they are opened.

Third, inadvertent data leakage can be a problem. Data leakage can occur when a sensitive file is shared with the wrong person or group, or if the file is not protected properly. It is important to educate employees on the importance of protecting sensitive files, and to ensure that all files shared are properly secured.

Finally, it is important to be aware of insider threats. Employees who have access to file sharing systems may be tempted to misuse their privileges and share sensitive files with competitors or other malicious actors. It is important to create policies that limit employee access to files, as well as to monitor employee activity related to file sharing to identify any potential threats.

Overall, with the right security measures in place, file sharing can be a powerful business tool. However, it is important for manufacturers to be aware of the security risks associated with file sharing and to take steps to protect against them.

What to Look for in a File Sharing Service

Not all sharing platforms are created equal. There are several features covering use, access, and security, that any business should look at before deciding about whether or not to use them

Features to look for:

  1. Access controls, including advanced user permissions and system-wide user management.
  2. Automation controls, including workflow automation, communication and logging automation. Automation can also work hand-in-hand with security, integration, and access controls.
  3. Security controls, including advanced end-to-end encryption that meets or exceeds any standards required in your industry. Also consider any sharing solution that integrates with larger security automation and risk management tools.
  4. Compliance. Different industries call for different compliance frameworks. Look for a sharing service that can demonstrate in a given compliance framework like HIPAA of FedRAMP.
  5. Robust authentication features, including multifactor and/or biometric authentication.
  6. Unlimited file sizes to support large files (10 MB or more) and unique file types like .mp4, .wav, .mov, .psd, and .flac.
  7. Integration with multiple devices, including mobile devices where users can access files on the go without sacrificing security.

Encryption for File Sharing Systems

Encryption is a powerful tool for secure file sharing. It helps protect data by scrambling the contents of a file so that it can only be read by someone with the encryption key. This means that if your file is intercepted in transit, the data contained within it will be unreadable. Another benefit of encryption is that it can help ensure that only authorized parties have access to the data. This helps prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive information contained within a file. Additionally, encrypting files helps ensure that data is not altered in any way during transmission, which can help prevent malicious actors from manipulating or corrupting data. All in all, encryption provides an additional layer of security for file sharing systems and should be strongly considered.

The consequences of not using encryption for file sharing can be severe. Without encryption, files are vulnerable to interception and unauthorized access. This means that sensitive information contained within the file could be accessed or stolen by malicious actors. Additionally, if files are not encrypted, then any changes made to the file during transmission have the potential to corrupt or damage it. Not only can this lead to data loss, but it could also potentially cause malicious damage to other systems. Finally, without encryption, companies and organizations could be in violation of various industry or governmental regulations, resulting in hefty fines or other legal action.

Why Multi-factor Authentication Is Crucial for Secure File Sharing

Multi-factor authentication is crucial for secure file sharing because it adds an extra layer of security to the authentication process. Traditional authentication methods like usernames and passwords can be easily compromised by cybercriminals. However, multi-factor authentication requires the user to provide two or more pieces of evidence to prove their identity. This can include something the user knows (like a password), something the user has (like a mobile phone or security token), or something the user is (like a fingerprint or facial recognition).

By adding this extra layer of security, multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive content, even if they manage to obtain a user’s login credentials.

Overall, multi-factor authentication is a critical security measure for any organization that wants to ensure that their sensitive files are only accessible by authorized individuals. It provides an additional layer of security that makes it much more difficult for cybercriminals to breach the system, and it helps to protect against threats like phishing and social engineering attacks. Additionally, it can help to reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

Secure File Sharing vs. Secure File Transfer

Secure file transfer refers to the act of transferring files from one location or device to another location or device in a secure way that ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the files. This is typically done through the use of encryption and authentication protocols. Secure file transfer happens by way of managed file transfer (MFT) or through secure file transfer protocol (SFTP).

On the other hand, secure file sharing refers to the act of sharing files with others in a secure way without compromising the security of the files. This is typically done through the use of secure online file sharing platforms or tools that allow users to collaborate and share files securely.

While both secure file transfer and secure file sharing involve the secure transfer of files, the main difference lies in the purpose and context of the transfer. Secure file transfer is typically used to send bulk files, for one-time or repeated transfers, such as sending confidential documents to a client or colleague, while secure file sharing is used for ongoing collaboration, such as working on a project with a team or sharing files with clients or partners.

Nail Down Secure File Sharing Securely With Kiteworks

Having secure file sharing in place is non-negotiable for most businesses. With the explosion of cloud service providers in the enterprise space, finding a solution isn’t too difficult. When selecting a provider, however, always know that you never have to compromise productivity or accessibility for security (or vice versa).

Kiteworks secure file sharing capabilities give you security and ease of use across four priorities:

  1. Security and Compliance: Kiteworks’ secure file sharing uses industry-standard encryption usable in almost any use case. This includes sharing files in VDRs or through secure cloud and secure email sharing. These capabilities also support stringent compliance demands for file access and protection on top of useful features like automation and analytics.
  2. Automation: Workflow streamlining and automatic notifications are a critical part of enterprise workflows, and Kiteworks automates common tasks like uploads, downloads, and commenting/logging/reporting. Also includes record keeping as part of automatic compliance processes for regulatory protocols like FedRAMP.
  3. Usability: Kiteworks doesn’t get in the way of work. Employees in your organization can easily share files through desktop or mobile devices without having to sacrifice their ability to collaborate. More importantly, they can easily and securely work with clients and other external teams without breaking compliance or their workflow.
  4. Visibility: Kiteworks brings complete data visibility across an entire organization, which is imperative for data-driven enterprise clients. Furthermore, that visibility is integrated into necessary compliance, sharing, and reporting functions.
  5. Integration with Critical Enterprise Apps: Kiteworks brings top-notch security and file sharing tools to leading enterprise apps and plugins like Microsoft Office, Salesforce, iManage, and Google Docs.

Schedule a custom demo to learn more about how Kiteworks secure file sharing can help you govern, protect, and securely share your most sensitive content.

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