Best Practices of File Sharing to Ensure Your Data Is Secure

Do you remember the days of sending files by fax? You had to stand there as each page made its way through the scanner, just hoping there wasn’t a paper jam.

Technology has definitely made file sharing easier. Now we can send files of any size with just a few mouse clicks. But that ease of sharing also comes with an IT security risk, and if you don’t use file sharing best practices, you can end up with a data breach or giving access to sensitive files to the wrong party.

Just one file sharing site, Dropbox, has over 100,000 new shared folders and links created… every hour! Illustrating how much the world enjoys sharing and how important safeguards for data security are when it comes to sharing activities.

If you’ve ever worked with Triada Networks, you know that IT security for our clients in NYC and New Jersey, many of whom are in the financial industry,  is our number one priority. So, when we started to see an issue with file sharing in client offices, we took it upon ourselves to come up with a solution.

Common File Sharing Issues

There were two common problems we found when discussing file sharing and IT security with NYC financial firms, these included:

  • Some were using less secure, consumer-grade solutions (like Dropbox) that gave them too little control and too little security
  • Others were using expensive solutions that didn’t always integrate with other systems, making them cumbersome to use

Our solution? A fully integrated file sharing tool that combined security, integration, and affordability, and we call it Triada Box. This collaborative file sharing platform incorporates all the best practices of file sharing to ensure ease-of-use with state-of-the-art IT security.

How Can I Share My Data and Keep It Safe Too?

Sharing files both inside and outside your business is pretty vital for any company’s daily operations. Ensuring all that data going back and forth is secure and shared smartly will protect you from costly liabilities like data breaches and data privacy violations.

Here are the key ways to ensure your file sharing follows administrative and IT security best practices.

Use a Well-Planned File Structure

Being in a hurry can mean you drop a file to share with a client into the wrong cloud folder and accidentally give them access to confidential company information.

Use a well-planned structure outlining where different types of files are stored and train your staff on where files can and can’t be shared, depending upon whether the recipient is inside or outside of your organization.

Good file structure practices include:

  • Use clear names that denote the type of data contained (not “Tim’s stuff”)
  • Keep sensitive or compliance related documents in a specific main folder so proper permissions can be applied at the top level
  • Keep folder levels between 3 to 5 deep
  • Designate top level folders for internal or external sharing

Use File Locking and Permissions

Lock any key files with sensitive customer or corporate data and apply appropriate user permissions to ensure that no one can edit, view, or share a file or folder they shouldn’t.

Be sure to pay attention to each type of privilege, so editing and sharing (especially) are controlled for sensitive data.

Enforce Good Naming Conventions

You can put a nice, organized file structure in place on your file storage and sharing platform, then 6 months later there are files & folders with non-descriptive names or duplicates (i.e. “Client: ACME” and “ACME-Client”) making it difficult for anyone to locate or properly secure digital files.

Put naming conventions into place for folders and files that will ensure consistency. You want to use names that are meaningful to everyone and not too long. You might use something like this as a naming rule: (internal/external)-(department/client)-(document name)-(date)-(version)

Use a Tool That’s Compliance Friendly

If your organization needs to comply with data privacy regulations, like FINRA or HIPAA, you don’t want to find out too late that your file sharing tool isn’t in compliance or you could end up with a costly data breach or regulatory fine.

Compliance-friendly attributes to look for include:

  • Auditing ability
  • Reporting
  • Encryption
  • SSL connections
  • Device management

Good Keyword Search Functions

There are some file sharing tools out there that may seem robust, but when you actually try to search for a file that you know is there, the platform can’t find it. Not all file sharing tools have the same type of search functionality, which can lead to duplicate files being uploaded that don’t have the same admin security applied to them as the original.

Look for On-Premise & Cloud Flexibility

There are many file sharing platforms that only give you one option, a cloud-based environment. For those companies that prefer an on-premise solution, that leaves their options limited.

Using a solution, like Triada Box, that can be deployed either on your own on-site server or on our private cloud-server gives you the flexibility to store your shared files where you like and have complete control over them physically if you prefer.

Determine Your Retention Policies

Many data privacy regulations require commonsense data retention policies. Which means you don’t hang on to sensitive client data forever but dispose of it properly once it’s no longer needed.

A data retention policy can also keep your file storage platform from getting overwhelmed with data that’s no longer needed and keep it more efficient to search and store the files that are still active.

Learn More about the Triada Box File Sharing Platform

Would you like to take a free test drive of Triada Box and see what you’ve been missing? We can help you share and collaborate without losing control of your information.

Contact us today to take a look! Call us at 201-297-7778 or schedule a free consultation online.