How to Make Online File Sharing More Secure


With the advent of remote work, online file sharing has become part and parcel of every business. People use such platforms as Dropbox, Google Drive, email, or even Messenger and WhatsApp for this (make sure to never use the last two).

However, not all file-sharing options were created equal. Let us explain that to you with an example.

You fill a Google Doc with sensitive data and need to work on it with another employee and then send it to your boss. Instead of sending out invites to their emails and giving them separate access, you make the file open to the public, share it in a Slack group, and tag both people.

Such behavior can easily open the door for hackers to get company data. And cyber attackers are always on the lookout for a chance to strike. They won’t think twice if you give them opportunities to steal and expose company secrets.

Here’s how to make online file sharing more secure and protect your company data from unauthorized access.

Don’t share files through email

One can say that hackers are sharks, email is their ocean, and plenty of people don’t know how to swim.

Sharing files through email is archaic, and hackers have ways to breach passwords effortlessly. They can also use phishing attacks to steal credentials or mask files as links. One wrong click and company data can fall into the wrong hands.

Modern businesses shouldn’t be using email as a file-sharing option. Instead, opt for software with a better user experience and gated access.

Use file-sharing software

File-sharing software is the best way to keep hackers at bay and away from company data. Employees will share files inside the app, and nobody from outside won’t even know those files exist.

The most common options are Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox. The downside of their free services is that they’ve got limited storage. If you’re dealing with large files, you’ll have to upgrade to premium.

Secure your connection

It’s hard to break into file-sharing services like Google Drive. That’s why hackers pick the easier route. They will break into your network.

Remote work means more employees will be out and about. The chances of them connecting to free Wi-Fi in a local coffee shop are high, and that’s where cybercriminals may be waiting.

All it takes is one mistake for a hacker to hijack a device on a public network and threaten your company.

VPNs are a must when it comes to secure file sharing because they have two very important functions. First, they secure your connection to hide your IP address, making it safe to connect to any network. Second, they encrypt data and communications. Even if a hacker were to breach your communication, they’d get jumbled letters and numbers instead of company secrets.

Compress files before you send them

Hackers work fast. They don’t have the time to check every file that comes their way and mark it as important or not.

They will look for files containing words like ‘banking details,’ ‘user data,’ ‘employee payroll,’ or something similar.

Instead of sending individual files, you can bundle them together into the archive file format. That way, you will save space, protect the data from exposure, and make it hard for hackers to identify individual files.

Strengthen your passwords

Weak passwords are still the number one cause of data breaches. No tool can save your company if your employees are using default passwords. With brute force attacks, hackers can guess thousands of combinations to breach an account. All it takes is one weak password to leak company data to the dark web.

That’s why it’s important to implement a cybersecurity culture in the company. Nobody should be using their name, surname, kid, pet name, dates of birth, or ‘123456’ as their passwords. Instead, create long, 12+ character passphrases for every service.

Remembering so many passwords leads to fatigue, so it’s best to opt for password managers.

Don’t use USB keys

The easiest way to spread a virus around the office is to use USB keys for anything. Flash drives are easy to hijack, and hackers know how and where to plant them. Even though this includes somebody being present physically, it can happen in a hybrid office, too.

Ransomware, malware, or spyware can instantly get installed on your device. If a USB stick randomly appears in the office, don’t touch it. You don’t know where it’s been. Even if you scan a file for viruses, your antivirus might have trouble fending off a new attack.

Check a link before clicking on it

There’s no way to use the internet without clicking on links. It’s ingrained into the technology. That’s exactly why hackers love using links for attacks.

Make it a habit to double-check links before clicking. Hover your mouse over the hyperlinked text, and wait for the original website to appear. If it isn’t the original link, or it seems suspicious, don’t click on it.

This habit is hard to implement and fall back on because hackers place a heavy emotional load on phishing emails. They will create a sense of urgency, like a message saying that somebody has requested payment from your card, and you need to click to cancel it.

Don’t panic, and don’t fall for those kinds of scams.

Use these secure file-sharing tips, and keep your company safe.

I am a young digital marketer and a blog analyst, Author from Uttarakhand, India. I have been into blogging since 2013 and helping businesses with their SEO requirements. I have 12 years of experience; during the journey, I have worked on many websites and made good friends. I research and share my knowledge with everyone to help them succeed as solopreneurs, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. You can also find me on LinkedIn and see my entire journey.