While the internet has made life more convenient and provided some amazing benefits, it isn’t exactly a safe place. Just like you wouldn’t say your bank account number aloud in a crowded mall, sending sensitive information over the internet requires some forethought, common sense, and some due diligence.

Check out some basic tips for sending confidential information.

1. Know Your Permissions (and Use Them Wisely)

Permissions are the settings you have on your computer, cloud drive, or document sharing devices that determine who has permission to access your documents and to what extent they can share or edit them.

With certain cloud and file sharing platforms, there are a variety of ways you can use permissions to keep your users and your sensitive information safe. Granular permissions allow business owners to construct site-specific roles with privileges to match certain file requirements. This feature also restricts system administrators and database owners from accessing user data.

Whatever platform you choose, you should always make sure you have the options of password-protected share links, expiration dates, and download limits when it comes to file sharing.

The golden rule of permissions is less (access) is more. You can always change the permissions later, but it is better to ensure that the recipient only has access to what they legitimately need. Granular permissions and access rights ensure that only authorized users can see certain files. This is especially important for the remote workplace in the era of company data breaches.

2. Use Better P@ssw0rd$

When in doubt, it is always a good idea to password-protect your documents when sharing via consumer cloud tools, social media, email, or chat platforms.

We’re long past the days where “password123” is secure enough for your confidential files. You need a complex password to keep your information safe. Here are a few good guidelines for creating a secure password.

  • Use 12 – 15 characters
  • Avoid using dictionary words, slang, curse words, email addresses, names, places, etc.
  • Write down a password hint (not the actual password) and keep it in a safe place
  • Use different letters, numbers, and special symbols that you’ve never used before

Even if there aren’t any character requirements for a given website or file sharing solution, you should try and match these standards on your own. The more characters and symbols your passwords contain, the more difficult they are to guess. You may decide that a passphrase is better suited for you.

Once you find that perfect combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, it may be tempting to use it across multiple sites. But if a hacker is able to guess it, then they’ll have access to all of your information. You may think your password is impossible to guess, but cybercriminals have many dubious ways to crack it. And please don’t just add the number one to the end of a password you already use. You aren’t fooling anyone.

There is yet another step to making sure that your passwords are as secure and that is by changing them or updating them every 90 days. This may seem overwhelming, but I can guarantee that being a victim of cybercrime is going to be much, much worse.

And if you don’t think you can remember all your passwords for all your accounts (and really, who could?), you might give a password manager a try. They can generate and keep strong passwords for you so you don’t have to change them manually.

3. URL Sharing is Your Friend

When using instant messenger apps such as Slack or Facebook Messenger, URL sharing is a way to keep sensitive information or documents out of your message feed. If your account is hacked, then the hacker won’t have direct access to the information.

When creating a URL, ensure the document is password protected. Typically, this could be either adjusting the settings to “password-protect shares.”

Cloud drawing with computers around it.

4. Find An Easy, Secure File Sharing Platform

The easiest way to send confidential information is to have a file sharing platform that does the heavy lifting for you.

Sharing files with people inside and outside of your organization is inevitable. If you’re concerned with the security of your files and the sensitive information they contain, a professional file sharing platform can give you the assurance you need. Not only is your information encrypted, but with a file sharing solution, you don’t need to fear files being lost or corrupted. Your provider will be able to resolve your issues.

With a platform like SmartFile, we can keep your files safe and your data secure. You can even set expiration dates for temporary links and password encryption for added security. And if you’re especially concerned, you may think about an on-premise solution.

Here are some basic features to look for in this type of platform:

  • Encryption at rest and in transfer ensures your information isn’t liable in transit or while sitting in your account. To best do this, go with an on-prem file sharing solution.
  • User permissions can help establish who has access to download or share content. Remember, always use the least amount of privilege. Always better to add later, than have your information compromised
  • Password protection is an absolute must when sharing documents via email. Whether that is directly emailing a password-protected PDF or a protected URL, always use a password as a gatekeeper to your information.
  • Activity logs are sometimes found with certain robust file sharing platforms. If you plan to share confidential information related to taxes, business, or medical records an activity log can show who accessed the information and at what time.

Sending confidential information is important, but it shouldn’t be hard. SmartFile is the go-to solution for enterprises to small businesses for secure file management.

Solutions for Sending Confidential Information

If you’re looking for a smarter way for sending confidential information, check our SmartFile’s on-premises and cloud solutions below.

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Need Enhanced Security?

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FileHub™, our enhanced file server, sits behind your firewall and lets you encrypt files at rest.

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“We choose SmartFile because it is user-friendly, easy to set up, quick, efficient, and customizable. SmartFile has made sharing files with our contacts, clients, consultants, and between associates a whole lot quicker and easier.”

— Thanh Ly, Senior Database Administrator, Albert A Webb Associates

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