Businesses seek out enterprise-level file management platforms for many reasons. One is ease-of-use in sharing files, another is to have a unified place for server and cloud storage, and yet another is to have a backup option in case of disaster.

But most importantly, businesses look for file management platforms because they offer a secure solution for the sensitive data that comes and goes from their organizations every day.

How is it these platforms keep data and files secure?

1) Encryption

The goal in secure file management is to keep the entire channel of communication encrypted whether your data is in transit or at rest. For those less familiar with data transfer, when data is in transit it means it’s traveling from network to network or being transferred from a local storage device to a cloud storage device.

Data can be exposed to risks both in transit and at rest and requires protection in both states. Look for standard encryption methods approved for use by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which dictates the standard that government files should be encrypted at. For example, SmartFile encrypts files at rest with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit and  files in transit use 128-bit encryption.

For SmartFile clients with our on-prem file sharing solution, we use encryption at rest to secure inactive data stored on any device or network. This also means that even if a data thief were to take something from an on-prem client and plug it into their own hardware, they wouldn’t be able to see the data.

2) User Management

With hardware and applications secured up to the highest level, it’s less likely that a data breach would occur through a weakness in the system and more likely that it would occur due to negligence on a user’s part.

Intelligent file management systems have to account for the human error that users often make. A business will want to choose a file management platform that lets an administrator control use through granular permissions.

For instance, in SmartFile’s file management platform, we give administrators the option to assign a home directory to a user that’s several layers below the actual home directory. Unlike a typical letter drive, the user can only see the home directory and cannot go into other parent folders or unassigned directories. Use groups and access permissions to adjust that, but those are the default settings.

Groups can be extremely helpful for, you guessed it, groups of users. Instead of finding a folder to send to a group of people, you can create groups and allow them access to certain folders. Groups allow you to apply the same permissions to the group and if you need, modify one individual user you want to give different access rights.

Another feature that deals with secure file sharing is the option to only allow users to download and upload files using a secure connection method. Rather than using a browser UI through HTTPS, administrators can dictate files only be transferred using FTP over SSL, SFTP using authentication keys for login instead of usernames and passwords or through WebDAV.

Controlling everything a user has access to, as well as how they can use files, is an essential feature to look for in a secure file management platform.

3) Compliance

Using IT tools and practices which are compliant with governmental (and internal) standards are absolute musts to run a secure, effective, and trustworthy organization. If people are entrusting you with their private medical and health information, you owe it to them as legally-protected customers and as human beings to protect that data.

IT compliance is how you do so. It focuses on your data storing and security measures: storing data from the past, checking on correct processes in the present, and safeguarding confidential details for the future. IT compliance focuses on how your business’s tech and data follow policies to keep things on the up and up both internally and externally. Remaining  compliant helps you reduce threats and limit the damage of a cyberattack if one were to affect your business. Plenty of industries have strict compliance standards, such as:

Files are safeguarded with encryption, but also need a fastidious audit log that tracks file and site activity, including the login attempts, username, IP address, file path and time/date that a file was accessed. In some industries, this data must be maintained for three, seven, and even the duration of someone’s life PLUS seven years.

We’ve always valued data privacy, and we pay close attention to the external factors affecting various industries—that’s part of why we created SmartFile in the first place. SmartFile has always been HIPAA-compliant. A HIPAA compliant file management platform will ensure that any personal health information (PHI) is as secure as possible during storage and transfer.

4) Updates and Maintenance

Both maintenance and updates are an important part of choosing a file management platform. Without updates, your platform will depreciate not just in value but in security, with new threats appearing every day.

SmartFile offers continuous maintenance, running antivirus scans on all files as their received. SmartFile updates for on-premise devices are offered quarterly and new features are being released as they’re built for cloud accounts.

5) File Lifecycle Management

Just like storage rooms of the past, many businesses have old files that they’re hoarding. Where this becomes a problem is if these documents have PHI or other sensitive information on them; these types of files need to be tracked and maintained. File lifecycle management can help manage files throughout their lifespan.

With file lifecycle management features, files can be tracked by date and activity. An administrator will create a path for a file and if they hit certain milestones, a specified action will occur.

Automating the file lifecycle is not always the most simple process, but it can prove very valuable for companies. Freeing up storage space for the most important information or documents can take the strain off of resources and save companies money by not using the best storage for less essential files.


The five points above are all elements of a secure file management platform. Assess your needs when it comes to file management and security and figure out which are most important to you.

If you’d like to talk about SmartFile’s file management platform, give us a call and we can discuss how we can meet your secure file management needs.

secure file transfer

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Related Topics & Tags: File Management File Sharing

About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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