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Best Practices to Share Large Files

The solution to 'how to share large files' has a lot of possible answers

Sharing large files is critical for most businesses, but how do you ensure files make it to the right people — and not everyone else? When considerations like security, bulk transfers, and tracking come into play, businesses need more than a one-off solution to share files with employees, customers, and trading partners.

Luckily, there are a lot of options for how to share large files, whether you’re sending them to a recipient or giving users access to them in the cloud. Depending on your use cases, certain solutions may be a better fit than others.

Use a File Sharing Tool for Simple Access

Many cloud-based file sharing tools, like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox, among others, make sharing large files simple. Upload the files you want to share to the platform of your choice and simply give users access to individual documents or entire folders. Most file sharing tools limit your storage space based on the subscription plan, but still make sharing large files straightforward.

Related Content: Are You Avoiding These Top 10 File Transfer Risks?

Using a cloud-based tool to share documents with people outside of your organization comes with some risks, and following basic guidelines can keep you on track towards data security:

  • Set specific user access and permissions for files and folders.
  • Avoid giving external users access to your internal file structure.
  • Select a solution that allows you to implement passwords on documents.

One alternative to cloud-based storage that functions similarly is GoDrive, a file storage tool that helps employees and partners sync and share documents either on-premises or in the cloud. Easily track file versions, comment, and follow conversations within the tool. While cloud-based storage is relatively secure, an on-premises deployment option like GoDrive gives your organization full control.

Use a Secure Email Solution to Send Large Files

Sending big files via email works in some cases but can run up against two roadblocks: file size limits and security standards.

Most email clients limit file attachment sizes, which can be a blessing in disguise for the sender. It ensures they can’t send an email that the recipient may never receive due to a large attachment size and keeps them from taking up space in their email client with an oversized file. Plus, sending files by email – regardless of their size – may expose the business to unnecessary security risks or compliance violations.

Using an easy, secure tool that plugs directly into Outlook, like Secure Mail, gives you the opportunity to send files effortlessly from either an email client or a browser-based interface. Each recipient receives a unique link to the file, which makes it easy to track who’s viewed and downloaded the file.

Related Reading: 5 Tips for Large File Transfers

Additional features of secure email solutions typically include the ability to share multiple files, set access expiration dates, and call back files so they are no longer available to the recipient.

Secure email solutions work great for sharing large files on an ad-hoc basis, and many secure mail solutions do not restrict file size or file type. However, manually sharing files can be time-consuming, especially if you’re sharing large files often or in bulk.

Use More Than File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a popular but old transfer method, and the vast majority of organizations have evolved past FTP and often opt for more secure alternatives:

  • SFTP, or FTP over SSH, uses a secure channel to prevent unauthorized access while files are in motion. Thanks to secure features including user ID, password, and key authentication, SFTP makes it much more likely that only the correct users will access your files.
  • FTPS, or FTP over SSL, lets you share files with trading partners, employees, and clients after verifying a system’s authenticity.
  • AS2 or AS4, a common method for sharing EDI data safely and reliably, can be used to share any file type. Messages sent with AS2 and AS4 can be compressed, signed, and encrypted for secure sharing.

Related Reading: Beyond FTP: Securing and Managing File Transfers

Use an All-in-One Solution to Share Files Securely

If you regularly share files in bulk, a dedicated managed file transfer (MFT) tool might be the solution for you. MFT gives you the ability to share files of any size with ease and know whether or not they arrived at their destination thanks to notifications and detailed audit logs. And, if you or your recipient have spotty network connectivity, MFT will pause while sending and resume when everything’s back and up and running, keeping your inbox clear of “transfer failed” messages.

As an added bonus, some MFT solutions include a secure email option – so your organization can share large files both with ad-hoc emails and through MFT. MFT also allows you to track all of your file sharing through both options to make complying with audits quick and painless.

Collaborating person-to-person is simple with an MFT solution; efficiently share files and collaborate from any authorized computer or mobile device.

MFT offers more advantages for sharing large files than any other tool. With MFT, file size is less limited and more variable – whether you have one large file or multiple, you can be assured that your recipient will receive everything with no missing data. Plus, your files are secure both in transit and at rest.

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