Businessman typing on the keyboard of his computer synchronizing files with the cloud storage with a hand-drawn cloud icon with data transfer arrows.

Cloud-based file sharing services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and OneDrive all have the potential to help improve and streamline the way you share documents, data and other important information for business. When done correctly, cloud-based file sharing is generally considered a safe and highly efficient way to transfer information, but it is important to take some proactive steps to create a secure, controlled file-sharing environment, with clearly communicated standards and protocols to ensure you aren’t putting your business assets at risk.

The reality is that even if you don’t think your business needs cloud-based file sharing capabilities, you probably do. Regardless of what business you’re in, files are getting larger and data sets are getting bigger. And if you wait much longer, you’ll likely find that your more tech-savvy employees will have already taken it upon themselves to share large files using personal (often free) file-sharing software as a workaround to overcome the limitations associated with traditional email. Consumer-grade file sharing services can leave your business particularly susceptible to data leaks and other security threats. Furthermore, many of these services meant for personal use do not meet industry compliance standards and could put your company at risk of an inadvertent regulatory breach. The bottom line is, investing in a file sharing platform intended for business use is a relatively inexpensive way to protect important data and information from falling into the wrong hands.

Once you’ve taken the step to implement a standardized file-sharing system, the next step is to train and educate your users so they fully understand the proper file-sharing protocol. For example, many of these programs give you options as to the security level of the file sharing, including allowing anyone with the link to open a file (least secure) to allowing only a specific person at a specific email address to open a file (more secure) to requiring a password to access a file (most secure). Making sure your employees know exactly what files may be shared, and how, goes a long way to ensuring your company information remains secure. And last, but not least, whatever cloud-based program you choose, make sure it’s user friendly. This is probably the single easiest way to get buy-in from users. If it makes their lives easier, then they have no reason to do anything else. And when business interests and employee interests are aligned – everyone wins!

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