5 Essential Steps to Securely Share Files Online


Ankita Tripathy


6 Mins Read

February 22, 2024

Securely Share Files Online

Whether you are collaborating with your colleagues or sharing personal documents with loved ones, this is all you need to know about sharing them securely. 

What Is the Meaning of Secure File Sharing?

What Is the Meaning of Secure File Sharing_

Secure file sharing refers to privately and securely sharing files so they can only be accessed by the intended recipients. From medical records and intimate personal notes to legal documents and banking details, these files contain confidential information that must be protected. Hence, you must always share them securely.

Important Steps to Securely Share Files Online 

Important Steps to Securely Share Files Online

So, now you know what Secure File Sharing means. Great! However, do you know why it is so important? If that is something that you need to know, we have your back!

Here are some of the significance of sharing files in a secured manner:

1. Password-protect the file 

You can password-protect files so they can be shared securely. Only those individuals with the password will be able to access the files and go through the content. This prevents unauthorized access. 

However, you must remember to choose a strong password that cannot be easily guessed. When sending the password to your family, friend, or colleague, choose a safe messaging channel. You can also simply tell the recipient the password in person. 

For instance, if you are a Mac user sharing multiple files, you can compress or ZIP the files so they can be shared easily. Compressing files reduces the file size and saves storage space. If you wonder how to add password to ZIP file Mac, you can do it via Terminal. Open Terminal on your Mac > enter cd and the location of the file or folder you want to compress and protect > type zip -er filename.zip into Terminal > enter and verify a password. 

Please note that if remembering passwords is a hassle, you can use a password manager. 

2. Encrypt the file 

Encrypting your file is the best way to securely share files online. Until the file is decrypted, it will become unreadable. Only those users with the encryption key will be able to access the file. Hence, this is an excellent way to keep your data protected, even if it happens to fall into the wrong hands. 

You must encrypt the files locally even if you have uploaded them to the cloud and taken several security precautions. Typically, encryption takes place at two levels. One is full disk encryption, and the other is file-based. The latter fills the gaps left by full-disk encryption. 

3. Turn on 2FA

Passwords and file encryption are two of the most dependable ways to ensure your files are being shared securely. But if you want to add an extra security layer, you can enable 2FA or two-factor authentication. With this turned on, you will need to enter the password and also the one-time code generated and sent to your phone or email. 

4. Set sharing time limits 

Depending on the file-sharing provider you have chosen, you may be allowed to set an expiration time, after which the link will not work. By setting the time you need to share files, you will be reducing the risks of unauthorized access. 

5. Use a VPN

If you are sharing files while connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, you must remember to turn on the VPN. VPNs encrypt Internet traffic so that hackers and other malicious actors cannot access your data. 

What are the Common Ways to Share Files?

What are the Common Ways to Share Files_

Are you wondering what might be some of the ways in which you can share files? Well, we have you covered! Here are some of the most popular ones that you need to take a look at:

1. USB drive 

Sharing files by copying them onto a USB drive and handing them to recipients is the old-fashioned way. Even here, you must ensure the USB drive is encrypted with a strong password. So, if the removable storage gets lost or stolen, your data will remain safe. 

2. Email attachments 

The easiest way to share files with someone is to attach them to an email. However, Gmail, Outlook, and other email providers are not the safest. Also, you may need to compress the files before sending them as an attachment because the email service providers have a fixed size limit. 

The biggest email service providers use TLS encryption, so your email is secured in transit. However, after the message reaches the recipient, the message may not say ‘encrypted.’ Also, the problem is that the encryption key is held by the providers. Hence, you will not know who is accessing them. 

You can use ProtonMail and other end-to-end encrypted email service providers so you can send sensitive files. 

3. Cloud-based sharing 

Do you want to securely share large folders or files? You can use cloud-based sharing services. Instead of sharing the files, you can send a secure link to them once you have stored the files in the cloud. Then, the recipient will click on a button and download the files. Some good examples of cloud-based sharing services are OneDrive, Google Drive, and Proton Drive.

What Are The Significant Reasons To Share Files?

What Are The Significant Reasons To Share Files_

Whether at home or work, you will have to share sensitive files securely at times. This is essential if you are running a business or searching for a file-sharing solution. You don’t just have to ensure security but so many things. Here are the significant reasons to share files. 

1) Keep Your Data Secure 

Did you know that securely sharing the file lets you easily keep your data secure? Well, this is all about end-to-end encryptions. It means no one but you can share files with easy access. 

2) Stay in Sync 

While sharing your file, you must handle the secure cloud storage system. This further allows you to update files on the fly. In this way, everyone can share the same file copy in an encrypted manner. On the other hand, while you are collaborating on the files at work or sharing the folder with your family, you will always have the latest version. 

3) Transfer large files

If you are sending the files by email, then it means this is not secure. Even if you use the encrypted email and an attached size, these usually have limitations of around 25 MB. You can easily share files of any size or type with the best and most systematic file storage. 

4) Monitor access

While you send the secure file-sharing link, you already have the record while sharing the file or any folder. With some of the providers, you will be able to track the files, whether this has been downloaded, or even this has been set the time limitations and again revoke the file access to them. 

Let’s Talk About The Tips To Share Files Securely

Let’s Talk About The Tips To Share Files Securely

Did you know that your files are not end-to-end encrypted, and the file provider will hold the encryption keys? Below, I am going to share tips on securely sharing files. 

1) Use end-to-end encryption

Ensure your files are not end-to-end encrypted after all. With this end-to-end encryption, you can hold the encryption keys to your files. Therefore, you can only share the files with those who can access them. 

2) Use Strong Passwords

While you are handling any online account, you must use strong passwords, or you must even use strong passphrases. This will help you to keep your file secure and safe. In this case, if you want to get strong passwords, you must use a good source password manager to help you store and generate passwords securely. 

3) Turn two-factor authentication

It would help if you switched the two-factor authentication to give the files an extra layer of security. On the other hand, you must verify the identity you are currently holding by entering the six-digit code from the authentication app. Otherwise, you must activate the physical security key. While you are using a strong password, then, this is essential to keep the file secure in the online account. 

4) Password Protect Files

While using that file securely, you test the secure file-sharing links. You can choose a solid password and send it via the secure messaging channel. 

The Bottom Line 

So, when you share files with your colleagues or friends, don’t forget to take security measures. You wouldn’t want your files to get hacked by malicious actors who might use your information to harm you.

If there are any other questions about the same, please feel free to reach out. Comment below what all you would want to know next!

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Ankita Tripathy

Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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