As technology increasingly dominates the modern world, most aspects of our lives have become digital. Whether it is for work or entertainment, there will always be digital content that you would like to share with others. In this article, I’ll explain what file sharing is and the risks it may present, and I’ll cover a list of file-sharing services that you can choose from.
What Is File-Sharing?
From time to time you need to share digital files you create or store on your computer or mobile with others. This can include images, videos, text documents, computer programs or music. File sharing is the act of sharing your files with someone else using a computer network or the internet. It can be with a family member, a friend, or a co-worker.
The data can be shared privately or publicly with predefined levels of accessibility. By setting accessibility permissions, you can define the privileges that the people with whom you’ve shared the file have. These privileges include reading, viewing or editing the file.
Types of File-Sharing
Here are the main categories of sharing files over a network:
- Direct sharing—you send the file directly to the other person device. This method is called peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. In this method, your device communicates directly with the other person’s device.
- Sharing through a server—in the server method, you upload your data to a server which has access to the internet. Once your data is stored on the server, you can share it with someone else anywhere in the world.
- Online file sharing service—this is a web-based platform that allows you to create an account and use it to store your data and share it. This is the most popular method of file sharing.
Risks of File-Sharing
File sharing offers you a way to share your data across the world. When you upload your files to an online sharing service, you have the benefit that your files are maintained and secured. Using a file upload platform can make this task well managed and more secured. But you should be aware of the risks associated with file sharing.
Here are some file-sharing risks:
- You may download a file that contains a virus.
- Your file-sharing service may require you to disable your device firewall. This will lower the security level of your device.
- You may download an illegal, copyrighted or proprietary file.
- By mistake, you may upload sensitive files in a public file hosting location.
Top Secure File Sharing Services
Important factors in file-sharing services include the amount of storage they offer, ease of use, security and reliability.
The following list provides eight examples of file-sharing services:
- SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)—a secure file transfer protocol. It is used for direct (p2p) sharing. SFTP runs over the SSH protocol. It supports all security and authentication features of SSH. SFTP provides file access, file transfer, and file management over a secure connection.
- Box—a cloud sharing based service for businesses. Users can determine how they would like to share their content with others. This may be by invite to view and/or access to edit the files or users may upload their files to a shared folder and can then give others the rights to view said files. With advanced security controls, encryption key management, and complete information governance, the program guarantees security.
- Tresorit—a cloud storage service that focuses on enhanced security and data encryption. Tresorit encrypts their files using client-side encryption before uploading them. Tresorit has end-to-end encryption capability, that allows a user to share files with others, and simultaneously edit them. Tresorit keeps those shared files synced and secure.
- Dropbox—a cloud-based file sharing and storage service. Dropbox creates a folder on the user’s computer, and the contents of this folder are synchronized to Dropbox’s servers. If the user has additional devices where Dropbox is installed, the same files are kept up-to-date on all devices. A Dropbox user can send files to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. You can edit Microsoft Office files stored in your Dropbox account from inside your browser using Microsoft Office Online for free.
- Google Drive—a cloud-based storage and file sharing service. Google Drive allows users to store and synchronize digital content across all devices which use the same Google account. Google services such as Google Docs and Google Sheets are integrated into Google Drive. This allows all people that share a document editing capability. Google Drive uses the TLS standard for encryption. It is the same standard used by HTTPS protocol to encrypt connections to secure websites.
- Microsoft OneDrive—cloud storage and file sharing service from Microsoft. It can be used by anyone who has a Microsoft account. Microsoft OneDrive synchronizes the user data with their servers. This service is integrated with Microsoft Office suite products and saves files directly to the cloud.
- Amazon Drive—a simple and user-friendly cloud storage service. Having an Amazon account allows you to transfer and manage your files and folders from multiple devices. It has special features for photo storage but lacks management options.
File-sharing can be very beneficial for your social, professional and even personal endeavors. It provides an easy, cheap and fast way to share your files with anyone who has a device connected to the internet. All you need is to choose a file sharing service and start uploading your files. At the same time, you should remember there are some security risks with file sharing that you should not ignore.