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5 filesharing methods that promise ultimate data security

Management involvement, hybrid cloud, version control, end-to-end encryption and document classification are five foolproof ways to securely share files and ensure a high level of data protection.

By Anwesha Ray

Simple access to all company data via a centralized platform enables users to securely share files, boosts productivity and offers convenience and flexibility. And this is exactly what Enterprise file sync and sharing solutions (EFSS) strives to offer. So it comes as no surprise that more and more companies are opting for EFSS to streamline their digital collaboration process and to securely share files internally as well as externally.

The process to securely share files, important data and documents is still a complex and time-consuming process for many companies. Access to the internal network drive from the outside only works via VPN connections with low transmission speed, while access
from smartphones or tablets is often impossible and the classic exchanging files by email is not a viable solution due to various inconveniences and risks, including version conflicts, limitations on file sizes and lack of security.

A centralized platform for data storage and sharing with enterprise file sharing solutions is becoming more and more common, and not just to securely share files. The modern workplace, with its high demand for digitalization and mobility, requires companies to step up efforts in bringing about this change.

In order for enterprises to be able to work productively with increasing amounts of data, data exchange must be fast, simple, independent of devices and controllable.

EFSS solutions offer the following distinct advantages:

  • Universal access to all files is enabled through a central file access layer, regardless of whether they are on premises, in the cloud or distributed within the existing architecture.
  • Files can remain in their original location while the IT department gains authority of all data, including control of the entire lifecycle of a file.
  • The location of a file is always known, as well as who has access to it, who has accessed it in the past and who has shared it with whom and when.
  • Users can access, synchronize and share all files via a central interface from their workstation or mobile – whether the files are located in SharePoint, on a Windows network drive or in the cloud.
digital collaboration

ownCloud provides your staff with easy and secure digital collaboration through a wide range of tools and integrations.

The benefits of a centralized filesharing solution can be enjoyed after the software is integrated into company-wide internal processes and security and compliance policies are fully met. In order to achieve the benefits, a number of important points should be observed:

Management involvement to securely share files

It is a very common practice for enterprises to consider file sharing to be a purely technical process and, consequently, delegate the entire process of file sharing exclusively to the IT department of the company.

This approach does serve the technical aspects of Enterprise File Sync and Sharing Solutions (EFSS), but poses the drawback of entrusting the IT department with sole control over file sharing. As a result, even while the company theoretically practices a sustainable solution to securely share files, many employees continue using emails, USB sticks or even printed sheets to share sensitive information, opening up the enterprise to a high risk of data breach and data abuse.

To ensure that enterprises are able to securely share files and carry out internal collaboration efficiently in the long run, the management and/or the supervisory board must step in and define their own specific security criteria and enforce data protection solutions throughout the entire company instead of concentrating them only in the IT department.

Hybrid cloud for full user control

Storing data on public servers is considered to be a flexible, scalable and affordable solution, especially when dealing with particularly large amounts of data. However, public clouds are not without their share of disadvantages. Using a public cloud takes data control out of the hands of the user, and in some cases, poses data security threats.

This is the reason sensitive data, and/or data particularly critical to your enterprise, should remain exclusively in your own server, either on-premises or in private data centers.

A hybrid cloud infrastructure is an ideal solution for enterprises to securely share files. Connecting public servers with private elements ensures flexibility, scalability and elasticity, while critical and sensitive applications and data remain under user control at all times.

Securely share files with ownCloud

Version control for seamless collaboration

When several employees are collaborating on a project, it is vital that everyone involved is on the same page about the status of the project at all times, can access and trace all changes previously made and can securely share files among themselves.

Unfortunately, many enterprises till today rely on email communication to jointly process files. This results in a cumbersome and error-prone process, in the course of which multiple copies of files are created and employees often lose track of the latest versions.

EFSS systems were designed with the aim of enabling seamless collaboration among workers, easy syncing of work progress and a user-friendly way to securely share files. With EFSS, every employee with current access rights to the file will always view the latest version, be able to edit or add new content and share their work with others. Editing tools also allow multiple users to edit a file simultaneously and track changes in real time.

ownCloud, for example, offers a simple yer highly-efficient system for controlling the versioning of files. It creates backups of files and displays their history. Each file can then be immediately reset to an earlier version if needed and changes made at intervals of more than two minutes are saved in data/[user]/versions.

End-to-End Encryption for ultimate data security

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is your best bet when your enterprise works with highly-sensitive and valuable data and communications. It is undoubtedly the easiest way to securely share files between two or more users irrespective of the existing internal security infrastructure of your company.

End-to-end encryption closes all possible gaps in data secrecy and data protection, and sets the groundwork for a zero-trust environment in your organization. In simplest terms, it ensures that only the sender and the intended, authorized recipient(s) are able to access the data – no one else, thus ensuring that your data and communications are safe from hackers and even in the event of unauthorized intrusions into the server by third parties. Access can also be controlled centrally and transparently – only those employees who have the corresponding ‘keys’ have access authorization.

ownCloud offers ‘key pairs’, which can even be set to a predefined number of employees. This gives the administrator an overview of employees who have access to certain files.

ownCloud end-to-end encryption to securely share files

ownCloud end-to-end encryption to securely share files

Automation through classification

The classification of company data enables automated data protection. Enterprise filesharing systems, such as ownCloud, allow you to create specific rules or policies for certain files or folders.

The ownCloud Document Classification feature was designed to empower organizations to restrict access to files based on their content and/or meta-data, to securely share files and prevent unauthorized access to documents and consequent data breach.

This system allows administrators and users the ability to decide for themselves which file can be accessed, for how long, which user groups have access, or when a file should be deleted.

Best of two worlds: Securely share files and boost productivity

Enterprise filesharing is a modern way to manage unstructured company data in a more controlled, central and flexible way, while also meeting the growing need for the utilization of all available data. However, data privacy and protection is always a priority.

To protect large amounts of data effectively and securely share files, you must first have a transparent overview and then exercise control over it. This is only possible with an on-premises EFSS solution, like ownCloud, which provides easy central access to all popular data storage locations, while also implementing data security at file level.

Data breach or abuse can take a huge toll on enterprises in terms of finance and goodwill, and takes a vast amount of resources and time to fix. In case of data loss, enterprises can stand to lose hours of production time in rework. So it is undeniable that a robust data security solution is closely linked to increased productivity. Due to this reason, data protection is our top priority at ownCloud and we are committed to providing a simple, user-friendly data security solution that boosts productivity and contributes towards meeting organizational goals.

Irrespective of your industry or the size of your enterprise, if you are interested in learning more about how to step up data protection for your enterprise with ownCloud and securely share files within and outside of your organization, do get in touch, and together we can definitely find the right combination of data security solutions and add-ins to meet the unique needs of your company.

Anwesha Ray

July 1, 2022

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