Business Tech

Still using email for file sharing? Here’s a better solution for at-home workers

Whether you run a small business, telecommute or suddenly launched into the work-from-home realm for the first time—chances are you create and share a lot of files every day. But how are you sharing those files? If you answered “email“, you’re not alone.  

Not-so-good old fashioned email  

While we’ve come a long way technologically, the way we share files hasn’t improved a great deal. A recent study found that 92% of workers still manage documents, presentations and spreadsheets the same way they did in the 1990s—via email attachments even though 94% of malware was delivered by email.  

But even if you take out the security factor—sharing files via email from home, especially large ones, is inherently inefficient, makes version control a nightmare and could cost you and your company greatly. 

How? Consider these facts: 

  • 83% or workers lose or waste time each day on file collaboration issues.  
  • 75% say that they have lost at least some productivity 
  • 82% find sharing, collaborating and managing files to be somewhat or very frustrating 

So, what’s the best way to ensure a smarter, easier and more secure file-sharing experience while working from home or remotely?  

The cloud 

By choosing a cloud-based file-sharing platform, you’ve got an easy-to-use online repository that lets you conveniently and securely save, edit, share and collaborate on files, photos and more all in one place. Plus, you can access them from just about any device—whether it’s a PC, Mac, online, or via a mobile app. No space-gobbling email attachments required. 

So what else makes it so much better than the old-fashioned email option? 

Security, security and more security 

When you choose the right cloud-based platform for secure file sharing, you get many extra layers of security and available features that email can’t offer. Not only do you have increased protection from malicious attacks, but also from accidental deletions, wrong versions, and the general chaos that comes with storing everything on one device. Here are some of the features you should look for when choosing an online cloud-storage solution: 

  • Virus scanning on download for known threats. Your solution should have an anti-malware engine that scans documents at download time for content matching an anti-virus signature. This signature is like a fingerprint used to scan for and identify specific viruses. 
  • Suspicious activity monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to your account. This should include suspicious sign-in attempts, as well as notifications if unusual activity is detected. 
  • Ransomware detection and recovery. In the case of ransomware or a malicious attack, you should be able to recover original versions of your files easily. 
  • Easy-to-read version history for all file types. If unwanted edits or accidental deletes occur, you can restore deleted files from your recycle bin or restore a previous version of a file.  
  • Ability to set controls. When you share a file with someone, you should be able to keep your shared files more secure by requiring a password to access them or setting an expiration date on a link you shared. 
  • Two-factor authorization (2FA). Get an added layer of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. 2FA helps keep files more secure in case someone gains access to your account or your device.  
  • BitLocker-encryption. See if your cloud storage gives you the option of adding files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive—it’s a sort of vault for ultra-sensitive documents (like passports, social security numbers, etc.) This area should automatically relock on your PC, device or online after a period of inactivity.  

The extras 

Aside from obvious security benefits, having a cloud-based solution is like having a treasure chest where you can store all your files while reaping the rewards of built-in features that let you: 

  • Free up extra file space on your PC  
  • Quickly find your files and photos using keywords, dates, tags, etc. 
  • Use your phone to scan, save and sign printed documents, receipts, contracts and more 
  • Collaborate on documents with anyone in real-time—anytime, anywhere 
  • Securely share files with people inside or outside your organization using a secure link 
  • Access your files via a mobile device, tablet, or PC. Files will be updated across all of them 
  • Work on and access files even when you’re offline. The files will update after you get your connection back 

The good news is, a cloud-based solution doesn’t have to cost a lot—or anything at all. Be sure to compare plans to find free personal versions you can experiment with, as well as premium versions geared toward businesses, offices, students and more, each offering different storage capacities, features and price points. 

Get started with Microsoft 365

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Business Insights and Ideas does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation..