What is secure file sharing?

Secure file sharing is the act of digitally sharing links to documents, photos, videos, and other online files in a manner that does not make them vulnerable to hackers.

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Why is secure file sharing important?

Storing, syncing, and sharing files is a critical workflow for businesses, especially as they become more reliant on cloud services to scale operations and support remote workforces. Such file sharing must be secure yet convenient, with the flexibility to work with sensitive data stored virtually anywhere.

Only by implementing secure file sharing can organizations enable safe and scalable content collaboration. A safe file sharing service helps curb shadow IT (such as the use of unapproved apps for work-related tasks—a big cybersecurity liability), de-risk collaboration workflows, and ultimately enable the “anytime, anywhere access” employees need for maximum productivity.

How does secure file sharing work?

Secure file sharing works through a dedicated service that manages how the files in question are stored, kept in sync, and distributed across devices. The core components of a secure file sharing solution are:

Content repositories with scalable and flexible storage: With remote and hybrid work on the rise, small businesses have moved more of their files into cloud environments while also keeping other assets on premises. A secure file transfer solution supports file access across all of these scenarios and locations through a file server and access client. These solutions may offer unlimited cloud storage, plus flexible options for connecting to on-premises systems. Businesses can use their own managed storage, cloud service subscriptions, or resources from the file sharing provider to build content repositories.

Large file sharing: One of the biggest challenges in small business collaboration is reliably and securely sharing large files. Sending them via email isn’t practical, and an FTP server can be cumbersome. Meanwhile, using a USB stick creates risks of its own, such as device loss. But most of all, there’s the danger of big files being transmitted via an unsanctioned cloud or web app. Secure file sharing offers a streamlined alternative, with the ability to seamlessly send files as large as 100 GB within and outside a business.

File synchronization: Being able to secure any file on any device is the core value proposition of a business-class file sharing solution, and synchronization makes it possible. A file sharing platform can sync files between a PC, Mac, Android, tablet, or mobile device, for any type of app (cloud, virtual, Windows, etc.), so that users have consistent access no matter where they work. Documents and data are never outdated.

Integrations and connectors: The content users need to share are often spread across multiple locations—network shares, office suites, SharePoint, and personal clouds like Dropbox and Google Drive. Secure file sharing can integrate seamlessly with of these services, both in the cloud and on premises.

The result is a unified user-centric experience. Files can be securely shared and managed in one mobile app through an intuitive interface with reliable performance.

Collaboration and workflow support: Features such as synchronized folders and support for automated feedback, approval, and e-signature workflows can be built directly into a file sharing platform. Such functionality supports productive, real-time collaboration across locations.

Safe internal and external file sharing: File sharing solutions should enable seamless exchanges between internal and external stakeholders. Workflows such as messaging a colleague on a document or sending something to an outside party for review and approval can be greatly expedited by a file share platform. Along the way, all the data being exchanged is secured in multiple ways:

  • Encryption of data at rest and in transit, including for emails and attachments
  • Integrations with data loss prevention tools and antimalware software
  • Machine learning-powered analytics to detect issues in real time
  • Expiration dates and download notifications for each shared file
  • View-only sharing options.

What are the benefits of secure file sharing?

Secure file sharing provides numerous benefits for enterprises and small businesses alike, and can help companies of all sizes make file sharing simpler and safer. The biggest benefits of today’s secure file sharing options include:

Enhanced flexibility and remote work

Employees no longer spend all their time in a traditional office, and modern secure file sharing is built for this reality. The right solution lets users access and share files of any size or type, from any storage location (cloud storage service, corporate network, etc), using any desktop or mobile device. This file sharing setup supports seamless management and syncing of files across SaaS, cloud, and web apps, even when users are not on-site. Real-time collaboration from anywhere becomes a reality.

Higher productivity

Employees no longer need to perform elaborate (and possibly unsafe) end-arounds just to share a large file, nor do they have to put up with onerous access limitations. Truly secure file sharing lets them get focused on work, not data security. And with workflows for approvals, feedback, and e-signatures integrated directly into the file sharing solution, document-based tasks are more streamlined than ever. Long email threads and messy attachments can give way to straightforward co-editing and co-authoring through Microsoft Office 365 integrations.

No data migration or big change in strategy required

Secure file sharing connects to storage locations of all types, whether on premises or in the cloud. Accordingly, small businesses do not have to migrate all critical data to one place, a potentially time-consuming and costly process. They can continue using existing storage while also integrating new cloud-based options as needed. Applications ranging from Office 365 to Citrix Workspace can also be easily connected to the file share platform, making it a natural addition to current processes and tools.

Robust and consolidated security

End-to-end encryption prevents sensitive files from leaking. Multi-factor authentication and single sign-on further secure and enhance the user experience. Sharing with internal and especially external users is safe, thanks to granular controls over what recipients can do with each file. With the right security features, IT can even control how much storage every user can use and monitor sharing activity across the network.

Less risk of shadow IT and data breaches

A significant portion of all apps in use at the typical business have never been approved by IT. These shadow IT applications are major cybersecurity liabilities, as they can leak data and consume excessive bandwidth. Secure file sharing is designed to strike a balance between the user-friendliness of personal cloud file sharing services with the security of an enterprise-grade solution.

This combination lets companies share files as needed while still maintaining airtight security. Cyberattacks and data breaches can be more reliably prevented, sparing organizations the significant cost of recovering from these events. IT can carefully control how files get shared, without unduly limiting access for legitimate users.


Security and simplicity: Get both with Citrix file sharing

Learn how you can simplify collaboration inside and outside your organization with Citrix content collaboration solutions.

Citrix solutions for secure file sharing

Citrix ShareFile and Citrix content collaboration solutions fuel simplified and secure file sharing from any device. Share files with ease, obtain signatures, add an unlimited number of external clients and be confident that sensitive documents are always safe. 

Additional Citrix solutions can further strengthen your security posture while preserving the convenient “anytime, anywhere” access workers need to be productive.

  • Citrix Secure Internet Access combines the performance of Citrix SD-WAN with multi-layered security mechanisms to help users safely access cloud, web, and virtual apps.
  • Citrix Secure Private Access enforces a zero-trust approach to app and document access to prevent unauthorized use and stop data breaches.
  • Citrix Analytics proactively monitors network events to flag security anomalies before they compromise your files.
  • Citrix Gateway enables consolidated secured access to your applications no matter where they’re hosted. Give users a single convenient URL for accessing the apps they require.

Ready to get started?

Our experts are on hand to answer your most pressing questions. Get in touch today to hear from a Citrix content collaboration specialist.

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