5 Essential How-To's for Secure File Sharing in the Cloud

by Jaap van Duijvenbode on July 23, 2016

One of the most potent reasons for utilizing the cloud is how easy and secure it makes file sharing. Email has never been good with security, and it also makes document version control almost impossible. Who can tell if the document emailed to you this morning is the latest version, or if others have worked on the project since, and you just don't have a copy? The cloud eliminates this, because data stores are centralized, and secure file sharing is enabled from there. Of course, security isn't a given, and there are several things you should do to assure that your cloud and file sharing solutions will serve your company brilliantly.

1. Read & Understand Your SLAs

SLAs aren't just for the techies and attorneys to mull over in the war room. These contracts are filled with valuable information about using the cloud service that needs to be passed on to your users.

Cloud providers outline their promises, as well as your responsibilities in their Service Level Agreement, or SLA. Often, you'll also find a lot of practical advice, tips, and best practices that will allow you to get the most out of the service and the contract. Be sure that these policies and best practices are understood by your managers and users, not just the IT folks and C-level execs who signed the contract.

2. Get Real About Passwords

What are some typical password mistakes? Using the same password for all online accounts. Using insanely common passwords like "baseball" and "abc123". Using the same password for over a decade. Using easily guessed passwords like daughter's birthdays and wedding anniversaries -- these are just a few of the common mistakes people make with passwords. When you establish user policies for your secure file sharing solution, be sure to include specifications on what is and isn't allowed in terms of passwords, and be ready to back those policies up with decisive action, if necessary.

3. Be Sure Data is Encrypted At Rest & In Transit

Encryption isn't just something that needs to take place on the cloud vendor's end. Data also has to be protected in transit, between their facilities and your users.

Many cloud customers assume that the security and encryption provided by the cloud vendor is all that's necessary to enable secure file sharing. Wrong. While the vendor assumes most of the responsibility for the data while it is at rest on their servers, most do not include security for the data in transit -- that is, while the data is on the way from the cloud servers to your users or from your users back to the security of the cloud environment. Be sure that high-level encryption protects your data in transit.

4. Consider a Hybrid Solution for Your Most Sensitive Data

Due to compliance regulations and other considerations, enterprises often find that not all data is a good fit for the cloud. You can still get a combination of the convenience of cloud file sharing, while leveraging the security of on-premises storage, by deploying a hybrid solution. In this setup, your most sensitive data is kept onsite, while the less sensitive information is stored in the cloud, and made readily accessible to authorized users via secure file sharing tools.

5. Choose the Right Cloud & Secure File Sharing Solution

Not all cloud file sharing solutions are created equally. Make sure that you choose a solution that will work well no matter how your data store is set up: as all on-premises, as a complete cloud solution (such as Azure), or as a hybrid cloud utilizing both a private data store and a public cloud. The right product won't lock you into an architecture that isn't working for you, your company, and the users.

See what the right cloud file sharing solution can do for your business when you download the Talon CloudFAST data sheet.

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