To ensure the safety of your clients data, you need to know how to send documents securely over the internet. The confidentiality of your clients’ documents should be a priority for your business, and particularly as colleagues and customers are collaborating on projects together remotely, these documents need to be easily accessed but kept safe when being transferred from one party to another.
As well as adopting good practises to keep your clients data safe, an enterprise cloud software could also be a solution to sending documents securely over the internet. This article will explore how you can adopt these practises into your own business and the benefits that an enterprise cloud solution can offer you.
Why is it important to send documents securely
Keep data confidential
The most important reason to send documents securely over the internet is to ensure the information they contain is kept safe. Different clients’ information could be highly sensitive depending on the industry you operate in, and the cost of a breach could be hugely expensive in terms of both fines and in reputation damage. Your clients deserve to know that their data is safe with you as they are a paying customer, and so this must always be a top priority whenever data is being moved around.
Make accessing the files you need easier
Keeping your files safe when you send them online will likely have a knock on effect of making your business more organised and therefore easier to find what you need. Not being able to keep track of your documents can make it difficult to even find what you need to send, and this disorganization may open you up for making mistakes when sharing files.
You don't want to be losing files, so keep things easier by using a well organized, encrypted way of sending to keep your files secure.
Give a professional appearance of your business
Being able to demonstrate that you take your clients' data security seriously and showing that you want to invest in the best systems for them can really mark your company as a credible, professional organization that your customers will want to continue to patronize. It demonstrates that you care about giving them the best service, and this could be an important factor when new clients decide if they want to do business with you.
Traditional methods of sending documents online may have you thinking of using emails or third party document sharing systems. But each of these have their risks with using them as you are taking your files out of your own secure storage system and relying on them keeping your data safe. And when it comes to your important client’s work, this is a risk that isn’t necessary to take.
However, this can be avoided through the adoption of a file repository system like a client portal. Files can be accessed from within the platform by those who have login credentials for it, therefore removing the need to take these files out of your own system and leaving them much safer.
What Not To Do When Sending Documents Over the Internet
Don’t rely on email
When sensitive information is at stake, it is not a good idea to send this via email. Email is a popular and efficient way of communication and sharing information with colleagues, friends, or family members. However, despite its convenience it does not offer the same level of security as a dedicated file sharing platform. Using email for your important files leaves you relying on the network’s security capabilities, which is not always guaranteed.
Yes to encryption
The level of encryption used when protecting your sensitive documents is important. Every method of securely sending documents over the internet uses encryption in one way or another and is currently one of the strongest ways to protect documents digitally. This is what sets solutions like Clinked’s secure file sharing capabilities apart from other services, as it offers end-to-end encryption, with 256 bit SSL in transit and AES encryption at rest. This is the level of encryption that banks offer.
Do Not Send Encryption Keys With The Encrypted Content
Taking the time to encrypt your work but sending the details of how to access it in the same document ends up undoing the good work of encrypting in the first place, as the file is still accessible to all. Access details should be sent separately through two different methods, such as sending the documents through Clinked, and then the password through text message. This adds an extra layer of security to the documents, and makes sure that just the intended recipient is able to access the information.
There are many risks in the world today regarding digital security, however there are more and more ways being developed to ensure that you are safe against these threats. Secure collaborative platforms like Clinked will ensure that you have the protection you will need for your personal or business documents.
How to send documents securely over the internet - your options
A service that will be very familiar to a lot of people is Google Drive. This service offers you 15GB of storage on the cloud for free, along with the other apps featured on Google’s office suite. Links to share files or folders are easily created from either a desktop or mobile device, and you can control who can view or edit the content, and the recipient does not necessarily have to have a Google account to view what is sent to them.
Google Drive is a convenient free way to collaborate on spreadsheets, documents and presentations. However, its file sharing options do not offer passwords or expiry dates, so be aware of this if you require features like these. Google Drive can be used in conjunction with storage platforms like Clinked for uploading documents to a separate secure location. So if you are looking to take the next step in protecting your files, this could be a good reason to upload your Drive documents to a solution like Clinked's that offers the next level of security.
Be sure to pick a secure solution for file sharing, and not those just suitable for sharing presentations and spreadsheets. Source: Unsplash
Client portals (and enterprise cloud)
Instead of the worry of having your data lost or breached, the problem of sending and accessing files securely can be solved through the use of cloud software. A central online workspace allows for documents to easily be found in this one place. Here are our top benefits of enterprise cloud for reducing the problems with sending documents securely over the internet.
Data security thanks to encryption
Encryption is essentially a way of scrambling content so that if someone intercepts the documents or files, they would not be able to understand or decipher what it actually is. A simple example of encryption is: (“Hi there!” = “SGkgdGhlcmUh”). Though this might seem like a completely random bunch of letters, these are able to be translated through a decoder. The previous example uses a Base64 encryption, which simply means that if you copy and paste the scrambled version into Google, you would be able to decode it with a Base64 decoder.
Encryption works like a lock and key, most encryptions have a password that is passed onto the recipient, and when it is typed in the content becomes decrypted. If the content was to be viewed by someone that did not have the password, they would just see a bunch of scrambled letters.
Encryption helps to ensure that hackers can’t see the information you send. Source: Pexels
Removes the need to send
Using your client portal to distribute documents takes out the risky step of sending your files through a separate programme as it is all accessed through your cloud platform. There is nowhere for files to be interpreted along the way or the internet to stall and fail to deliver items. When you use a single depository to store your files, you can simply give the access you need to the right person at the time and they can get what they need. This level of customizable access can also be tailored in Clinked’s client portal with their temporary members feature, where you can set exactly who can access documents for whatever time you need. This can even be password protected.
Branding remains consistent
When using a client portal to send documents securely over the internet, your clients are remaining within your branded area, and so your company logo and theming remains in place. This keeps you looking professional and makes the process of accessing documents much smoother.
Clinked’s client portal offers you the option to brand your overall space, as well as have individual account branding and colours present in each of your client’s groups, making them feel an important part of your business. It also removes any distractions of what other providers could do for them if you have to step away from your portal to use another company's service to send them their documents.
Stay within one central online workspace
Sharing your documents from within one online workspace has multiple benefits. The fact that it is cloud based also means that this can be remotely accessed from anywhere, so your clients can access what they need instantly, wherever they are. You then also are already working in the same space as where your other collaboration tools are, such as task management and chat functionalities, meaning you can ask questions and assign jobs quicker and in an environment that everyone you need to consult with has access to.
From wondering how to send documents securely over the internet, it has been demonstrated that using a client portal can eradicate the problems that come with using external sharing software or emails. Your central hub makes accessing the files you need quick, easy, and most importantly, keeps everything safe. To explore the full extent of our security features, book a demo with us today to see how our services can best help your business.
Olivia Weatherill is Clinked's Content Marketing Associate.