IT Security Best Practices: Saving, Sending & Sharing Files

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Information technology has become a vital part of everyday life and business.  The barrier to entry is lower than it’s ever been and there are numerous free technology solutions available for saving files, sharing files, and sending files. Many offer flexibility and accessibility, but it’s also critical to ensure your files are secure.  Here we describe strategies and IT security best practices for saving, sharing and sending files.

Keep Your Files Accessible and Secure

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Saving Files

  • Name your files wisely.  Establish smart naming conventions from the outset to include relevant details like date, location, project name and type of data. If numerical sorting is useful, lead with zeros so users can reorder files with a single click.  You should use capital letters to separate words (aka “CamelCase”) since some systems may not recognize spaces in filenames.
  • Check your destination. Be sure to check your save defaults to ensure you are saving files where you think you are.  Are you saving them locally or to the cloud?  Who has access to the save area?  Always save with file security in mind to protect your information.  This is one of the cornerstones of IT security best practices.
  • Keep your files organized. Design a file system that will be intuitive to you and your users. Being meticulous in the short term will save you headaches in the long term, too.  Create a local “readme” file to share with others which describes your naming conventions and other organization schemes. This is helpful for current and future users to both preserve and interpret your file system.

Sharing Files

  • Take advantage of cloud computing.  If you share files regularly, cloud computing is essential. It offers versatility, security and it ensures that everyone is working with the most current version of each file.  For optimal security, choose a business-grade solution that also offers protection for e-mail and other elements of your workflow.
  • Develop permissions guidelines.  Start by setting standard permissions that make sense for each group, team or department.  It’s okay to customize, but think about which permissions are critical and keep the rules as simple as possible.  Revisit individual access permissions periodically to limit access that’s no longer needed, too. Never give admin access across the board either. Instead, create centralized shortcuts for items everyone needs to access.
  • Educate your users about security.  Train anyone using the file sharing system so they understand why the permissions are critical.  Be sure everyone knows how and why they’re set the way they are and if it’s appropriate to share files elsewhere.  When you invest in security features, they’re only effective if everyone uses them properly.

Sending Files

  • Understand the limitations of e-mail.  Sometimes e-mail is suitable for sending files, but there are limitations.  First, most servers limit file size to 20-25MB.  This may be doable for individual text files, but it’s not feasible image-heavy files or more complicated projects.  Files aren’t stored or protected reliably either and you should never assume transmissions are secure.
  • Choose a secure file transfer system with encryption.  Secure file transfer systems are your best bet for protecting files and sending them safely.  Again, it’s best to choose a business-grade solution that will suitably encrypt passwords and data.
  • Require strong passwords and authentication.  Strict authority over who accesses your files adds another layer of security.  You should require users to have strong passwords for sending, retrieving and opening sensitive files.  You can also limit access via IP for additional security, as well as implement two-factor authentication systems.  

Optimize your IT Security with CRA’s Innovative Solutions

Are you ready to implement these IT security best practices?  From managed IT to cloud computing, CRA offers information technology solutions designed with security in mind.  Whether you’re establishing a new system or revising an older one, CRA is ready to assist you. Contact us to find out how our expert consultants will create the foundation you need to achieve your goals.

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