An Overview of Secure File Transfer Methods
Ensure that sensitive information is protected when sharing files remotely.
The Importance of Secure File Transfer for Modern Businesses
Whether you are a freelancer, a member of a small team, or part of a large organisation, it’s likely that you don’t always work within a secure, closed network. Indeed, with the rise of the mobile office, remote working, and business travel, most of us need to be able to access, use, and send confidential files flexibly and quickly while on the go. Consequently, finding an effective, high-performance secure file transfer solution is a top priority. There are a number of options out there from VPNs and SSH to remote desktop solutions and encrypted file transfer options. The option you choose will most likely be influenced by your project requirements or organisation and how you prefer to work.
Ever-Evolving Means of Secure File Transfers
If you have specific documents you wish to securely transfer to one of your devices or share with a client or colleague, it is always recommended that such documents be sent using encryption. Early encryption programs such as PGP were forerunners of the secure file transfer of individual documents. Nowdays, however, end-to-end security using protocol are now paramount given the increased threat of cyber-attack. These include:
As these command-line solutions work directly between a server and client, they require dedicated server space and some technical know-how.
Secure File Transfer Channels on Public Networks
If you want to ensure you are always making secure file transfers from your core network, you can set up a protected channel. This way, rather than encrypting individual files, you simply send them through the protected channel that shields them from other traffic.
VPNs are the best known examples of this by allowing devices that have been set up with the correct authorisations to connect remotely to a closed network as if the device were physically part of the network.
However, while VPNs are able to reroute your IP address, they are not the most secure method of transferring data and should always be approached with caution. If a breach occurs during the use of a VPN, your communication may be open to monitoring and logging.
Direct and Secure: File Transfers Through Remote Desktop Software
A remote desktop session is a popular option for a lean and direct secure file transfer solution that does not require much technical experience. Some remote access software, such as that provided by TeamViewer, provides end-to-end security without requiring the installation of software at both ends of the connection. Secure file transfer occurs through encryption and only the devices included in the peer-to-peer connection are granted access. Moreover, you can often restrict access to certain devices by using a whitelist and blacklist to monitor which people have been granted admission to which devices. For extra security, some software even calls for authentication for every action on a remote device.