May 24, 2016

    Are Free File Sharing Services Safe For Companies?

    Free file sharing services are undeniably popular - Dropbox alone had over 100 million unique users as of 2013. While they may be great for archiving your music collection or for making sure your cousin can see all those great pictures you took at the last family reunion, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind if you're thinking about implementing this type of solution into your business.

    Is There Such a Thing As Safe and Free File Sharing Services? 

    Beyond a shadow of a doubt, "no."

    According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Leuven, not only are free file sharing services NOT safe for business-level use, but the dangers may be even more pressing than we realized. When files are uploaded to sites like, for example, they're normally given sequentially generated URLs by the system. All an attacker would need to do in order to gain access to those files is to know how the URL for a site is constructed.

    If the standard URL for a free file sharing site is www.[companyname].com/id=[number] where [number] is the value attached to an uploaded file, they could quickly develop a very basic computer program that would automatically run through thousands of URLs and automatically download whatever it was able to find.

    The University of Leuven's researchers did exactly that and the results are staggering to say the least. In just a single month, their actions downloaded over 310,000 files that they did not own. This is precisely the type of risk that you're exposing yourself and your clients to if you allow your employees to use free file sharing services for business purposes.

    What IS a Safe File Sharing Solution?

    If you want to give your employees the ability to share files with one another and redefine what it means to be productive in the digital age, you need to give them a file sharing option that is as easy to use as a consumer-grade solution but that has all of the features and security provisions businesses need to remain protected. This most commonly takes the form of a secure FTP site.

    An FTP site offers employees instant access to shared files and is built with industry-specific compliance in mind. They also offer advanced features like the ability to specify user permissions down to the directory (or even individual files within a directory), and also allow for files to be encrypted both when they're at-rest on the server and when they're being uploaded and downloaded by the end user.

    Forbidding file sharing from your business is not the answer to your security concerns - providing a more secure option is the key. A secure FTP site with all the advanced security and compliance-related features you need, can help you gain all of the benefits and mitigate the risks normally associated with consumer-grade file sharing at the same time.



    Martin Horan

    Martin, Sharetru's Founder, brings deep expertise in secure file transfer and IT, driving market niche success through quality IT services.

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