-- 5 minute read --
We all use email on a daily basis as our primary method of communication. Countless emails are sent across the world with the majority of legitimate emails usually finding their destination, but the same cannot always be said for emails carrying large attachments.
Since email is ingrained in our everyday life, it is often perceived as a convenient way to transfer data files but this is not the intended purpose of email attachments. We'll be looking at the main issues around with using email to transfer data files, and how we can overcome them.
1) How secure is email?
With the introduction of GDPR we have seen a notable increase in organisations reviewing and improving their security practices. Many systems are still not taking advantage of TLS encryption and emails can find themselves travelling across the public internet in plain text. Beyond encryption, there is of course the risk of human error and the need for further security features which brings us into control...
2) Have I lost control?
It doesn't take much to imagine sending an email to the wrong person - we've all done it and some more than others! Once that email is gone, it's gone. Sure, Microsoft has a recall email function but this simply acts as a "sorry, please delete my last email" message. If this happens to you and you've attached sensitive/personal data, you now have a data breach on your hands.
3) Can I trace where my files are?
This brings us back to another GDPR issue. You are responsible for any sensitive/personal data and it may sound obvious to some, but this includes knowing where that data and copies of actually reside. You'll probably know what you sent last week, but what about last month, last year? What about your colleague, or the one who has since left the organisation? Is it in an archive or did it get purged? Am I sitting on old data that I really shouldn't be anymore? As you can imagine, it's an administrative nightmare.
4) Sending large files
There is a reason why we see file size limits on email attachments - email servers are simply not designed for that purpose. They are in place to ensure the infrastructure never encounters anything it can't handle. Sometimes you just send and hope for the best - there's no confirmation whether it was received or not. When someone needs to send a large file and it just isn't possible and the organisation hasn't put any solution in place, staff may take things into their own hands...
5) Shadow IT
The bane of every IT department, but something that can be avoided. If there is no solution in place, staff will make their on decisions on how to send large data files. After all, they just want to get on with their job. We are now in unknown territory. Is the transfer method secure? Who knows what has been sent, by who and when?
At dataXchange, we offer a managed file transfer service that aims to solve all of these issues. Files are encrypted during transit and at rest. You have full control on who can send/receive with varying levels of permissions. There is a full audit log detailing who has sent what, to whom and when, and if the recipient has downloaded the files. We also take large files seriously - we allow the send of unlimited file sizes because we know every organisation has varying requirements, and living in the data age means data files are rapidly growing.
Thanks and stay safe
The dataXchange team