How to securely save and send large files

11 April 2017 by Mark Williams

We’ve all experienced the painfully long upload wait when trying to send email attachments, only to receive the eventual error message because the file is too big. Here are some alternative ways to securely save and send large files.

If you need to send big PowerPoint files, HD images or videos to a client, you’ll find that they almost always exceed the 25-50MB limit imposed by most email servers. And if your file does scrape through, it’ll only be eating your recipient’s inbox space.

There are many alternatives to email when it comes to sending large files externally, and choosing one can be challenging. You want a consistent service that is reliable and secure. How do you choose the best fit for your business?

This week we’ve put together some information on different ways to securely send and save large files to help inform your decision. Why not give one of them a try?

Here are the options 

There are three main types of sharing service: 

1. File transfer services 

File transfer services upload files to a third-party server. When you upload a file, a shareable link is generated that you can then send to your client or colleague. The file isn’t saved permanently; it’s automatically deleted from the server after a limited amount of time.

Although this is a fairly primitive way to send files, most file transfer services are now advanced enough to have drag-and-drop and multiple upload features. However, it's important to flag here that these websites are now generally understood as consumer-grade services. In other words, many are not fit for business purposes.

While there are some reputable file transfer websites out there and there's nothing wrong with the technology as such, security isn't a unique selling point for these products. As businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of cybersecurity,  some of your clients may be unwilling (or unable) to download files from this type of service. 

2. Cloud file storage services

Although data hackers are becoming more sophisticated, the cloud is accepted as the most secure way to store information. Most cloud services are also readily available on mobile devices, and when it comes to sharing files externally, your recipient doesn’t necessarily need to be using the same system as you. You just right-click on the file in your folder to copy a link, then paste it anywhere you like for your recipient to access.

There are lots of great cloud-based services like Google Drive and SecuriSync but we’d recommend Dropbox Business. Pricing plans are tiered, but every option (apart from the free one) is secure and classed as fit for business. You can adjust the overall security options for external file sharing through your admin account. Other features include:

  • Expiry date and password-protection options when sharing a link 
  • Overall storage space exceeds 2TB and you can increase this if necessary
  • 200GB of sharing bandwidth per day
  • Built-in disaster recovery to protect you against ransomware

3. Email-specific cloud services

If you still want to send large files externally via email, there are ways to get around the size limits. Many consumer-grade email providers now automatically prompt you to send via the cloud if your file is too big.

The best one we’ve found for business is Mimecast’s Large File Send. When you attach a file to your email, you'll get a window with tick-box options for sharing and security for that particular file. Mimecast specialises in high-level email security, and all attachments are scanned for viruses. Other features include:

  • Seamless integration with Outlook, Office 365, Google and Exchange
  • Dashboard interface where you can easily search for sending and sharing activity and create reports
  • You can send and receive files up to 2GB in size
  • Supports compliance with data leak prevention and protection (read more about GDPR here)

Which type of service is best?

We’ve previously recommend using traditional cloud services (like Dropbox Business) to store your large graphic files internally, and we think it makes sense to use this as a base to share files externally. This way you have one simple, centralised system for sharing that you know is reliable and secure. 

Considering plans and subscriptions

When it comes to subscription-based file saving and sending services, it might be tempting to go for a consumer-grade plan. Often, these have near-identical benefits to enterprise versions, but they’re free (or a lot cheaper).

But using a consumer-grade service is almost guaranteed to compromise your business's security. Is that a risk you can afford to take? We'd advise to play by the rules and choose a business-specific option with robust security.

Think about your IT security policy

Ultimately, the option you choose will come down to your business needs and preferences. Whichever you go for, consider how it fits in with your IT security policy and remember to communicate your security measures and file sharing best practices with your staff and clients. 

Follow this link to get your free IT security policy template.