When it comes to file sharing, many businesses are content to settle for the quickest, easiest, and cheapest solution. Free cloud services and email are very popular choices. A few others are still using FTP servers, or even offline storage mediums such as USBs to move files around.
But is free really free? And what are the costs when something does go wrong?
The Hidden Cost of Free
We all love free services – they add value to our businesses while helping to us to stay within our budgets! However, when it comes to file-sharing, free isn’t always your best option. Instead, businesses are increasingly updating their file-sharing policies to insist that premium Digital Asset Management (DAM) software or a professional file sharing solution is used at all times.
This is because the software and procedures you use to share files can dramatically affect your business, often to your detriment in the case of free solutions:
- Jeopardising your enterprise security.
- Exposing your business to higher risk.
- Limiting the efficiency of your staff.
- Slow or no support increases the delay if something goes wrong.
All of the problems above can affect the service you provide and damage your brand image. Let’s take a look at a few of these issues in more detail:
Could Free Cost You Money?
According to the latest research from Statista, the average cost of a cyber security breach in the U.S. in 2015 amounted to an incredible $15.42 million[i]. The threat is further backed up by data from the Ponemon Institute, which calculated that cybercrime costs have jumped by 19% in the last year[ii].
If you’re a small or medium-size business it’s unlikely a security breach will cost you anywhere near $15 million – but there is a cost involved, and the statistics clearly show the risk is increasing.
But how could a free file-sharing service lead to a data breach?
Free file-sharing methods have fewer security features, and can significantly increase the chances of valuable business data falling into the wrong hands. That data could be financially damaging itself, or leak information that could further compromise your security.
The cost of intellectual property (IP) theft is not to be underestimated: a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates IP theft is costing U.S. businesses $200 to $250 billion every year[iii], and file sharing is a key weakness for many businesses.
Of course, if you’re a marketing or creative agency, many of the assets you share may not even belong to your business. Losing data that belongs to your client will damage your reputation and increase customer attrition.
Is Email Hampering Your Productivity?
Email is easy, and we all use it all the time, but that doesn’t make it perfect for every situation. One of the biggest downsides to using email for sending and receiving files is the different file-size restrictions limits set by email applications, ISPs, and mail servers.
For example, Outlook 2010 limits the file size of attached files to 20mb, and Gmail to 25mb. But many of the files you need to send far exceed this: A single image file can easily exceed 25MB – and don’t even try sending multiple files at once[iv]! Video is even worse; a high-quality video file can easily exceed 300MB just for 30 seconds of video.[v]
With file sizes like these email becomes impractical at best, and impossible in most situations. Free cloud services can cope with some larger files but capacity and speed are still limited, and security can be a liability.
What’s easier than FTP?
Floppy disks, Zip drives, and CDs: you’re probably not using any of them anymore – but what about FTP? It’s not remotely user-friendly for sharing digital assets, and yet many businesses are still struggling with this antiquated solution. Even your IT department is looking for a different method! You don’t use other out-of-date technology – so why FTP?
FTP may seem free, but appearances can be deceptive. FTP is a constant drain on the resources of your IT department: between setting up new users, keeping hardware up-to-date and performing regular maintenance, your FTP solution is certainly not free.
For employees without a strong tech background, FTP can be hard to use, and you may need to dedicate employee time to training. The problem grows larger when you take into account the experience you provide your clients.
If you use a solution that your customers don’t find intuitive, you are likely to lose some of them. They don’t want training: they want something that is easy to use. Quality FTP alternatives deliver on this by providing online interfaces that are easy to use and understand without any training or special software.
Why Your USB Drives Are a Security Nightmare
USB drives are small, convenient, and cheap. They’re also easy to lose, easy to steal, and can be compromised to spread malicious software through your business. Norton reports that because of their popularity and vulnerability, criminals have developed malicious software that specifically targets USB devices[vi]. Further research shows it is even possible to reprogram the firmware on the USB to hold malicious code – even if the USB appears empty, it can still be a threat[vii].
The message is that even with proper training for your staff, it is nearly impossible to safeguard your business completely. While you’re mainly at risk from employees using USBs (primarily because of their popularity), many of these same risks apply to other transportable media, including CD and DVDs.
On a practical level, USB drives also fall short. How could you possibly distribute a large range of files to recipients around the world, using USB drives? Impractical and unsafe: the USB has had its day.
Updating Your File-Sharing Policy
Clearly, free services, including USB drives, free cloud storage, email, and FTP, aren’t the answer.
So what is?
A professional DAM solution, built from the ground-up to provide the features your business needs, is worth to check out – and it doesn’t need to cost the earth.
Filecamp provide a full-featured DAM solution for less than a dollar a day, providing a wide range of features including:
- Quick, easy, and secure storage and sharing of files.
- Active monitoring and reporting logs all changes to your assets.
- Browser access to all your files for easy sharing.
- Fully-brandable interface enhances your business reputation.
- Manage access rights to ensure only approved users access files.
Update your security policy today and take advantage of a professional solution for your digital assets.