What are the email alternatives for sending large files?
Sending large files via email has never been a practical solution because there are too many variables involved between the sender and the recipient.
The attachment limit varies by a service provider (if using free services), but rarely exceeds 25Mb. For self-hosted mail servers, administrators must define mailbox size and attachment limits for each user as needed to ensure the smooth operation of the entire company. And will not slow down the user's broadband access speed. This configuration is directly related to the available server hardware resources (RAM, storage, etc.). Even with third-party solutions, this type of configuration is still necessary. Therefore, email is an ineffective solution for the transfer of large files. Its failures include but are not limited to:
• The file is too large, and the sender or recipient's mailbox administrator settings do not allow the file.
• Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) prohibits the transfer of large files (use data limit or fair use policy). Or the ISP restricts the connection to prevent timely transmission. Use an VPN to bypass any ISP restrictions, this is the only wise choice.
• Email is an insecure option unless end-to-end encryption is available.
Obviously, companies that process and transfer large files need other options, and your choice will depend on file size, required security requirements, and compliance goals (this is very important if you need an audit trail for file transfers). For example, film studios and related production companies process large video files. Conversely, other people in the science or engineering disciplines may share large data sets or CAD files. For other files, large file sizes may be suitable for backup or data retention requirements. Let's look at some alternative methods of allowing collaborative large file transfers.
7 Email Alternatives to Send Large Files
In the following part I will introduce a few ways to transfer large files.
1. Post and traditional logistics
For some companies, using traditional snail mail or courier services is an option, but unfortunately, it is not as convenient as digital file transfer. Cost is also a factor. Although people generally believe that it is safe, security breaches may occur before and after delivery. Because some couriers see the term "fragile" as a challenge, certain removable media (such as optical discs and HDDs) are easily damaged during transportation. Yes, I have handled damaged goods in the past. This is not the only flaw of removable media.
2. Removable storage and media
Avoiding heavy postal staff and couriers seems to be a good idea, and manually carrying removable media to customers and team members may eliminate some of the problems in this area. If your process allows this, and time is not a factor, some companies will use this method for offsite backup and emergency data transfer. However, removable media may be lost or stolen. In addition, when drives, memory sticks, and optical discs are discarded or recycled, data leakage may occur. How many items of removable media near you contain confidential or proprietary data?
3. Consumer-grade cloud storage
Despite the security and compliance warnings from IT, many employees still insist on using consumer-grade cloud storage to store company data. This is very convenient, they see no harm in doing so. Preventing IP theft and creating audit trails (e-discovery litigation is increasing recently) are common business goals, but shadow IT (using unauthorized software or services) is still a problem. Cloud storage is useful when the files involved are too large to be sent via email. You can instead send a link to the location of the file in the cloud. Popular service providers include Google (Google Drive), Microsoft (OneDrive), and Dropbox. There are many others available, but let’s focus on the top three and choose a compliance standard (HIPAA-because this requires a formal relationship based on a business partner agreement (BAA). Remember, consumer-grade or free cloud storage (regardless of the provider) means that the data is outside the firewall and controlled by THEIR administrators. Do you really need secure cloud storage under HIPAA or similar standards? Can you sacrifice security for the convenience of employees? And privacy?
It is worth pointing out that all three stores, scan, and classify user data, regardless of free or paid software packages. This is to display targeted advertisements, improve their own services (for example, Microsoft and Google’s AI), or detect IP theft. Your data will also be shared with unnamed third parties and subject to legal requirements (you may always Will not hear about orders due to gag). Your data cannot be private in such an environment because it is not encrypted after uploading to facilitate scanning (even used to generate thumbnails in Dropbox), and then encrypted again for storage. I recommend that you encrypt everything yourself before uploading. Live broadcast, no thumbnails, etc.
Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive all claim to be HIPAA compliant, and paid/enterprise account holders can obtain BAA. However, as the HIPAA Guidelines point out, no software or file sharing system can claim full compliance due to configuration requirements and possible human error. See the steps required to make Google Drive compatible. At least Microsoft has put in more effort to provide a compliance center for multiple standards, including GDPR. The data collector, it is, Google Drive is to avoid more than others, considering the company’s lax attitude towards user privacy, compliance, and antitrust violations (fraud), which resulted in various fines in several countries. Who will trust their camera and microphone data from Google Nest cam? In summary, if you must use cloud storage services and value privacy, then please choose a service with file anonymity and end-to-end encryption. Before registering for a new service, please review all privacy policies.
4. File transfer service
As the name suggests, the providers of these services can easily transfer files from your browser window. Likewise, there are many options, but FileMail is a software that meets multiple standards (only for Enterprise software packages) and encrypted transmission (for all software packages). Prices vary based on storage space and required features. If you have a storage option, you can send a link to a stored file, or you can simply send the file as an email attachment (provide the recipient and sender addresses in the browser window). Please note that to receive large files, the recipient must have at least one business account. This type of service is very convenient, but always requires review and selection of providers. Likewise, please check their privacy policies and understand the features required to achieve maximum business benefits. Audit tools, tracking, and encryption are obvious advantages for compliance.
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is familiar to most of us, and it allows authenticated users (using a username and password) to transfer files to internal or hosted servers. Security is very basic, and basic audits can be conducted with just a few tasks. Only suitable for tech-savvy users is a disadvantage. It is necessary to clear obsolete data, as is ongoing maintenance and user management, which is a bit of a waste of resources.
6. Secure FTP
Like its predecessor, Secure FTP (SFTP) needs to be managed and maintained and can take up IT resources during file transfer. Processes and audit records can be defined, but they cannot be used by authenticated users who bypass these processes. Similarly, SFTP is not suitable for technical challenges, and non-technical users also need training.
7. Managed file transfer solutions
The MFT (Managed File Transfer) solution is very secure, which is an obvious advantage. they are usually considered complicated, but once configured correctly, it is ideal for protecting proprietary data and ensuring compliance with various standards. The ability to define process-driven strategies and provide an accurate audit trail for all data transfers exceeds the potential cost. If you are concerned about potential compliance issues, why not investigate further?
In short, if you must send large files, make sure to involve IT so that they can recommend authorized solutions. Don't use consumer-grade or free cloud storage. Managed solutions can eliminate potential compliance issues, protect data, and create a complete audit trail without the need for third-party involvement.