“How do I send large files?”
It’s a question that often plagues businesses in today’s hyper-digital global economy where file sizes, data volumes, and the number of remote employees are expanding at a rapid clip. It’s even more perplexing given how easy it is to share information on a personal level.
Consider how easy it is to share content in our everyday lives. Text, email, and AirDrop (for the Apple enthusiasts) facilitate the transfer of information in seconds. “Liking” posts on social platforms has become a ubiquitous way to update networks on things that interest you, but you also can retweet on Twitter, share a post on Facebook, and share a post to your story on Instagram. You can even use applications that share a single post to multiple social media networks at the same time.
We’ve grown accustomed to being able to easily share content in seconds, so why is it so difficult to move business data? The scale at which we’re transferring data, for one. But businesses traditionally have tightened the reins on where information is going and who has access, and in doing so, implement solutions that require more control and security in a business context.
There just haven’t been as many large-file sharing solutions that have become sticky in the workplace, mostly because they’re not as easy to use or have a subpar user experience. And if it’s not easy to use, IT departments will be fighting an uphill battle on adoption, which means company information traveling outside the firewall and between departments remains just as vulnerable.
Why Is It So Hard to Send Business Files?
So why is it so easy to share our personal, social content and so difficult to securely share large files from business systems and applications? The answer has a lot to do with security (more protection often requires more steps), but also with inefficient methods of sending big files.
In the analog days, there weren’t many options to transfer large amounts of data from the workplace. Most data backups and site replications involved burning files to an encrypted disc every night to mail or dispatch to some other location. Then we started saving data to thumb drives to pass along to the appropriate person or department, which is another insecure way to share sensitive or proprietary information.
It became a little easier to move large files as digital technology evolved, but the technology didn’t quite keep pace with the rapidly expanding file sizes. Email is a perfect example of where businesses struggle with how to send large files.
At one point or another, we’ve all attached a large file or series of files to email to a colleague or business partner only to have it rejected by the mail server for being too large. Then it becomes a puzzle to solve, and we often have to get creative. We might:
- Break the file into multiple smaller parts or compress it/ZIP it and send it back through email
- Download a consumer-grade file sharing app (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc.) to send it via the cloud
- Download and connect to an FTP client like FileZilla, FireFTP, or Cyberduck, and then share the credentials with another party
But none of these methods is particularly secure. Email itself wasn’t designed with security in mind. Highly regulated businesses in the healthcare, financial services, and government fields require more governed, more secure file sharing solutions. Organizations accumulating multiple FTP systems over the years have realized the inherent risk of that approach and are looking to consolidate FTP servers and replace them with modern managed file transfer (MFT) solutions.
How to Send Large Files
Organizations today run on the reliable exchange of information and knowledge that the information flows driving business revenue are running smoothly. These interactions include data transfers part of routine business workflows, but also the ad-hoc ones that aren’t scheduled but still require visibility and governance.
These workflows might involve EDI files like purchase orders, invoices, acknowledgments, advanced shipping notices, and inventory lists but also other types of data, including extensive medical records and images, HR benefits and personnel information, proprietary CAD drawings, and even longitudinal research data. And thus, businesses must provide their workforces with the means to share all types and sizes of these files with customers and partners around the world.
A comprehensive integration and data movement strategy, with an integrated set of file transfer tools that address emerging business use case, provide the solutions required to do business today while keeping data control in the hands of the company. Modern platforms include:
- A governable, accelerated file transfer tool that delivers timely delivery of mission-critical information.
- A secure file sharing solution that enables workforce collaboration with control and governance.
- Data pipeline capabilities to securely move massive volumes of information into data lakes and other data stores.
- Support for multiple protocols and application connectors to exchange all variety of data with all types of system and trading partner.
Such technology requirements aren’t going away, but rather are expanding in new ways as more organizations reshape their IT infrastructure to be more flexible, agile, and compliant.
Modern Companies Moving Big Files
Savvy organizations realizing the constant need to share large files in a timely and well-governed manner deploy solutions that fit their business needs:
- To comply with an FTC mandate after an amendment to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, telecommunications giant AT&T sends large audio recordings using a high-speed file transfer protocol.
- Intergovernmental agency Multistate Tax Commission supports secure collaboration on audit files containing sensitive PII and financial information using an on-premise file sharing tool with a secure upload portal.
- Chemical commodities firm ICC Industries found a better way to encrypt and deliver large attachments across the company.
It’s critical to understand that there are modern options for organizations wondering how to send large files. If intuitive, easy-to-use large-file transfer capabilities aren’t provided at the corporate level, users will find their own unsanctioned ways to transfer big files inside and outside the company firewall, putting the organization at risk of a data breach and costly fines for non-compliance.