As a software company in the file transfer space, our team often provides demos to potential clients. In order to do this, we use demo sites, including some private instances as well as, a free service originally created to showcase our software.

Despite not marketing the service, it seems as though people got to liking and began using it on a regular basis. Practically everyone needs to send large files from time to time. Hi-res photos of the new baby for grandparents or a video of the older kid learning to ride a bike are fine. However, we are well aware of security within the file transfer space, and encourage users of any free file sharing services to exercise caution.

Unsecured, public, free-to-use sites disclaim responsibility for the information being sent and do not typically implement security measures needed for sensitive information.

With that in mind, here is some examples of files that should not be sent using these types of file transfer services:

  • Any legal documents. Details of bankruptcy proceedings, custody disputes, lawsuits, or anything else should not be transferred via a free file sharing site EVER!.
  • Medical images including patient information (besides privacy concerns, it is illegal!)
  • Crime scene images with addresses and detailed crime descriptions.
  • Customer lists including addresses and other personal information.
  • Insurance claims, including images of a car accident scenes, descriptions of contents, or other insurance information.
  • Source code…(seriously, programmers?!)

Our own site, only keeps data for 48 hours and then the files are automatically deleted. We also enforce on the privacy policy stated on our site. However, you cannot simply assume that all providers of free file sharing sites will be as diligent on keeping their data private and secured.

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With a proper software solution in place, business users can safely send private data over the internet. In fact, FileCatalyst commercial products were designed for exactly this task, allowing companies to meet security mandates while being able to easily share files using the public internet.

Next time you need to send large files for your business over the internet, just STOP! and think first. Then seriously evaluate whether the convenience of a free file sharing site is worth the reputation of your company and the security and privacy of your clients.

May 6th, 2014 Update

Just one week after I posted this blog, BBC published a very similar article: Warning over unintentional file leak from storage sites Once again, extreme caution should be used when sending private data over the Internet. If you have questions on how we at FileCatalyst can help please contact us.