The Top 7 Secure File Transfer Essentials
Whenever you’re transferring anything out of your network, whether sending sensitive legal documents, financial statements, protected health information, or any variety of files you want to keep confidential, a secure file transfer solution is essential to maintain ownership and control of your files. You need to ensure protection with advanced encryption, both in-transit across the internet, and at rest wherever your files are stored. You also need to have the ability to audit, track, and if necessary, revoke or expire rights to those files.
How can you be sure you’re implementing the best service for your organization? Before you begin evaluating anything, the first thing you need to do is weed out the wannabes. Secure file transfer services are not created equal. You must know you are deploying the proper solution your organization needs to secure its sensitive information.
To help you more easily identify the differences between mediocre and superior secure file transfer services, we’ve compiled a list of the top seven secure file transfer essentials.
- Ease-of-Use: UI Simplicity and Workflow Integration
People aren’t going to use something that is overly complex. You might have an airtight encryption protocol, but if the user interface is cumbersome, you can say sayonara to that service. Nobody is going to want to use it. An easy access solution with a simple user interface that integrates into familiar workflows is key for successful implementations.
Most of us use no more than a handful of different programs in our day-to-day. Unless a new program replaces another by making life simpler, it’s only going to disrupt our familiar routine and complicate our lives.
The best secure file transfer will integrate with the corporate email systems and document management repositories most professionals use every day. With seamless integration into the familiar workflow of your organization, you minimize the need for training and you ensure immediate adoption across the board.
Litéra Secure File Transfer®, for example, integrates with corporate mail servers, email clients, and existing DMS repositories to provide you with a seamless timesaving touchpoint custom-configured to your environment. You can configure whether or not you want to give your people the ability to choose ‘secure’ and hit ‘send’, or set up the system to automatically enforce secure sending under certain conditions.
- Security: Multi-layered Platform Security and TLS/AES 256 Block-Level Encryption
Before you even think about file encryption in a platform, you want to make sure the platform itself is secure. Quality services will adopt a multi-layered approach to platform security. Litéra Secure File Transfer®, for example, deploys as a hardened Linux OS Red Hat derivative running SELinux mandatory access controls (MAC) and firewalls for requirements and lease privilege access. Authentication backends regulate access to the platform, while regular security checks and upstream system patches ensure the platform framework remains secure.
Once you know the foundation of the platform is secure, you need to make sure your secure file transfer utilizes the most advanced in-transit and at-rest encryption methods. For files in-transit, the current best method is to encrypt with high-grade Transport Layer Security (TLS) cyphers. Due to increased vulnerability, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is no longer sufficient to ensure in-transit security. Once your files arrive at their destination, you need to ensure they are protected at-rest as well. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 block-level encryption has become a common benchmark in the industry for storing files. It’s not to say that other block-level encryption methods aren’t good, but block-level AES 256 is currently the highest level.
Litéra Secure File Transfer® utilizes these top-tier methods to encrypt not only attached files, but also body of email messages. It also enables you to request files from people outside of your organization and applies the same security to those. All without requiring them to sign-up or subscribe to a third-party service. What is the use of securing what you’re sending out without being able to secure what clients or associates are sending in? Unfortunately, too many high-grade services only support one-way encryption.
- Data Loss Prevention: Metadata Cleaning and Virus Scanning
Deploying a solution equipped with advanced Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities is essential in secure file transfer. This will ensure your people will not be able to transfer files outside of your internal infrastructure containing critical or sensitive information.
Sending via secure file transfer bypasses normal metadata cleaning policies applied through email. For this reason, every quality solution will have its own metadata scrubbing feature built-in to prevent inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information. Litéra Secure File Transfer® integrates with high-end metadata management technology to supply you with granular control of all the metadata associated with your files.
Integrating robust up-to-date virus scanning in your secure file transfer service ensures that you will maintain integrity and control of your files and your file systems. It is essential to keep malware from infiltrating your system and corrupting your data. With a proactive and comprehensive approach to DLP, your secure file transfer will protect every aspect of the data flowing in-and-out of your environment.
- Account Authentication: True SSO support for Enterprise Deployments
Data security does not begin or end with encryption and DLP. The end-user is always the most vulnerable access point to your data. Going back to ease-of-use, making secure file transfer easy for your end-users to access is the best way to ensure that they will use it. Making it easy and secure at the same time is the challenge. True Single Sign On (SSO) meets that demand as both the safest and easiest end-user account authentication method.
True SSO separates authentication from access and delivers advanced security for end-user accounts. Digital certificates secure individual profiles, and passwords aren’t stored or moved around inside your server. It supports a broad array of authentication methods such as Kerberos, AD/LDAP, Oauth2, SAML2, including support for Oauth2 providers (Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo).
Configuring authentication protocols won’t add extra stress to your enterprise infrastructure. Access is seamless from the end-user’s perspective as there is no longer any need to enter in a password every time there is a need to send encrypted files. Litéra Secure File Transfer® supplies enterprises with true SSO for easy and secure account authentication for organizations of any size.
- Administrative Control: Advanced Auditing and Reporting Capabilities
It is not enough to have the ability to send encrypted files alone. That’s only the beginning of what quality secure file transfer offers. Without the ability to track your traffic, you might as well be blind. Superior secure file transfer will provide you with advanced administrative controls to track your files, giving you a clear and easy method to understand organizational and individual audit trails. You should easily be able to record when files have been opened, downloaded, sent, etc. Producing reports on this information should also be both easy to generate and understand.
Litéra Secure File Transfer® gives administrators the ability to revoke access to files, enforce companywide compliance and security policies, and customize the complete configuration and settings for the entire organization.
- File Size Limitations: Unlimited Uploads Without Compromising Security
Size doesn’t always matter, except when you’re talking about secure file transfer. Many corporations and firms need to be able to encrypt and transfer files ranging from 10MB to 50GB to 1TB and beyond. Law firms in particular regularly need to send out discovery files in the 10-50 GB range. Superior services will be able to offer secure file transfer with no limitations on file type or size without compromising the integrity or quality of your encryption.
Theoretically, the only limits with sending via Litéra Secure File Transfer® are time and resource. For practical purposes, that is essentially the same as saying unlimited. The speed at which files are processed depends upon a variety of factors, but with ideal infrastructure in place (10GB stack on a single server), file upload speeds will easily range from 150MB to 200MB per second.
- Proof: Measurable Data and Quality Service
Many solutions claim to be easy-to-use, secure, etc., but do not (or cannot) show you evidence to support their claims. Quality solutions will be able to quantify and demonstrate the quality of their services. When asked, they should be able to supply you with measurable data and provide you with expert-level consultation specific to the needs of your organization. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all deployment. Quality providers will cater to the needs of your organization and guide (not direct) you through the process.
At Litéra, we are confident in the comprehensive capabilities of our secure file transfer platform, and we are prepared to provide answers to any questions our clients ask us. We are glad to offer proof of our solution’s success.
The Essential Elements
Although there are many other essential elements that factor into secure file transfer, these seven areas will help distinguish whether or not you should invest in a potential solution. We are confident that our own solution, Litéra Secure File Transfer®, offers the highest enterprise-grade service in every area.
As mentioned earlier, you can have the best security solutions in place, but end-users will always be the weakest links in the information security chain. Even though this is true, end-users today are keenly aware of the importance of security. We have found that if we make it easy to do the right thing, then people will do the right thing; this tenet holds true especially when implementing the right secure file transfer solution in your organization.
Staff Writer – Litéra