Spotlight on Ad Hoc File Sharing Methods

One of the earliest renditions of ad hoc file sharing came in the form of the email attachments, which were developed in the early '90s for an adorable reason.

IT researcher (and tenor) Nathaniel Borenstein wanted to be able to email pictures of his future grandchildren. In lieu of chubby babies, however, he sent a photo of his barbershop quartet, the Telephone Chords, as well as a recording of them performing the song Let Me Call You Sweetheart. These two files, while seemingly mundane exchanges today, were the very first attachments that were functional and worked across different email systems.

Today, ad hoc file sharing refers to the manual process of sharing files through email attachments, instant messages, or consumer file sharing applications. And while these solutions are fine for personal use, they are not the most secure or efficient method for a business.

The Problems with Ad Hoc File Sharing Methods

The dilemma with ad hoc file sharing methods is that there are a variety of limitations that can cost businesses time, money, and overall network security. These include:

File Size and Server Limitations

Email attachments face limitations through email servers and email file size. When an organization needs to share larger files via email, users may find that their file will not go through due to server bandwidth.

File replication is a problem that soon follows, which is when there are multiple versions of the same file – each of which takes up a great deal of server space over time. Ultimately, this will cost an organization more money to accommodate in both storage and bandwidth.

Email is a Top Security Vector

Security is also an issue on the receiving end, as well. Emails are an easy target for hackers, aiming to expose vulnerabilities in a system so that they can gain access to valuable business data.

Instant Messaging: For Internal Use Only?

Instant messaging is greatly limited in terms of security, especially when choosing to share file outside of an organization. Consumer instant messaging solutions offer an insecure portal which can be at risk for hacks or viruses. Additionally, a file could be at risk for interception during the file sharing process.

File Sharing Solution Ownership

Consumer file sharing tools tend to be cloud based, and sometimes don't include the option of being owned or managed by the consumer. This method works for sharing less-sensitive files or data but tends to be a security risk for businesses that have a responsibility to protect proprietary data, as well as private customer data. Consumer file sharing tools can often lead to a lack of visibility, security, and overall network control for an IT department. This can leave your network wide open to costly security risks.

Employees have a lot on their plates and if IT puts in place tools are too difficult to use, then you can assume that users will bypass the rules and unknowingly or unintentionally put your organization (and its data) at risk. So, the best thing to do is consider your options and review the needs of your employees and enterprise as a whole, and validate whether a file sharing tool created for consumers or enterprises is a better fit – from both security and usability standpoints.

When it comes to enabling your team and securing your organization’s network and protected data, secure file sharing methods are the most conducive strategy. Globalscape offers a robust managed file transfer suite, with Globalscape Enhanced File Transfer™ (EFT™).

Secure File Sharing Solutions


On-premises deployments are often considered to be the most secure solutions because data is stored in your trusted network – with your own storage and protections. You manage the security, the access, and the infrastructure.

In the Cloud

Cloud deployments refer to solutions where all your data is stored “in the cloud” and managed either by your organization or by a cloud services provider (especially in the instance of a SaaS solution). Through a SaaS solution, the provider is responsible for your data’s security, access and overall infrastructure. With cloud-based platforms like VMware, AWS, or Azure, you have more control over your data security, but some security still relies on the platform provider.

Hybrid Solutions

Hybrid deployments refer to the implementation of both an on-premises and cloud solution. Through this strategy, your important data is stored on-premises and your less-sensitive data is stored in the cloud. The cloud provider must secure your data in the cloud and manage its access, while your own IT staff manages the on-premises security, access, and infrastructure.

An example of a hybrid deployment includes the Globalscape EFT platform.

For more information about Globalscape’s robust managed file transfer suite, Globalscape EFT, contact a specialist today!