A Non-Technical Guide

Best practices for sending large sensitive files via email

Sending or receiving large files via email can be a daunting task, especially when you want to ensure the security of your data and avoid running into issues related to file size limitations.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through some simple steps to securely send those hefty email attachments and data, minus the technical jargon.

1. Use a File Sharing Service

Instead of struggling with email attachment size limits, consider using a dedicated file-sharing service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. These platforms allow you to upload large files and share them securely via a link in your email.

2. Encrypt Your Files

Before you upload your documents, think about encrypting them. Encryption helps protect your files from unauthorized access. Most file-sharing services offer encryption, and you can also use tools like 7-Zip or WinRAR to create password-protected files. When receiving documents from a client, ask them to encrypt and password-protect them.

3. Password-Protect Shared Links

When using file-sharing services, always set up password protection for sensitive shared links. This adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that only the intended recipient with the password can access the files.

4. Regularly Delete Files 

Regularly delete files that are no longer necessary to your business. Some file-sharing services allow you to set expiry dates for shared links. This ensures that your files are not accessible indefinitely, adding an extra layer of security.

5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

If your file-sharing service supports it, enable 2FA. This means that even if someone gets hold of your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the second authentication factor, typically a code sent to your phone.

6. Check Recipient Security

Make sure that the person you’re sending the files to also practices good email security. Most major email providers, like Gmail and Outlook, use encryption for email transmission, but it’s always good to double-check.

7. Break Up Large Files

If you’re still sending large files as attachments, consider breaking them up into smaller parts or using file compression to reduce their size. You can then send these smaller files in separate emails if necessary.

8. Use a Secure Email Service

Consider using a secure email service like ProtonMail or Tutanota, which prioritize user privacy and security. These services often come with additional security features and are user-friendly.

9. Notify the Recipient

Before sending the large files, send a separate email or message to the recipient, letting them know that you’re sending something big and providing clear instructions on how to access it securely. For example, if you have used file compression with a password, notify the recipient of the password in a separate email.

10. Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Never send sensitive files when connected to public Wi-Fi networks. These networks may not be secure, and your data could be intercepted.

11. Regularly Update Your Software

Make sure your computer’s operating system, email client, and any encryption tools you use are up to date with the latest security updates. Keeping your software current is essential for maintaining your security.

12. Use Strong Passwords

Lastly, make sure your email and file-sharing service accounts are protected with strong, unique passwords. This is your first line of defense against unauthorized access.

While these steps significantly enhance the security of your file sharing, no method is entirely foolproof. Always exercise caution when sending sensitive information and consider the specific security requirements of your recipients.

Storage of Data and Data Deletion Rights

When sending large files and data via email or file-sharing services, it’s essential to consider data storage and the rights of individuals and businesses to have their data deleted.

Data Storage: Be aware that files you upload to file-sharing services may be stored on their servers for some time, even after you’ve shared them. Review the data retention policies of the service you’re using to understand how long your data will be kept. Ensure it aligns with your data privacy and security requirements.

Data Deletion Rights: In many regions, individuals and businesses have the right to request the deletion of their data under data protection regulations. It’s important to respect these rights. If a recipient asks you to delete the data you’ve shared with them, promptly comply with their request and securely delete the files from your end.

By being mindful of data storage practices and respecting data deletion rights, you not only enhance your data security but also demonstrate a commitment to privacy and compliance with relevant regulations.


Importance of Privacy Policy and Terms of Use When Sending Data Through Web Forms

When you’re collecting and sending data through web forms on your website, having a well-crafted Privacy Policy and clear Terms of Use is of paramount importance. Here’s why:

1. Transparency and Trust:

  • Privacy Policy: A Privacy Policy explains to users how their data will be collected, used, and protected. It builds trust by demonstrating your commitment to safeguarding their information.
  • Terms of Use: Terms of Use outline the rules and expectations for using your website and its features. They provide transparency about what users can and cannot do on your site.

2. Legal Compliance:

  • Privacy Policy: In many jurisdictions, having a Privacy Policy is a legal requirement, especially if you’re collecting personal data. Non-compliance can lead to legal issues and fines.
  • Terms of Use: Terms of Use can protect your website from misuse and help resolve disputes with users. They set the terms under which your services are offered.

3. Data Protection:

  • Privacy Policy: A Privacy Policy should detail how you handle user data, including what data you collect, why you collect it, and how long you retain it. This helps ensure compliance with data protection laws.

4. User Consent:

  • Privacy Policy: It should explain how users can provide informed consent for data collection and processing. Users should be able to understand what they’re agreeing to.

5. Liability Protection:

  • Terms of Use: Clear Terms of Use can limit your liability in case of disputes or misuse of your web forms. They establish the rules and responsibilities of both parties (you and the users).

6. User Rights:

  • Privacy Policy: It should inform users of their rights regarding their data, such as the right to access, rectify, or delete their information.

7. Communication:

  • Privacy Policy: It’s a channel for users to contact you regarding privacy concerns or data-related questions.

8. Continuous Compliance:

  • Privacy Policy: As privacy laws evolve, your Privacy Policy can be updated to reflect these changes, ensuring ongoing compliance.

9. Building Credibility:

  • Privacy Policy and Terms of Use: Having these policies in place signals that you take data protection and user rights seriously, which can enhance your website’s credibility and reputation.

A well-drafted Privacy Policy and clear Terms of Use when collecting and sending data through web forms on your website is crucial. It not only ensures legal compliance but also builds trust with users and protects both their rights and your interests. Make sure these policies are easily accessible on your website and kept up to date.



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