Online file sharing software is making it easier than ever before for professionals to quickly share documents with colleagues, clients and even vendors. Unfortunately, the speed with which people can distribute digital documents using online tools often comes at a price. It is not uncommon for privacy to be breached when businesses allow employees to store and share documents containing proprietary information in the cloud.

Email is a notoriously dangerous way to send and receive confidential documents — even the most elementary hackers have found ways to intercept un-encrypted files shared online — but the speed and simplicity of online document sharing make it difficult for most businesses to realistically go back in time and return to the days of sharing documents via postal mail and fax.

Although the practical risk of having confidential business information leaked when sharing documents online is significant, there are ways that companies and individuals can decrease the threat of being exposed. Document sharing and knowledge management software companies are pioneering new technologies that make it more challenging for hackers to access private documents and files stored in the cloud.

Here are five strategies for ensuring that the confidential documents you share online remain private.

1. Utilize a business-grade file sharing system

Personal file sharing tools may be cheap or even free, but the price that users pay for those services is often reflected in the level of security. Document sharing platforms developed for personal use have significantly fewer encryption and privacy features built in because the intended users are not typically sharing confidential information. To ensure their data stays completely private, businesses should rely exclusively on professional-level document sharing and knowledge management software tools.

2. Control how recipients access your documents

Setting permission is one smart way for professionals to limit access to the documents they distribute digitally. Senders can revoke access to the files they’ve shared at any time, limiting the hours that colleagues have to review those files even after they have been downloaded. In many cases, digital permission levels can be set up to prevent document recipients from forwarding a sender’s files or even printing those files. While less common, there are also professional-level file sharing systems that prevent recipients from taking screen-grabs of the documents they have received.

3. Keep software updated

Hackers thrive on companies’ inability to keep their professional software systems updated. Making sure that every employee at your company has downloaded the latest software upgrades is one of the smartest things that an employer can do to increase online security with zero added cost. In many cases, IT staffers can place blocks that prevent employees from accessing their computers or their files until all the latest application updates have been installed.

4. Opt for password-protected sharing

Many of the top document management and knowledge sharing systems allow users to place password restrictions on their files. Recipients both inside and outside of the company are prevented from downloading these files without the appropriate credentials. This gives senders complete control over who can and cannot access their documents, and ensures that confidential information remains safe online.

5. Encrypt files before they’re sent

Encrypted files are less enticing for hackers because there is no guarantee that the data contained within those files will ever be exposed. Most file sharing services will encrypt the files that users upload, however this isn’t always a given and it is worthwhile to double-check this fact before uploading any private or sensitive material. Even those file-sharing tools that offer encryption for users on desktop computers may not automatically encrypt files for users on their mobile devices. The single most secure way to share a document is by encrypting it and including a password. This combination represents the gold standard in online file sharing protocol.

Secure File Sharing Software

It is important to choose a secure knowledge management and file sharing software for your business. You can review such products from this article on popular file sharing software for business.