Being able to communicate effectively with your clients plays an important role in the success of your business. If large files or sensitive documents are part of your daily transactions, however, you need a special system to make sure they arrive at their destination safely and securely.
Here is some brief information about the document sending options available out there (both antiquated and state-of-the-art) to help you in your decision-making process.
Remember when being able to send a document overnight for next-day receipt was a big deal? It wasn’t that long ago! Now with the worldwide use of electronic documents, even next-day service seems slow: they don’t call it “snail mail” for nothing!
Unless you are including promotional products or other such items with your documents, regular mail is not your option of choice: besides being slow, it is costly and can be unreliable.
Fax technology allowed users to send documents in mere minutes, but the quality on the receiving end was generally considered unacceptable, and busy signals made faxing annoying and time-wasting.
Documents with multiple pages could take up to a half hour to send, and if you were sending information of a sensitive nature it could also be an unsecure method since you were never really sure which employees on the receiving end might have access to it.
Once considered the be-all, end-all for sending electronic documents, but you never know who else could be reading your emails with your clients’ sensitive information on it. In addition, businesses are limited by email to sending attachments that are only 10 MB or less and the ability of hackers to gain access to the information makes email unsecured.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Sites:
Once considered the answer to the file size problems associated with email, FTP is an improvement on antiquated systems but has issues of its own, namely: it can be complicated to set up, maintain and use, and it still a basically unsecure method for document sharing.
Cloud-Based Sharing Services
Cloud storage services allow your data to be stored and accessible from different devices. They are an excellent tool for file sharing and collaboration. You upload the data from your computer, and you can choose to make your files publicly available or private. Some examples of these services include Google Drive, Dropbox, SpiderOak, among others.
However, not all cloud-based sharing services are equal. If you are looking to share confidential documents, consider the level of encryption the services provide, not only when the files are already in their servers but also during transmission or uploading/downloading of the files. Look for cloud storage vendors that encrypt your data before it leaves your computer to prevent others from accessing your data while it is in transit.
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.