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Should You Password Protect Links to Your Files?

As file transfer specialists, we speak to customers every day who are trying to strike the balance between ease of use and security.  Internal users want to be able to share a file quickly and simply.  They don’t want to ask the recipient, who may be faced with a myriad of different systems to go through complex authentication processes.  All end users want the simplicity of the cloud systems they use at home, which are great for sharing your holiday photos.

Although a ruling in the US courts last month may have just swung the balance in favour of a more secure approach.

Video footage related to a court case was uploaded and a non-password protected link was shared between the firm, its parent company and the investigating team.  At a later stage, further legal files were added to the same folder.  The link was included in the police files and was then forwarded to the opposing legal firm.  They were then able to download all of the files before the court case.

The judge ruled that the company had waived any claim of privilege to materials as they were accessible to anyone who had the hyperlink. “In essence, the defendant conceded that its actions were the cyber world equivalent of leaving its claims file on a bench in the public square and telling its counsel where they could find it. It is hard to imagine an act that would be more contrary to protecting the confidentiality of information than to post that information to the world wide web.”

password protect files

This ruling should make us all think twice before putting confidential documents in a file-sharing site without password protection, especially when there are so many secure alternatives available.