How to Safely Share Sensitive Data

How to Safely Share Sensitive Data

There are endless ways that you can share your data online, but the security on many of these platforms leaves a lot to be desired. For organisations that need to transfer a lot of data – much of which is often sensitive in nature – this can pose a serious issue. However, there are several different ways in which large amounts of sensitive data can be safely shared in the cloud for easy access and collaboration.

Use a Distributed Database

When it comes to sharing large and complex data, graph databases have become a popular way to do so in sectors such as science, healthcare, finance, and even government sectors. A decentralised graph database offers the same functions as a cloud database but does so more securely as it exists solely on a peer-to-peer network.

While the degree of encryption and safety measures in place vary from database to database, companies like Gospel Technology are utilising distributed ledger technology in new ways to improve the security of graph databases.

Make it Anonymous

If you are in a position where you cannot guarantee the security of the data you are sharing then one way to do so is through anonymisation. Through anonymisation any identifying markers can be removed from personal data, rendering it no longer personal. Of course, in order for this to work, the anonymisation must be irreversible before you share the data in question. Not only does anonymisation aid in the safe transmission of sensitive data but it forms an important part of data protection best practices. 

Encrypt Your Emails

As emails are the most common way to share data, it is often the way that sensitive data is compromised. The issue with sharing sensitive data over an email is that not only must the message itself and any attachments be secure, but the connection to the email server itself must also be encrypted.

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Thankfully, using a web-based email service helps to keep your data protected as you (should) log in through an HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) address. If you are not sure whether your current email service is secure, check for the padlock logo on the left of your browser’s address bar.

To add a further layer of protection, you should also encrypt the email messages themselves. Currently, the most common way to do this is by using PGP (pretty good protection) encryption. PGP requires public and private key in order to encrypt and decrypt emails.

How PGP encryption works is that once you sign up for a service, you are provided with a public and private encryption key. You retain the private key and send the public encryption key to trusted contacts so that you can exchange sensitive information through encrypted messages.

Consider Using Managed File Transfer

One of the major issues with sharing sensitive data is how to keep it safe when it needs to be used by multiple teams collaborating on a shared space, as often the safest methods of sharing data don’t factor in usability or collaboration.

This is where managed file transfer solutions come in. Often offered as SaaS, MFT solutions allow businesses to manage file transfers in a far more secure way than traditional methods of file sharing. Managed file transfer not only encrypts the data but can also validate which users are allowed to access said data. This guarantees that any files you share remain untampered and any historical file activity can easily be tracked to determine who has accessed it. All of these features make MFT an excellent choice for sharing sensitive data, as they offer similar security benefits distributed databases.

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