I don't trust you, but you need to see this....

by Iain Richardson

Brought to you by Beamshare : media sharing for business teams

1. How do you exchange confidential information when you don’t quite trust the other party?

There are many situations that require the exchange of sensitive business information, for example:
  • You're at the early stages of setting up a joint venture.
  • You're working with a new partner on a short-term collaborative project.
  • You've found a potential buyer for your company.
  • You're submitting a tender or a pitch for a new contract.
In each case, you need to make sure that confidential information gets to the right recipient at the right time. This could include documents, PDFs, presentations, images, video or data files.

On one hand, you want the information to get there as quickly and easily as possible.

On the other hand, you want to keep control of your valuable data. What happens if the partner you're working with on this project turns out to be a competitor for the next project? What happens to your information if the merger or acquisition falls through? Marking documents as Confidential, or setting up a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) may not be enough, particularly if you are concerned about your precious material being passed on to other parties.

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead" - Benjamin Franklin.

2. What are the limitations of conventional options for sharing information?

Most of us will have used a variety of methods for exchanging files, perhaps including email, FTP, Dropbox, Wetransfer, etc. Each of these methods has limitations, for example:
  • It's difficult or impossible to keep track of which versions of files have been shared with whom.
  • The recipient gets to download and keep your file.
  • There's no way of preventing the recipient from forwarding your information to others.
  • You may need to send and receive a series of separate emails to discuss the information.
  • There's no guarantee that the recipient can actually view the file you sent. Do they need to download and install Microsoft Office or a specific media file player?
Problems associated with specific methods include:
  • Email: All of the above, plus: most email systems won't handle files larger than a few MB. The exact limit depends on both the sender and receiver's email systems.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): All of the above, plus: access depends on a username and password, which can be passed on to others. FTP has a very basic user interface, which means that large file uploads or downloads can be frustrating and time consuming.
  • One-way transfer (E.g. Wetransfer): All of the above, plus: the whole process has to be repeated many times if you are exchanging multiple files with different recipients over a period of time.
  • Folder synchronisation (E.g. Dropbox): All of the above, plus: it's too easy for you or the recipient to inadvertently pass information on to others through synchronised folders (the "leakage problem").

3. How can Beamshare help?

We designed Beamshare to make it easy to share important business information without losing control. Beamshare's benefits include:
  • File-by-file and person-by-person control of permissions - view only, view and download, or no access. As content owner, you can revoke access to any recipient at any time. For example, give a recipient view-only access for a limited period of time. Once the task is complete, remove sharing.
  • Easy handling of large files with a robust upload and transfer system that doesn’t need to be restarted if the connection fails.
  • The ability to organise related files in folders - e.g. all documents, video, images and data files for a particular project - and share the entire folder.
  • A built-in comment system so that collaborators can discuss each document or file without the need for a chain of emails.
  • A log of every interaction, which means that there is a complete record of every upload, view and download of each document or file.
  • A built-in viewer / player for shared documents, PDFs, presentations, photos and videos, within your web browser, so that you and your contacts can use Beamshare on any device.
  • Compatibility across devices and operating systems, without the need for anyone to download and install software. This means that whatever format you upload, your files will be viewable by everyone in the team.

4. How to share information securely using Beamshare

1. Sign up for a Beamshare account.
2. Invite your contacts by entering the email address of everyone you want to share with.
3. Upload your files to Beamshare. You can put related files in a folder.

4. Share the folder with selected contacts. Choose whether your contact gets to download your files, or just view them without downloading.

5. Collaborate on each file by adding comments.

6. When the project or the collaboration is finished, remove sharing. Your contact no longer has access to your files.

To find out more, visit http://beamshare.com

Copyright (c) Beamshare 2014 Beamshare, 35 Regent Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5BE, UK