What You Need To Know About P2P File Sharing For Business

p2p file sharing for business downloads peer to peer

Nowadays, most businesses have switched from paper-based transactions to digital communications. As a result, they now enjoy the advantages of paperless storage and excellent efficiency in their workflows. Unfortunately, digital file-sharing poses several risks, like exposing sensitive data to potential loss or being stolen without top-notch security measures. Also, users can quickly lose track of files because of the many document versions created. 

However, file sharing remains a vital function for the smooth operations of companies, and even more so with the growing home working culture due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Video conferencing is another pillar in the remote working approach. One of the file-sharing methods is peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P). 

What Is Peer-To-Peer File Sharing? 

P2P is a process used to share and transfer digital files from a computer to another, and the sharing machines are called peers. There is no central server with this file-sharing method, but instead, every user in the network becomes a server in a vast network. The machine (peer) sending is known as the seed, and the one receiving is known as a leech. P2P sharing is a two-way street, with users uploading as well as downloading files. 

The users are connected through the internet, and for the connection to work, they first have to install P2P software programs on their machines. While some P2P software work with only one P2P network, others can operate with several networks. Napster is an example of a famous (or perhaps infamous) early P2P file sharing. 

What Are The Reasons For Using P2P File Sharing? 

A significant reason for using P2P file sharing is that it can efficiently allow you to share large files with others, such as large sets of photos and personal videos. It can also enable direct communication between peers. Most likely, you are already unknowingly using P2P technology. Skype, for instance, based its communication system on this technology. 

What Are The Risks Associated With P2P File-Sharing? 

Because peer-to-peer file sharing enables people to download files and make them available to others to download by having them in an accessible folder, users may make mistakes in sharing folders with sensitive information files. Some of the sensitive information includes passwords, credit reports, legal cases evidence. 

In some cases, the mix-up in P2P sharing leading to sharing files not meant for sharing may be due to issues beyond the seed peer. One such possibility is when (due to malware) there is unintentional mixing of folder contents exposing sensitive data to risk. In addition, weaknesses in the P2P network could make the company's network susceptible to cyberattacks. 

How Can Organizations Protect Sensitive Data? 

Due to the risks linked to P2P file sharing, especially if the network contains sensitive data needed for running the business, the management or owners should weigh the benefits of using P2P sharing against the risks it poses. And if there is a need to share files outside the company, it would be best to consider using more secure ways of file sharing. 

Businesses should consider secure peer to peer file sharing solutions such as the one offered by Clinked, allowing team members, clients, associates, and other stakeholders to use the cloud for data storage and sharing. 

However, if the business decides to allow the use of P2P sharing, they can employ the following tips to protect sensitive data: 

·   Training the staff who will participate in P2P file-sharing about the inherent risks involved 

·   Regular planned monitoring of the file-sharing network to keep off intruders 

·   Using proper file naming styles 

·   Removing any unneeded sensitive information in the computers 

·   Restricting where the company should store files containing sensitive information. Also, if a machine is used to access sensitive data, P2P sharing should be avoided. 

Conclusion 

Although P2P file sharing is a convenient and efficient way of sharing digital files among users in a company network, it poses a significant risk due to the possible sharing of sensitive data and malicious attacks. Businesses need to use secure cloud-based file sharing, and if they have to allow P2P sharing, ensure they have in place measures to reduce the various risks it poses.

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