Every time you email a sensitive document to a client, you wonder how safe it really is. You've heard about client portals and secure file sharing. And you've decided it's time to take a closer look. What exactly is client portal software? What specific features should you be looking for? Is there a best all-around option for most offices? Absolutely, and that option is FileCenter's Client Portal.
In this article, we'll take the guesswork out of your decision by walking you through some of the key features and considerations to bear in mind as you shop and show you why we recommend the FileCenter Client Portal.
Client Portal Software Summary
- What is client portal software?
- Is it bad to share files with email?
- What makes client portal software more secure?
- How do I share files? How will my client receive them?
- Jump to our recommendation »
What is Client Portal Software?
The concept behind client portal software is pretty simple. You want to share a file with your client. But you don't want to email the file, because you need assurance that the transmission is secure. So you upload the file to "The Cloud" &ndash to a secure, intermediary server out on the Web. Then your client can pull the file down from that server whenever it's convenient for them. It's almost like escrow for files.
But is it Bad to Share Files with Email?
Consider the evolution of file-sharing leading up to client portal software:
First there was mail and couriers, slow but reasonably-reliable ways to get documents to your clients. Then the fax machine made document sharing almost instant, even if barely-legible. The following decades would slowly pry the fax machines out of our fingers and turn our attention to email.
Once we got comfortable with email, it seemed like a dream. Just attach an electronic copy of the document to an email message, click Send, and seconds later your client has the copy. At least, once we figured out how to make electronic copies. And attach them to an email. If you recall, these used to be big conceptual hurdles.
But now that we use email for all of our client transmissions, it leaves us wondering ... how secure is email, really? With regular mail, at least there was a predictable chain of custody and obvious indicators if any tampering had happened. With faxes, as long as you got the number right, you had reasonable assurance that the transmission was private. But what about email? With our computers connected to every other computer in the world and our transmissions bouncing around through dozens of servers, how secure is it to send a document?
The answer: not a bit secure. Email messages aren't encrypted. And any teenage hacker along the way can easily tap into the feed and never be detected. In other words, if you're using email to send copies of highly sensitive documents, you should feel uncomfortable. Most large corporations have already shifted to using client portal software to securely share files, and you should too.
What Makes Client Portal Software More Secure?
It's all about encryption – the one thing email lacks.
When you upload a file to the client portal, the client portal software encrypts it before it leaves your computer. The file then gets stored on the client portal still in its encrypted state. Note two significant things about this:
First, if a hacker taps into the stream while you're uploading a file, all they will get it indecypherable gibberish. Second, if a hacker breaks into the server, they will still only see files of indecypherable gibberish.
It's only when your client finally downloads the file from the client portal and it reaches their machine that the file gets decrypted. The entire transmission process happened in an armored truck.
How Do I Share Files? How Will My Client Receive Them?
This is where the client portal software does all of the work for you. You have a simple piece of software on your machine that helps you upload your file onto the portal. You then provide the email address of the person you'd like to share it with. That's it. It's as easy as sending an email.
Next, your client receives an email message notifying them that they have a file waiting for them. It includes a link. The client follows that link and downloads the file. Couldn't be simpler.
For an additional layer of security, the client portal software will also let you require a password to access the file. You will give this password to your client separately.
Why We Recommend the FileCenter Client Portal Software
The FileCenter Client Portal is available as a stand-alone application or you can use it within the FileCenter file organization software. The client portal makes it effortless to upload files, share files, and manage all aspects of your file sharing. There is no limit to the number of clients you can share files with. This is one client portal software package that is as easy to use as email. Download a free trial today!
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