How to Securely Send Large Files Over the Internet

Broadband internet has made sending large files over the internet much easier. However, there are still a few roadblocks that make it difficult. Most email providers won’t allow you to send more than 25MB at a time, and free file upload sites have limits of around 5GB. Free upload limits are fine when your file doesn’t exceed the limit, but that doesn’t help if you need to send a file larger than what’s allowed.

You could just upload large files via FTP to your web server, but that’s not secure. If you need to send large files over the internet, here are some solutions to bypass those frustrating file size restrictions.

1. Use Box

Hands down, Box is a great tool for sending large files over the internet. You can set your preferred security settings by customizing permission levels, file expiration dates, encryption, and password-protection. You can also disable file sharing options and downloads for individual files to prevent unauthorized access. With file sharing disabled, you can link someone to your file, but they can’t share it with others.

Box also prioritizes user experience. For example, you can drag and drop files into the uploader from any device or you can use the integration that makes your Box account appear in your finder window alongside your local files and folders.

One perk Box has that other file sharing platforms don’t offer is the ability to see when a file has been opened or edited. This is a great way to hold people, including clients, accountable for receiving documents. This can greatly improve the speed of your projects.

2. Use a VPN

Although VPNs have a false reputation for being the ultimate security tool, they do offer many perks that will keep your data secure. For example, using a VPN at a coffee shop will encrypt your traffic, making it impossible for anyone to read the data they might steal. In this regard, a VPN won’t protect you from having your data stolen, but encrypted data is worthless to hackers.

The video linked above describes why some of the most popular VPNs aren’t worth the money. However, the video creator came to the same conclusion as many security experts: Proton VPN is a solid VPN. If you’re going to be uploading large files from a public internet connection, you’ll be happy with the protection afforded by Proton VPN.

3. Use a private hotspot

If you need to use public Wi-Fi to transfer large files fast, you’re risking a data breach. Even when a public internet connection requires a password, it’s risky to use free, public internet.

The best way to avoid this risk is by using your own personal hotspot. However, unless you have unlimited lightning speed data on your phone, don’t use your smartphone as a hotspot to transfer large files. Get a stand-alone hotspot like the Jetpack from Verizon.

Stand-alone hotspots are easy to acquire for between $50-$300, depending on your budget and your needs. However, be careful about so-called “unlimited” plans. Unlimited plans are technically unlimited, but once you reach a certain data usage, your speed will be drastically throttled.

Still, if you can transfer your large files using one of these hotspots without getting throttled, maintaining security is worth the investment in an unlimited plan.

4. Password-protect or encrypt your files prior to sending

Another way you can go the extra mile to protect your files is by password protecting or encrypting your files before sending them over the internet. Some files can be password-protected with common software. For example, you can password-protect a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat. However, for other files, and to encrypt, you’ll need special software.

There are countless encryption tools on the market for Windows, but if you have a Mac you can use Encrypto. Encrypto protects your files with a password and AES 256 encryption. You can call the recipient to give them the password, send it via registered mail, or just give them a password hint only they would be able to guess.

If your file is private, sensitive, or contains proprietary information, it’s worth taking the extra step to encrypt before sending.

When sending large files, focus on security

You might be able to find a free file sharing program that doesn’t limit file size, but it won’t be secure. When you need to send large files online, prioritize security. You’ll probably need to pay for a service or tool to deliver your file securely, but protecting your data is worth every penny.

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