Sharing Documents Securely with ShareFile
We already introduced you to ShareFile when we talked about how you can boost your business’ digital security. You may even have firsthand experience using ShareFile through emails we have sent to you. We thought ShareFile deserved its own blog post because of how awesome we think it is.
ShareFile is a secure, cloud-based platform designed for businesses like accounting firms. The software allows multiple users to access a common folder and to send encrypted emails and files. We have outlined some of the ways we use ShareFile with you, if you are a client.
Secure Client Portal
One of our favourite features of ShareFile is the ability to create secure client portals. A client portal is a web-based platform that we use to share files with, and store files for, our clients. It is very handy for the following situations:
You need to send us a copy of your bookkeeping records, but the files are too large to send via email.
You need to provide us sensitive or private information in a secure way (e.g., Social Insurance Number, bank or credit card account information, confidential agreements).
You need a place where you know you can find your historical information (e.g., financial statements, tax returns)
We have started rolling out client portals for several of our clients and will continue to do so in the future (if you interested in setting one up, just ask us!).
Here is what we love about ShareFile’s secure client portals:
One link to everything – no need to search through your emails to find that one attachment you need. All the documents can be accessed through the portal.
Updated in real time – both of us will have access to the same, up to date, documents.
The secure portal can be accessed on your desktop or through one of the apps available on iOS, Android or Windows.
Accessing your Portal
Now that we have set up a client portal for you, how do you go about accessing it?
Once your client portal has been created, you will receive an email outlining how you can activate your account. Every time we upload a document to your portal, you will receive an email letting you know that we have done so.
One thing to note is that is if we assist you with more than one entity (e.g., personal taxes, corporate vCFO or year-end services, trust or estate, etc.), we will create a separate client portal for each. Doing so keep all your documents organized and easy to find!
Sending secure attachments and emails
The last feature that we would like to share with you is ShareFile’s ability to send secure email attachments and encrypted emails.
Instead of emailing files, ShareFile allows us to send you secured links to files or provide you with a secure link to upload files. This is more secure than plain attachments and bypasses any possible issues with file size. Whenever we are emailing you documents for review or signature, such as your corporate tax returns, we can email them using ShareFile.
Here is what an attachment sent with the Microsoft Outlook plugin looks like:
If we have not set up a secure client portal for you, we may provide you with a secure file drop for you to upload documents to. Or, if you have a portal, this is where you would direct your staff or other collaborators that would not necessarily have access to your portal when they need to send us file securely. A secure file drop email would provide you with a hyperlink to direct you to the ShareFile website. Once you clicked on the hyperlink to upload your files, it would look something like this:
You would then upload your documents and we would be notified once you had done so.
If you would like both the email and the attachment to be secure and protected, you can send an encrypted email with ShareFile. This is useful to communicate about particularly sensitive matters via email. We must initiate the first encrypted email from our side, but once started all the replies and exchange will remain encrypted.
How much does it cost?
Nothing to you. This is something our firm has invested in to efficiently up our own security as it relates to email and attachments. It is easier and faster for us to use than our previous method of password-protecting each individual attachment, and that is where we get our ROI from.
So, we are happy to offer it complimentary to our clients.
How do I get my portal setup or learn more?
If you would like to learn more or get set up with your portal, please do not hesitate to contact us.