What is File Sharing
In the ancient times of floppy discs and CD-ROMs, you needed physical media to share a file with your family, friends, or colleagues. Now, the Internet allows sharing files with anybody throughout the globe. Some people still use USB drives and DVDs, but networks are much flexible. Copying a file from one computer to another via a network connection is called file sharing.
There are several ways to achieve the goal:
File sharing on Microsoft Windows Computers
Microsoft Windows computers and products come with a built-in feature for file sharing. This feature uses the Local Area Network (LAN) or the Internet. Security restrictions can also be set up to allow certain people to obtain the files.
It can become difficult when trying to share files via Microsoft Windows and other operating systems. When this is the case, there are many other ways to share with the options below.
FTP File Sharing and Transfers
An FTP file transfer is an older method used to transfer files by sending them over the Internet. A central computer holds all the files and is shared over an FTP server. Remote computers can access the files by using the same FTP software.
Newer computers come with the FTP client built-in. You can also find FTP software to download over the Internet. A username and password are required to access the files on the server.
P2P Peer to Peer
P2P uses software that can be downloaded over the Internet. P2P is popular for sharing large files online, such as music, videos, games and books. There is no central server, individual computers using the P2P software create a network that can be searched for files. There is always a possibility for malicious files to be easily shared, so keeping fire walls and anti-virus software up to date is critical.
Email is a form of P2P over an Internet connection or within a company Internet. It follows a client and server model. Different email programs can be used between people. All you need to know is the person’s email address. Email can be limiting in that it doesn’t support larger files, can expose your computer to security threats and doesn’t allow for collaboration on files.
Online File Sharing Services
Web services such as Dropbox, Box or the Cloud, are used for personal or community use on the Internet. You upload the files via a browser or an App to share. These services can be useful for sharing files with multiple people and offer some ability for collaboration. The free editions can be limiting in features and storage allowances, so professional levels are recommended to accommodate most business usages. If possible, look for all-in-one options that also offer options like chat, file sharing and collaboration.
With the ease of being able to share online, it’s likely that you may not know who you are sharing with or where the file originated. Whenever sharing files it is important to keep firewalls and virus safety up to date to prevent malicious files from being downloaded.