How to Securely Send Finance Information in a Remote World
Today’s world has an increasing number of remote workers. People can hold video conferences with colleagues in other countries or collaboratively edit a shared document regardless of location. However, things seemingly get trickier when someone needs a secure way to send finance information as a remote worker.
For example, an entrepreneur applying for a loan might need to do exactly that. So would a person who recently got hired for a remote position and must provide direct deposit or other banking details to get paid.
Using email or postal mail comes with the risk of third-party interception. Some banking and financial institutions maintain secure solutions for customers to use, however. Even so, many entrepreneurs and other people working remotely today need more broadly accessible options.
Here are six of them.
1. Investigate Secure Scanning and Signing Apps
Modern society has plenty of ways to take care of paperwork without printing out a document or lifting a pen. For example, apps are available to facilitate scanning and signing documents without using a conventional scanner or possessing physical copies. Some also have features that enable secure sending.
For example, the Tresorit app turns smartphones into secure document scanners. Once a person scans a document, they can immediately and safely share it with authorized parties. The company also mentions that this tool suits working with confidential documents and invoices due to Tresorit’s end-to-end encryption.
Moreover, DocuSign eSignature offers a secure way to sign and send documents, including those related to finances. The app encrypts every document and adds tamper-evident features to it. If a user sends a person something requiring a signature, they can add identity verification safeguards that the recipient must pass before signing.
These are just some of the many examples. However, people should not assume a scanning or digital signature app they currently use has the security features necessary for sending finance information. They should verify that fact before proceeding.
2. Share the Files via a Secure Cloud Provider
Advancements in cloud computing let people access their files from anywhere. The technology also frees people from solely relying on physical storage options, such as external hard drives. Individuals should ideally back up their financial documents in several ways, in case one fails.
One widely available option is to choose a business-grade cloud provider. Such possibilities generally give users more control over files and access. For example, people can often set parameters so that a file becomes inaccessible after a specific period. Alternatively, they might disable file sharing for people not within an organization’s network.
Most cloud providers detail the various steps taken to prioritize security for users. However, others make security a defining business principle and go beyond other companies’ standards. For example, one secure service called pCloud promises that not even the cloud administrators will see a user’s files. Sync is another security-focused option. People can receive Sync files without having accounts themselves, too.
One smart approach to choosing a cloud provider involves researching how the services support security. Potential users should determine what the company does to safeguard content, then learn about what subscribers can do to bolster security, such as setting passwords associated with document-sharing links.
3. Use a Secure Cloud Fax Service
Some industries — such as health care — remain heavily dependent on sending documents via fax. Traditional fax machines had security shortcomings that newer, more secure, cloud fax services address. For example, digital fax correspondence occurs over an encrypted system that is safer and more secure than Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or phone lines.
Faxes sent this way are also hack-proof because they use a system third-parties cannot intercept. Similarly, there is no way to attach malware to faxed content, as someone may try to do with messages sent through email.
A cloud fax service can also give peace of mind because it provides instant confirmation of receipt. More specifically, the sender receives a notification when the content gets automatically printed or placed in a queue of incoming items. That information assures them that nothing went wrong.
Many traditional communication options have gone through upgrades to make them more relevant to today’s needs. Cloud fax services are great examples of such a transition. They’re excellent options for people who want to use an updated version of a familiar communication tool.
4. Try a Secure File-Sharing Service
Some of the options already covered here offer file-sharing as a secondary feature of a cloud storage or document-signing tool. However, services also exist that cater to people who simply want to share files. These could work well when a person has a well-defined reason to share financial information with someone electronically but does not do it regularly.
People can select from various secure file-sharing services. However, they should know that some are more user-friendly than others.
For example, OnionShare lets people securely share files of any size, but the recipient has to get the content through the Tor browser. Alternatively, Shayre is a newer arrival to the file-sharing scene. Its drag-and-drop interface has military-grade encryption and works in the background on someone’s computer. That means they could receive large quantities of files without disrupting a workflow.
People who prefer stripped-down interfaces will appreciate Lufi. It’s a file-hosting option that does not require people to register. In addition to using encryption technology, Lufi goes further than some users may expect regarding how long the file remains in a recipient’s possession. A sender can either specify that the file deletes itself after the first download happens or use a provided “deletion link” to control how long someone has access to the material.
Something useful to remember is that file-sharing services typically have controls that users should become familiar with before sending any file — with finance information or otherwise. For example, a user may decide not to set a password for the content, even when such an option exists. Then, they’re making a choice that reduces the overall security capabilities of a selected service.
5. Get a Secure Document Portal
Some people may have several groups of financial documents to send to different parties. For example, there may be one batch for a company’s accountant and another for a lending professional facilitating a company’s purchase of new office space. In such instances, it’s often most convenient to select a secure document portal. Then, people can avoid the time-consuming hassles of sending files one by one.
One example is eFile Cabinet SecureDrawer. It’s a bank-grade encrypted web portal that lets users securely send documents and file sets without removing the content from the app. If a recipient gets a file, they can access it — and send the file back, if needed — without registering for an account.
Another possibility, called MyDocSafe, enables creating dedicated portals for each client or person. That could help save time if a business owner needs to take someone through the onboarding or contract-signing process efficiently and wants to have everything safely accessible in one place. The sender does not distribute the individual documents, but rather provides authorized parties with access to the secure portal. The sending entity can also set access controls for specific pieces of content or entire collections.
Most such services require users to subscribe and do not offer one-time use. Thus, business owners or anyone else evaluating whether to go with them should consider whether they will need to send information frequently enough to justify the cost.
6. Choose the Signal Messaging App
Some business owners may understandably want to send finance information through a messaging app. After all, many people use those daily, meaning they don’t come with a large learning curve. But is it safe to send files with a messaging app?
That depends. Facebook and WhatsApp recently attracted negative attention after collecting what some users deemed too much information about them. In contrast, Signal lets people avoid those options.
It has end-to-end encryption, and no Signal employees can see a user’s activity on the platform. That’s because the app collects hardly any information about its users. Even if a subpoena forced the company to reveal details, representatives would only know the phone number connected with an account, the last time a user connected to the app, and when they signed up for the service. It does not collect data about what people say in messages.
Signal is also a secure way to send files. When the service initially offered a file-sharing option, it significantly limited the supported types. Ever since a 2017 update, however, it allows sending any kind of file, from PDFs to MP4s. Moreover, a person can give files to one recipient or a group of people.
The app is not likely the first choice for people who need to send sensitive files often. However, it’s a security-centered choice that’s becoming more popular with those who care about privacy. Signal is not primarily for sending files, but it could work in a pinch since it offers that feature.
Assess Options With a Use-Based Mindset
This list proves that people have plenty of options to securely send their finance information. Selecting the best one requires the relevant person to consider their current and future needs. Will they likely send financial details only once, or do it several times a week or more?
Moreover, if users must abide by privacy laws associated with health data or other sensitive material, they should explicitly ensure the products they choose comply with such regulations. Luckily, those that do tend to promote that fact on their websites.
The crucial thing to remember is that email is not a secure method of sending finance information. That may be the most accessible way for people to share information while working remotely, but the alternatives here assist those who must transmit sensitive details. They’re well worth a look and will help ensure users don’t make privacy missteps that could damage their businesses or result in identity theft.