Why does secure file sharing matter?

No one wakes up and thinks about file sharing. It’s not until the middle of tax season that file sharing bottlenecks are most evident when everything needs to be moving as smoothly as possible. There’s nothing worse than taking a 10-minute phone call to walk your client through the process of opening up a document. If they would just read the email you sent them containing the password then there wouldn’t be any problems, right? But they never read it, do they?

Despite your client’s difficulties, you need to secure their information. It’s a huge responsibility to handle the data involved with an accounting workflow and accountants face this task on a daily basis. The amount of data breaches, hacked emails, and stolen identities has increased 50% or more, every year, for the past four years. Before you think that you’re too small to be targeted, understand that hackers attack weakness, not size. They know that you don’t have the budget or resources to constantly have an entire IT team monitoring your technological security and infrastructure. Even if your server is encrypted, once you send emails externally, they are out in the open and vulnerable just like every other email.

At the end of the day, it’s the law. You have to secure your client’s information when sending to them. Even if they say it’s ok and you get their written permission to send it unsecured, you’re still breaking the law. If you haven’t been securing information in the past and you’ve never had a data breach, then you’ve simply been lucky so far. Even if you’ve never been robbed, you still lock your doors at night. We’re at a point in modern technology where security is not a “nice to have”, it’s not something that you just do for the good of your clients, it’s a necessity for running a lawful and ethical business.

You might already have a client portal that came with your tax software or the company that created your website. If you’re like the majority of accounting firms we talk to, then you’re having difficulty with clients actually adopting the portal. Some clients will love your client portal and will use it all the time, but those are rare. ImagineShare was created to satisfy every type of client, not just the tech-savvy ones.

The Problem with the status quo

The secret’s out, clients don’t like to use client portals. Your tax software told you that their client portal will be a great way to send files to your clients, but it turns out that none of them actually use it! A handful of clients will like using a portal, but the majority of them would rather get their files through email, in person, or in their mailbox.

If you are emailing PII (Personally Identifiable Information), it needs to be secured by law. Most firms we talk to are password protecting the documents they send out, which gives a minimal amount of security, and clients still have trouble opening the documents.

Does this sound familiar? You send them their password protected file, then send a second email or give them a call to let them know what the password is.

Then they reply to your email or give you a call and tell you that they don’t know what their password is. This happens to every accounting firm, and it’s a result of a system that is built around the accountant, not around the client. Whether you’re sending the file through your client portal or through a password protected PDF, they still have to find out what the password is. That barrier to entry will stop your clients from adopting the technology you purchased and keeps your firm in the dark age.

Firms with paper-based methods (meeting in person, using the mail system) are stuck in the process for two reasons; it’s what you’ve always done and you haven’t offered anything easy enough for your clients to actually use. Very few firms are actually “paperless”, but most firms are looking to reduce the paper in their office. Making the transition from paper to digital happens gradually and requires effort on your part. Clients need to be reminded and trained with regularity, but you need to offer something that isn’t a pain to use at the same time.

Getting your client to sign their e-file authorization form is every accountant’s favorite pastime. The amount of follow-up calls and follow-up emails required to get documents signed and returned is ludicrous. There are more important things you or your staff can be doing instead. Getting documents signed is difficult because it requires the client to meet up in person, mail things back to you, or have a printer/scanner/fax machine. All of those processes are very easy for your client to put off “until tomorrow”.

To learn more about ImagineShare and ImagineTime’s other practice management software features, schedule your free demo with us today.

Put your name on it, not ours.

ImagineShare’s private label customization feature lets you apply your firm’s name, colors, and logo to the interface, so your clients are interacting with your brand, not ours.

Software that works the way you work.

Save time and streamline your workflow by enabling clients to receive and send secure files to and from your organization without changing the way you operate.

Why does secure file sharing matter?

ImagineShare was designed around your workflow AND the client’s workflow. If you have tech-savvy clients who love the idea of a client portal, we provide that for you. If you have clients that have trouble with usernames and passwords, we provide a process that they can actually use. When it comes to clients and technology, one size does not fit all. ImagineShare has a blended approach to file sharing that allows you to cater to different types of clients in a secure way. Getting documents signed through our e-signature platform expedites the entire process, saving you time and money. ImagineShare is a file sharing solution that is easy to use without compromising on security.

Ready to get started?

We’re delighted you stopped by, and we can’t wait to help you get easy, simple, secure file sharing implemented for your accounting, law, or CPA firm. To learn more about ImagineShare and ImagineTime’s other practice management software features, schedule your free demo with us today.

Secure File Sharing FAQs

If you are sharing a document with PII (Personal Identifiable Information -name, address, social security number or other identifying number or code, telephone number, email address, etc.) then that document needs to be secured. It is recommended to use an encryption service, such as ImagineShare, to send these types of documents. If you or the person you’re sending the document to would not want anyone else seeing the email, encrypt it.
Dropbox was originally introduced into the consumer space. College kids would send music and videos over the platform. As more consumers starting using Dropbox, they brought their personal accounts into the workplace. Given that Dropbox is downloaded on individual computers and synced across connected accounts, there are a lot of security flaws when dealing with business information. Dropbox has also had multiple documented data breaches where millions of accounts were compromised. It is recommended to use an encryption service exclusively built for businesses when sending sensitive information.
When using a cloud service to send sensitive information, using a platform that requires users to login or verify their identity is mandatory.
Sending information using methods that require a login or identity verification will provide the most secure way to send files.
File sharing can be safe if the correct precautions are taken. Sending an email with a file attached is not a safe way to send files. There is an entire market of secure file sharing products that allow you to send files securely. Using these file sharing platforms will give you a safe way to optimize your efficiency without compromising security.
Confidential documents need to be sent differently than regular documents. These documents need to be secured with a login, password, or identity verification requirement.
Using a secure client portal or encrypted email platform.
Using a secure client portal or encrypted email platform.
Using a secure client portal or encrypted email platform.
Sending documents internally is just as vulnerable as sending externally. You are still using public email servers to send documents. To ensure those documents are secured properly, use an email encryption or client portal tool to deliver the information.
Make sure your computer is password protected and any sensitive folders should require an additional password to access them. Backup any files you have on your computer using an encrypted cloud service.
Do not use regular email. Make sure you have an encrypted email or client portal platform.
Dropbox encrypts documents when sending, but has trouble with accounts being hacked consistently. Even if the file is sent securely, it can very easily go into the wrong hands because of Dropbox’s consumer environment.
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