15 January, 2023

In an era dominated by digital communication and information exchange, the need for efficient and secure file sharing has become paramount. Organizations and individuals alike regularly share sensitive data, documents, and files, and choosing the right method is crucial to maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of that information.

Two common methods for sharing files are secure file sharing platforms and traditional email attachments. Let's explore the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to help you make an informed decision about the safety of your file-sharing practices.

Email Attachments


Familiarity and Convenience

Email attachments are a widely familiar and convenient method of sharing files. Virtually everyone with an email address can send and receive attachments without the need for additional software.

Integration with Workflows

Email attachments seamlessly integrate into existing email workflows, making them a natural choice for quick sharing. They are also suitable for one-time or casual file exchanges.


Limited Security Features

Email attachments lack the robust security features found in dedicated file sharing platforms. While some email services offer encryption, it may not be as comprehensive as that provided by specialized solutions.

Size Limitations

Many email providers impose size restrictions on attachments. Large files may need to be compressed or split into smaller parts, leading to potential data loss or compromise.

Lack of Access Controls

Once an attachment is sent via email, it becomes challenging to control who has access to it. Recipients can forward the email or inadvertently share it with unauthorized individuals.

Is Sharing a Link More Secure Than Sending an Attachment?

The security of sharing a link versus sending an attachment depends on various factors and the context in which you are sharing the information. Both sharing links and sending attachments can be secure if used appropriately. Assess the specific requirements of your situation, the sensitivity of the information, and the capabilities of the platforms or services you are using to determine the most secure method for your needs.Here are some considerations:

Access Control

Sharing Link

When you share a link, you have more control over who can access the content. You can use access controls, such as password protection or restricted permissions, to limit access to specific individuals.

Sending Attachment

Once an attachment is sent, the recipient has full control over the file. If the file contains sensitive information, you may lose control over who can access it.

Content Visibility

Sharing Link

Some links may provide a preview or require the user to click on the link to view the content. This can be advantageous if you want to control when and how the recipient sees the information.

Sending Attachment

The recipient can immediately see the content once they open the attachment.

Security Protocols

Sharing Link

The security of a shared link depends on the platform or service you use. Reputable cloud storage services often use encryption and other security measures.

Sending Attachment

Attachments can be encrypted, especially if you use secure email protocols. However, the security of email attachments can be influenced by the email service and the recipient's email security measures.

File Size

Sharing Link

For large files, sharing a link might be more practical than sending a large attachment through email, which may have size limitations.

Sending Attachment

Email services often have limitations on the size of attachments.

Phishing Risks

Sharing Link

Be cautious about phishing attempts where malicious links are disguised as legitimate. Always verify the source of the link.

Sending Attachment

Attachments can also be vectors for malware, so it's essential to ensure the file is from a trusted source.

File Version Control

Sharing Link

If the file is updated, you can replace the existing file with the updated version, ensuring that recipients always have access to the latest information.

Sending Attachment

If you send an attachment and later need to update it, you would need to send a new email with the updated attachment.

Secure File Sharing Platforms



Secure file sharing platforms often use advanced encryption techniques to protect data during transmission and storage. This ensures that even if intercepted, the information remains unreadable to unauthorized parties.

Access Controls

These platforms provide robust access controls, allowing users to define who can view, edit, or download shared files. This helps prevent unauthorized access and ensures that sensitive data is only accessible to those who need it.

Audit Trails

Many secure file sharing services offer detailed audit trails, allowing administrators to track who accessed, modified, or downloaded files. This feature enhances accountability and aids in identifying potential security breaches.

File Versioning

Version control features ensure that users are working with the latest version of a document, reducing the risk of errors and confusion. It also helps in tracking changes made to a file over time.


User Education

The effectiveness of secure file sharing platforms heavily depends on users understanding and adhering to security protocols. Inadequate user education may lead to accidental data exposure.


While some basic file sharing services are free, advanced features often come with a price tag. Small businesses or individuals with limited budgets may find it challenging to afford certain secure file sharing platforms.

Choosing between secure file sharing platforms and email attachments depends on the nature of the information being shared and the level of security required. For highly sensitive data and collaborative projects, secure file sharing platforms offer comprehensive features and a higher level of protection. On the other hand, email attachments remain a quick and convenient option for less critical information.

Ultimately, a combination of both methods, based on the specific needs of your workflow, may be the most pragmatic approach. The key is to prioritize security without sacrificing efficiency, ensuring that your file-sharing practices align with the sensitivity of the data being transmitted.

ShareVault has been providing organizations of all types and sizes with secure document file sharing solutions for over 15 years.

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