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The Dangers of Using Unsecured File-sharing Methods and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Chloe G. on August 23, 2023.

In the digital age, where translators are almost always remote, freelance, or contract workers, everyone uses file-sharing to deliver their files. Smashing those deadlines and submitting a great piece of work is very satisfying! But as independent workers, translators seldom have access to enterprise-grade network, IT, and security solutions. They often face greater risks than employees of larger corporations. As an added burden, translators often have to work with clients who practice sloppy cyber hygiene.

But a slaphappy approach to cybersecurity can be even more dangerous to you than your clients. Data breaches are messy, ugly events causing endless blame games. Unless you insist on secure file-sharing methods, there’s always the possibility that you might get held accountable if things go wrong.

You and your business may risk a future security breach if you deal with clients who use insecure file transfer methods, personal accounts, and dubious free collaboration platform services. So, if your clients still share documents via email, you need to know why it’s dangerous and what you can do to fix it.

The risks of sharing files via unsecured file-sharing methods

Using unsecured file-sharing methods is risky because data theft is such big business. A breach could:

  • Expose both you and your client to malware if attackers manage to install viruses or other malware in shared files.
  • Expose both parties to man-in-the-middle attacks and data interception while it travels between your computer and the cloud storage server.
  • Cause leaking of proprietary information, e.g., product information, technical specifications, financial data, strategic planning documents, or confidential information about competitors.
  • Ruin your client’s brand.
  • Cause harm to individuals if their personally identifiable information (PII) gets exposed.
  • Lead to penalties and fines by regulators if you violate data privacy laws.
  • Lead to civil claims if clients hold you responsible for their losses or hardship.


Independent workers may be left carrying the can for data breaches

What would happen if your client’s press release, product specs, or marketing material gets leaked? In the larger scheme of things, it may be easier for the client to accuse the independent worker or contractor of negligence rather than take the blame for their own mistakes.

Your only protection is to prevent such situations from arising. If your client works for a company or corporation, secure your end with antivirus and VPN, and do all the file sharing – conspicuously – according to their IT rule book. For clients who do not use enterprise-class file-sharing methods, insist on using your preferred, more secure method of file sharing.


How to avoid unsecured file-sharing methods


If your client or associate has the backing of enterprise-level networking solutions, their IT departments probably have the security situation in hand. They should have clear rules and policies on handling secure file transfers. But if you have doubts about their position, you have to gently persuade them to do things more securely.

  • Never, ever use flash disks and USBs: It’s easy to lose small disks, but malware can spread like wildfire once it gets onto a portable drive. Sticking someone’s portable drive into your computer is too big a risk, no matter how good your antivirus solution is.
  • Pick a secure platform: If a client suggests using email or another insecure method, make it clear that, in the interests of both parties, you prefer a more secure method. Pick a reputable platform that offers password protection, MFA, access control, and the ability to create secure file links with expiration dates. Make it easy to use, or someone might be tempted to use an insecure workaround if they’re pressed for time.
  • Always connect to the internet via VPN: A VPN secures your data connection and data hijacking in transit. It protects the files while being transferred to your secure cloud storage or collaboration platform and could indemnify you in case of a data breach.
  • Use Meshnet: It’s an easy, highly secure way to create your private sharing network where you can work on joint projects, access remote devices, or allow clients limited access to specific files.
  • Keep your antivirus up to date: Malware can spread quickly via shared files. Use a reputable antivirus tool and endpoint protection to stop network infiltration and attackers.
  • Encrypt Your Files: If you’re ever in a position where you can’t use a secure file transfer method, consider encrypting your files. It adds a layer of security, and several dependable tools are available for commercial use.
  • Practice basic cyber hygiene: Always use strong passwords and add 2FA or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) as a security layer.



Translators work with sensitive data in a threatening digital landscape. It’s essential to protect both parties from data breaches and cyberattacks using a secure file-sharing method to share files and data. Insist on using a secure file-sharing method. Help to keep your colleagues, associates, and clients safe by spreading the word and creating awareness of the dangers of negligent cybersecurity practices.