Sending & Sharing Files
This guide will help most people at Harvard find the best tool for sending or sharing a file. Before you send or share a file, check if your data is medium- (level 3) or high-risk (level 4) and make sure you pick a tool that's approved for sending that level of data. And remember, always use a Harvard-approved tool—never your personal email or file-sharing tool—to send confidential or sensitive data.
Best options for Harvard Microsoft 365 Users
For high-risk data and below, you can now can send encrypted messages and files directly from the Outlook web or desktop apps. This adds an extra layer of security to the message and its attachments (up to 150MB) and means only the intended recipient can view it.
- For medium-risk data and below, you can share a file directly from OneDrive or SharePoint instead of attaching it to an email. This means you can specify exactly who can access it, keeping your information much more secure, and it allows you to collaborate on documents in real-time. OneDrive is best for storing your personal work files, and SharePoint is best for teams and departments.
Best options for Harvard Google users
For medium-risk data and below, you can share a file directly from Google Drive instead of attaching it to an email. This means you can specify exactly who can access it, keeping your information much more secure, and it allows you to collaborate on documents in real-time.
- For high-risk data, you can send a file securely using Accellion Kiteworks. It’s important to note that Kiteworks doesn’t encrypt the body of the message you send, so make sure any sensitive data is in the file itself.
Most people at Harvard should use the options above for sending and sharing files, but if you're a faculty member or researcher who needs to use Dropbox to share files with external users, you can request an account. Harvard's Dropbox is approved for sending medium-risk data and below.
- There are lots of other tools that can be used to share files quickly, including email, Zoom, and Slack, but before you do, it's really important that you check the collaboration tools matrix to make sure they're approved for the level of data you need to send. Remember that when you send a file as an email attachment or using a tool like Zoom, you can't control what happens to it after you've sent it.