Email continues to be the collaboration and file-sharing tool of choice for many...

Its ubiquity and reliability are part of the reason it's so prevalent; its long history means it's been ingrained in our habits since before more recent tools like MicrosoftTeams and SharePoint entered the scene. When you press Send, there's a high level of confidence that the recipient will receive your message promptly and without issue.

A thought-provoking statement from an astute industry colleague on LinkedIn brings an interesting issue to light:

 "Behind every problem at this company is a spreadsheet. In an email."

This sentiment likely resonates with many of us, yet we often mistake the crux of the issue, focusing on email as an inadequate method for sharing sensitive files. However, the underlying problem primarily revolves around the use of attachments, which inherently imply giving away data indefinitely. An effective alternative solution is to replace attachments with links to files. Here are five compelling reasons to adopt this approach: 

• Links Can Be Set to Expire: Implementing a default link expiration duration, say 60 days, ensures the shared content doesn't remain accessible indefinitely. If the process for extending the link's life is easy, it has minimal impact on both the sender and recipient.

• Links Allow Rights Management: With links, you can control whether recipients can view only, download, or share your content within their organization.

• Links Keep Shared Files Secure: By using links for attachments, you keep your shared files safely within your cloud storage system, such as OneDrive, Teams, or SharePoint. This way, the recipient can view an attachment without having the file sitting in their email system, which reduces associated security risks.

• Most Recipients Don't Need a Local Copy: Surprisingly, 80% of recipients do not download attachments. They prefer to preview the file to determine what action is needed. By providing a link rather than an attachment, you     ensure that recipients have access to the file whenever they need it.

• Links Enable Modern Collaboration: Tools like Microsoft 365 offer online editing, co-authoring, and redlining of shared content, but not if that content is shared as an attachment. Links make modern collaboration possible.

 Bonus Reason: Links Ensure Version Control: Links keep everyone on the same page, literally. All parties are always working from the same version of a file, eliminating the need to merge and compare drafts of documents.

We could have included a #6 that covered the headaches associated with sending large files, but our Top 5 truly are game-changers.

Despite our love for email, it's important to evolve and adapt it to suit the demands of modern digital communication and collaboration. By using links instead of attachments, you can enjoy the convenience of email while also benefiting from enhanced control over your shared files.

Are you curious to see this approach in action? Check out how a leading Health Insurer has implemented attachment links to protect PHI and improve the customer experience.

Our virtual demo will give you a glimpse into both sender and recipient experiences and show you how modern collaboration can be achieved with attachments.

Even better, schedule a live demo with us today. Discuss use cases that are specifically interesting to your organization and see firsthand how attachment links can revolutionize your email communication strategy. Embrace the digital age, without letting go of your tried-and-tested tools.

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