Do you need to transfer data and collaborate? If your work entails regular collaboration with your team, you should consider yourself lucky because you have your trusty Mac computer as your ally. On your Mac, you can easily create shared folders within a network, and this is the easiest and most convenient way to streamline workflow processes by transferring essential data.
This guide explores the precautions and essential steps one must take to ensure efficient and safe shared folder usage.
Shared Folders on Mac: What is it?
On macOS, Shared Folders allow users to share resources and files across several devices connected to the same network. This facilitates seamless collaboration and offers convenient access among users within the office environment or home network.
However, if the shared folders are not configured properly, it can pose security risks. You may lose your sensitive data to snoopers.
How to create a Shared Folder on Mac?
Before unveiling the tips and best practices to ensure the security of Shared Folders, let’s explore how to create a Shared Folder on Mac.
- The first step is to turn on file sharing. Go to System Preferences or System Settings and choose Sharing > turn on File Sharing. If prompted, enter your password. Then, click the “i” button, and you will find a Public Folder has been created. If you want to share a different folder, click the plus icon and add the folder.
- The second step is to set permissions because you wouldn’t want your shared folders to be accessed by unauthorized persons or team members. The access permission can be configured to specify who can access the Shared Folder. You can also decide on their level of access – Read & Write or Read-Only. Click the plus button to add specific groups or users.
- The third step is to protect your shared folders by using a password. This is going to add an extra layer of security. When the folder is protected by a password, it means only those individuals can access the folder who have the correct credentials.
- When sharing files, you must use secure protocols, such as AFP or SMB. These protocols make sure the data is encrypted during transmission, and the risks of data interception are reduced.
- Last but not least, you must regularly browse through and update permissions. It is important to review folder permissions and remove access for users who do not need to access the confidential information within the folders. If you regularly maintain this, you will be reducing the chances of unauthorized access.
What Security Measures Can Be Implemented To Safeguard Shared Folders?
Although some of the security measures are already mentioned above, here are some more to throw in the mix so your sensitive content is always protected.
- Turn on the built-in firewall to protect your shared folders. You can also consider using third-party firewall applications that will help control and monitor outgoing and incoming network traffic. Firewall protection is an extra layer of security that will thwart unauthorized access.
- The shared folders can be encrypted if they contain confidential information that you cannot afford to be accessed by unauthorized persons. Mac computers offer a feature known as FileVault. You can encrypt your folders using FileVault, or you can opt for third-party encryption programs. Once the folder is encrypted, the data becomes unreadable to people accessing the folders without permission.
- You must always remember to update your software. So, all the folder-sharing-related programs must be updated, and your macOS version must also be up-to-date. Apple’s updates typically come with enhancements and security patches that reduce the risk of exploitation.
Follow These Best Practices For Sharing Files Securely
- Restricted access: You must not give access to everyone. You can adjust permission and access levels so that the shared folders are only accessible to necessary groups and users. If you make the mistake of giving broad access to your shared folders, you are opening the pathway to accidental content modifications and data breaches.
- Monitor the logs: It is essential to frequently monitor the access logs so you can track who accesses the files in the shared folders. If you identify suspicious activities, you must revoke access immediately. Thanks to regular monitoring, you can detect anomalies early on and take action.
- Create backups: Reduce the chances of data loss by regularly backing up the contents of the shared folders.
Shared folders on your Mac computer can enhance productivity and collaboration among users within the same network. However, sharing files and folders comes with its share of privacy and security risks. If you follow the safety measures mentioned above, you will be able to share files with your team without the risk of data loss and unauthorized access.
So, do you use the Shared Folder feature on your Mac? Share your experience and thoughts.