Top 5 Reasons to Replace All Email Attachments with Links

Email is the collaboration and file sharing tool of choice for most of us for many reasons. For some it is a muscle-memory thing. It is how we collaborated before Skype, Yammer and Teams emerged. Email has the advantage of ubiquity and virtually always working. When you hit Send you have great confidence that the recipient will quickly receive your message with zero friction.

All of this came to mind upon reading a Linkedin post from an astute industry colleague, which stated that: 

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

I suspect this problem resonates with most of us, but our attention may mistakenly (IMHO) focus on email being an inadequate method to share a sensitive file. But the underlying issue is that in almost all cases, attachments result in data being given away forever. But this does not have to be the case as the attachment can be replaced with a link to the file. Here are the Top 5 reasons to do so.

  1. Links can be expired

    An emerging best practice is to have a default link expiration duration, for example 60 days. Long enough to meet the business need in sharing the file in the first place. And if requesting and approving an extension is easy (as it is with e-Share), there is virtually no impact on the sender or the recipient.

    And if you have sent an email in error (have you ever succeeded in recalling an email?), or you have terminated a business relationship, or have reason to believe a recipient’s mail server has been compromised, you can immediately expire any/all attachment links.

  2. Links allow rights management

    Perhaps attachments should be available for viewing only, with no download. Perhaps downloaded attachments should be dynamically watermarked. And perhaps the sharing of an attachment with a co-worker is okay, but sharing outside of the recipient’s organization requires the sender’s approval.

  3. Attachments are not sitting in the recipients email system

    Attachment links allow you to keep your shared files safely tucked away in your cloud file storage (e.g., the sender’s OneDrive). The recipient can view an attachment at any time, without having the file in their mail system, accruing risk by the day, long after the business need in sharing the file has been met.

  4. 80% of recipients do not need a local copy of the file

    Even when the recipient has the right to download an attachment, 80% of recipients will not. They prefer to preview the file, perhaps to approve it or to determine what action is needed. Knowing they have access to the file at some later point is good enough for 80% of recipients. Attaching a file in the absence of a link is grossly oversharing, adding no business value and accumulating risk.

  5. Links enable modern collaboration

    Platforms like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) allow for online editing, co-authoring and redlining of shared content, but not if that content is shared as an attachment. Links make modern collaboration possible, as does e-Share’s native integration with Microsoft Office Online.

  6. Bonus Reason: Links eliminate version confusion

    Links ensure all parties are working from the same version of a shared file. No longer are drafts of contracts being merged and compared. And you can update an attachment link even after you hit the send button.

With attachments links, email can remain your user’s preferred method for for initiating their collaboration and file sharing while providing the organization the control it needs over shared files.

You can read here how a leading Health Insurer has implemented attachment links to protect PHI and improve the customer experience. And you can see the sender and recipient experience, including modern collaboration around attachments, in our virtual demo.

Better yet, schedule a demo with us to learn more and discuss use cases of specific interest to your organization.

SDI Selects e-Share for Inclusion in Supplier Catalog Management Service

e-Share has been selected by SDI to be added to it’s Supplier Catalog Management to lower the cost and improve the quality of supplier data collection process.

BOSTON, MA, February 16, 2021

e-Share, a global external collaboration software company, today announced it has been selected by SDI for incorporation into its Supplier Catalog Management service to lower the cost and improve the quality of its supplier data collection process.

SDI, a market leader in Digital Supply Chain Solutions, had expanded its services to include over 6,000 suppliers, necessitating a higher level of automation around the collection of product descriptions for inclusion in eProcurement catalogs. SDI’s existing SFTP-based approach to file collection, and all other file transfer solutions it considered, did not provide the ease-of-use that the suppliers demanded.

e-Share was able to provide SDI with two vital components for its Supplier Catalog Management service. First, e-Share allowed SDI present a simple, SDI-branded web portal for suppliers to upload files containing product descriptions, while eliminating the need to pre-provision supplier accounts. Second, e-Share allowed SDI to leverage its user’s familiarity with Microsoft Office 365, with uploaded files stored in SharePoint Online.

“We are delighted to contribute to SDI’s innovative supply chain solution and share their commitment to delivering a great user experience to their suppliers”, says Nick Stamos, e-Share co-founder and CEO. “eDelivery and eCollection of documents is a fast-growing part of our business as business transformation projects begin to focus on file-based workflows that involve suppliers and partners.”

“e-Share simplified and improved the quality of our data collection process.”, says Ron Fijalkowski, SDI’s SVP, Digital Supply Chain. “It’s modern and simple UX allowed us to quickly implement and secure our partnerships with our suppliers and continue to innovate our Digital Supply Chain Solutions”.

About e-Share

e-Share is a leading provider of enterprise software solutions for file sharing and content collaboration with external parties using Microsoft 365. We enable organizations to engage their clients, partners and suppliers easily and securely using the productivity tools and workflows users are already familiar with – Teams, SharePoint Online, Outlook and OneDrive. Our solutions make customer experience and file-based workflow transformation practical through the easy, secure, and collaborative sharing of essential data with customers, suppliers and partners. To learn more about e-Share, visit http://www.e-share.us.

About SDI

SDI is a Digital Supply Chain Solutions firm with a focused practice in Indirect Materials, MRO, and Industrial/Facilities Technology. We go to market through an innovative As-a-Service offering, delivering custom solutions and results designed to improve our client’s MRO and supply chain performance. Using a custom suite of products, services and tools, SDI’s platform coordinates, aligns and optimizes every step of the digital supply chain. Lower costs, smarter inventories and more reliable production are all natural results from a more connected MRO supply chain. To learn more about SDI, visit http://www.sdi.com.