Files.com Blog

Share Links now support Password Protection

Friday, July 26, 2019

One of our most popular features just got even better!

Share Links are one of the most popular features on the Files.com platform.

Share Links are publicly accessible link URLs that your users can create to provide read-only access to files and/or folders from various locations on your Site. You can then E-Mail those links to guest users via the Files.com platform. Administrators have full control over which users have access to Share Link creation, as well as how long Share Links last before expiring.

In contast to other share systems, which are often static snapshots of files at the point of the share creation, Files.com Share Links are dynamic. If you make changes to a file, this change is automatically reflected in all Share Links that include that file. If you add a file to a folder being shared, the new file is automatically added. This makes the Files.com share a much more powerful tool than sending files via email.

We’re proud to announce that we’ve now made Share Links even better by adding password protection.

This feature is available on all plans.

Share Links allow your permitted users to select from any of the files and folders that they have download/read permission to, whether they be in the same folder or not, and collect them into a common “share” that is accessed with a web browser via a single link/URL.

In order to generate share links, users need to be granted “Outbound sharing” permission by an administrator. Once so granted, a user can assemble share links and generate URLs that look something like this example: https://your-subdomain.files.com/f/c02011170408e7d2

Once a Share Link is generated, anyone possessing it can download the included files until either the link expires (Site administrators can set a number of days beyond which Share Links no longer work) or is manually revoked by an administrator or the user who created it.

Think of it as a bearer key; anyone who follows the link, whether they have user credentials for your Files.com site or not, can download the files.

A sample use case - one of many

Imagine that promotional packet or media packet that you’d like your audience to download from a link on your website. You can’t anticipate who all the downloaders will be, nor do you want to make the process cumbersome by requiring that they contact you for user credentials. You’d also like an easy way to count how many times the media packet is downloaded (Yes! You can see them in your site history logs). Share Links make that easy.

Now add a layer of complexity. Your process for developing and approving the files that comprise the media packet requires multiple people and steps to move drafts from one folder to another for review, then editing through different versions, then final review and approval, then publishing to the media packet. There are many files, and it’s critical that only the right, approved, versions make it into the hands of your public audience, and on top of that, files are being updated and added to the packet all the time. How do you manage that and make it secure and fail safe?

We love questions like that! It’s straightforward on Files.com with some simple setup of permissions and share links.

Here’s a great thing about share links: When you share a folder using the share link feature, the current contents of that folder are what are avaiable when the link is followed. That means your process can include adding and updating files in a particular shared folder, and the share link that you publish or otherwise distribute is always current and up to date!

There are multiple ways to create the scenario above, but here’s how we would approach it:

1) Create folders to be used for document staging and provide your users who handle that work full permissions to those folders, but not outbound sharing permission.

2) Create one folder to be used for final approval, and allow your document creation team write and list/preview permission to that folder, but only your senior “Approval” team full permission to the folder, and again, not outbound sharing permission.

3) Create the last folder in the chain to be used for the share link. Create a special user with full access to that folder, read and list access to the “Final Approval” folder, and grant outbound sharing permission to that user. The special sharing user selects that folder for the share link.

Now, your document creation team has all the space they need to develop your content and iterate through versions, but only the senior approval team is able to move files into position to be shared, AND your special sharing user can copy files from the Final Approval folder into the Sharing folder, but can not delete files from the Final Approval folder.

It’s a one-way check valve system ensuring that only final approved files are available to the public, and managing changes is orderly and logical.

Now you can add password protection to those Share Links for which you’d like to limit the audience but don’t want to manage credentialed user accounts.

You’ll start a Share Link the same way you normally do: select files and folders and use the Add to Share button.

When you are ready to generate the link, first toggle the option that says Secure this share with a password and provide a password in the password field. Then generate the link with the Generate share link button.

Now, anyone using the link will be required to enter the password you set before seeing the files and folders.

Do you want to ensure that your users always protect share links with passwords? Now you can do that too! When logged in as an administrator, navigate to your Settings > Security page. There you will find the setting that allows you to Password protect all Share Links. Toggle that to Enabled and save. Now whenever your users create a new Share Link, they will be required to protect it with a password.

Questions? Need help?

Please let us know how we can help. Would you like to talk through more scenarios and possibilities? We’re here and glad to help. Please contact us by email, chat (in your web interface when logged in), or phone (1-800-286-8372 ext. 2).