Secure electronic file transfers: LiquidFiles and other platforms
“The pandemic has changed the way that we work.” You have probably heard this several times over the past year, from just about every industry imaginable, and the same is true for us here at the IPC. A key component of our work involves the exchange of sensitive information. This has evolved over the years, from couriers bringing multiple thick manila envelopes of paper to our door, to CDs, to almost inconceivably small USB flash drives, to email transfers of password protected PDF documents, which have all lead us to today where secure electronic file transfers are quickly becoming not only the norm, but the expectation.
We try to be as accommodating as possible to the various methods of transferring documentation, and will continue to do so, but one major headache in the past year which really highlights the importance of secure electronic file transfers has been the issue of how an employee of a public body who is working remotely sends information in a physical medium to somebody at the IPC, who is also working remotely? There are workarounds, but they also come with risks and compromises. Sure you could coordinate to deliver something to my house, but do I have a scanner equipped to digitize large quantities of documents, or a large locking final cabinet to protect these documents from the prying eyes of my 6 year old? How many people actually have a nearly paper thin laptop or USB accessory that reads optical discs in 2021, and when was the last time they needed it?
Enter secure electronic file transfers. A nearly instantaneous and secure transmission of sensitive information with a very high limit on the file size and/or number of documents you can send, which drastically reduces the possibility of theft, data corruption, or equipment failure? Sign me up!
Well actually, the IPC already is signed up. As I have said, this has been an evolution, and in anticipation of electronic file transfers becoming the norm, we officially launched our LiquidFiles file transfer system in January of 2020. If you have engaged us in a review or investigation file in the past year or so, you have likely seen us mention the possibility of using LiquidFiles to submit the requested documentation.
For the un-initiated, LiquidFiles allows for the fast and secure transfer of large and/or sensitive documentation to and from a server that is owned and maintained by the IPC. On their own, these features are very appealing, but perhaps the best feature of LiquidFiles is its simplicity. LiquidFiles is web-based and probably does not look all that different from the email software you use on a daily basis. So if you have internet access, an email account, a web browser, and your IT department has not blocked email from @oipc.sk.ca, within a few minutes you should be able to use LiquidFiles to send documentation to and/or receive documentation from us.
If you wish to use LiquidFiles to submit material to our office, please contact our intake team at 306-787-8350 or email@example.com, or the analyst for your case file and they should be able to get you started.
But what about…?
As you may have guessed, LiquidFiles is our preferred method to receive material, but we strive to be flexible and accommodating, so we will try to accept material using whatever secure platform or medium you wish.
Office 365 contains file transfer capabilities, and is probably one of the most common platforms for electronic file transfers at this point in time, but there are others as well. We are happy to try and accept files transferred using platforms other than LiquidFiles and will leave it you to ensure the platform meets technical and legislative requirements from a data security standpoint. However, please make sure to check with your IT Department/System Administrator to ensure your platform of choice is or can be configured to share documentation in a way that allows guest access/authentication for users who may not already be using that same platform.
In spite of everybody’s best efforts, we may still encounter issues where we cannot access records from a given platform, or you cannot access something from LiquidFiles. We make every effort to work with you and your IT professionals to work these issues out, but if we are unable to, we are still willing to accept documentation via a different, albeit potentially less convenient, secure method.