Use OS X’s Shared Folder to share files

OSX_Feb19_ATechnology is getting a little cloudy! That doesn’t mean it’s about to rain but that the concept of the cloud is seeping into almost every arm of technology. This has brought about a drastic increase in our ability to collaborate and share documents. There are still holdouts however, and if you have a Mac there is another way to share files.

If you use Apple’s OS X in your company you can share files and folders by using the Public or Shared Folder. This folder can be found by:

  1. Opening any file. In the left-hand side of the window scroll down to Places.
  2. Clicking on the user account you log into your computer with. This is usually your account name with the house icon beside it.
  3. Double-clicking on the Public or Shared Folder.

This folder is set up to share any files that are placed in it with other users on the same computer or network. Depending on the version of OS X you use, you may see a folder labeled Drop Box. This is a folder where you can drop files into for you to see and use, but is not related to Dropbox, the cloud storage program.

How to set up your Shared Folder
Regardless of your version of OS X, you should have Shared Folder. You can configure which files and folders you want to share by:

  1. Clicking the Apple icon at the top-left of the screen.
  2. Selecting System Preferences followed by Sharing.
  3. Ticking the box beside File Sharing.
  4. Pressing the + under File Sharing and selecting the folder you would like to share, followed by Add.

You’ll notice that when you click on the file you chose to share, you will see a black bar that says: Shared Folder across the top of the folder window.

You will also notice the window labeled Users identifies a number of different users, along with the privilege each has. These permissions, which you can apply, dictate what individual users can do with the shared files or folders. There are four different privileges you can assign:

  • Read & Write Users can open, edit, copy and delete files in the folder.
  • Read Only – Users can open and copy files out of the folder.
  • Write Only (Drop Box) – Users can copy files into the Drop Box folder but can’t see what’s in the folder. They can overwrite files if they drag and drop a file with the same name into this folder.
  • No Access – Users cannot see or access any of the files or folders.

Should my company use this?
Using the Shared Folder be a good way to share documents with users within the same network. However, there is little to nothing in the system to keep the files secure. If someone connects to your network, and you have allowed Everyone to see Read & Write they will be able to see, edit and possibly delete files.

It is also a good idea to be aware that the Shared Folder is set to share with anyone connected on the same network. This means that if you connect to another network that isn’t in the office, the Shared Folder will be accessible to other users on the same network. This can create a bit of a security issue. To negate this, you should turn off file sharing from the System Preferences, Sharing option if you aren’t using it, or are away from your main network.

At the very least you should ensure the sharing permissions are set in a way whereby files aren’t accidentally shared. If you would like to learn more about other ways to share files with your colleagues, please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

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