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Data sharing: What is it and why is it important?

Data sharing is at the heart of how the internet works. Individuals, companies, and websites share data constantly. This article will explain the various forms of data sharing and help you make your data more secure.

Data sharing: What is it and why is it important?

What is data sharing?

Data sharing is the process of making the same data resources available to multiple users and applications. Many entities, including corporations and academic institutions, share data due to transparency and openness policies. This shared data can include research papers, scholarly publications, corporate statistics, scientific data, and annual performance reviews.

Data sharing shows an institution’s credibility, promotes activities, and establishes a connection with customers or the community. Publicly available data resources also encourage feedback and an external critical approach from the community.

Data collaboration is another term used to describe data sharing. However, it goes a step further. Data collaboration allows businesses to work together on shared data, which involves analyzing, editing, discussing, and drawing conclusions. It aims to create greater value, discover fresh insights, and enhance business performance.

Data sharing is strongly accelerated by social media platforms, where people and various entities share their personal and corporate data. Social media networks encourage data sharing but simultaneously create privacy problems and make it more difficult to stay anonymous online.

How should you share data?

Sharing data effectively and responsibly involves several important considerations:

  1. Thoroughly investigate and assess the data you’re about to share.
  2. Identify the data you’re sending out, understand why you originally collected it, and ensure you have a legal reason for sharing it.
  3. Pay special attention to data processing principles, including legality, fairness, and openness.
  4. Ensure you document the data sharing process.

What are the methods of data sharing?

Businesses and individuals use various methods of data sharing, each with its own use cases, depending on individual circumstances and needs. Below are some of the most common techniques of data sharing:

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is an application layer protocol that transfers files between devices over a single network. It is known for reliability and gives you control over the transfer of large files or batches of data. FTP also lets you save information in the cloud, which can be accessed remotely by company employees and third-party business partners.

Application programming interface (API)

An API is a set of rules that allows different software applications to communicate with each other and process data transmission between systems. Companies use it to share data in real-time, which simplifies the process of working with data that needs to be frequently updated. An API lets companies share their assets with external associates, such as developers and business partners.

Data warehousing

Data warehousing is a data management system that enables business intelligence and facilitates business data analysis. It centralizes and consolidates large amounts of data from multiple sources into a unified system and handles complex queries.

Data sharing in the cloud

Cloud services also make data sharing practices more convenient and widespread. Companies and individual users no longer need to store data on their hard drives. Instead, they can keep it in a cloud accessible to other users. For example, members of a single organization can access the same data sources with no hassle. It also makes it easier to keep everyone, including business partners, informed and minimizes the misinterpretation of data.

Sending data as an email attachment

Sending data via email is the most straightforward method of sharing small data files. It doesn’t require much technical knowledge and additional software. However, remember that this method is the least secure of all the above-mentioned data sharing methods and is unsuitable for handling large files.

Data sharing examples

Now, consider these real-life examples of data sharing:

  • Companies in the same field often share data for deeper market insights and to identify fraud patterns and potential threats in the market.
  • Enterprises also share data with their customers to establish trust and provide the required product information.
  • Institutions share scientific data to gain additional external insights and prove their credibility.
  • Data sharing is also used in areas with fast data flows where data should be accessed quickly without encryption keys.
  • Extensive data sharing also takes place on social media on a personal and corporate level.

Advantages of data sharing

The growth of data sharing has been highly impacted by technological advancements and data analysis. Data sharing has become a priority when making company-scale decisions — it helps to develop new business and research opportunities, providing researchers with useful information. Now, let’s look at the main benefits of sharing data.

  • pros
    The amount of quality publicly available data enables better research and development for companies and academic institutions. It also creates new possibilities for collaboration.
  • pros
    Sharing data enables data-driven decision-making and collaboration. It also creates a positive social impact because society can become more educated by accessing the shared data.
  • pros
    Data sharing provides long-term safe data storage if you deposit it in a repository.
  • pros
    Secure data sharing reflects your commitment to openness and transparency, emphasizing the significance of both lawful practices and data security.
  • pros
    Data sharing also reveals your competencies, performance, and academic achievements. Others can use your data in their research papers, such as medical research, and promote your content.
  • pros
    In corporate settings, data sharing can improve efficiency. Employees can easily access and become familiar with the newest business insights and updates.

Disadvantages of data sharing

Data sharing also introduces threats:

  • cons
    Your data can be misused or misinterpreted. People can take it out of context and distort its original meaning and intention.
  • cons
    Others may disregard your copyrights and intellectual property rights and misuse your data, dismissing the importance of data privacy.
  • cons
    If you share personal or sensitive data, someone can use it to breach your privacy or hack you.
  • cons
    If you store your data in a cloud or a third-party service, a data breach or a hack is always possible.
  • cons
    Irresponsible data sharing can violate the privacy of involved parties. Taking all the necessary measures to keep customer data safe is crucial.

PRO TIP: Use Meshnet to secure your remote projects and ensure safe file sharing with your friends or colleagues.

How to protect your data

Below are a few data management tips that will help you to make your data safer:

  • Always think carefully before sharing your data. Ensure that the data won’t expose your sensitive information or jeopardize your or your company’s privacy.
  • Avoid unnecessary data sharing. Share your data only when you think it’s useful.
  • Use a reliable and safe cloud storage service to store your data.
  • Encrypt your sensitive data. It will make it safe even if it falls into the wrong hands during cyberattacks like data exfiltration because no one will be able to access encrypted data. Check out our NordLocker tool for proper file encryption.
  • Use a VPN. It will encrypt your data and minimize the possibility of someone intercepting your traffic and snatching your sensitive info. NordVPN has many great features to enhance your security.

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