Security Best Practices

Security Best Practices

Email, FTP, and overnight shipping services for file sharing are inherently less secure than XDrive and do not allow for any type of document collaboration.  Whenever you wish to share and collaborate on files internally and externally, please use XDrive as your go-to resource.  Below are the recommended best practices for securely sharing data using XDrive.

  • If you are outside of the Harvard network when working with confidential information, please use the Harvard VPN system in conjunction with XDrive.  By connecting to the VPN system, accessing XDrive from any given wi-fi or home network will meet the rigorous security standards that Harvard University has in place as if you were sitting at your office.
  • When sending Tickets to external parties, please enable ticket Password.  Because of the nature of Tickets, the shared folder/document could potentially be shared and forwarded onto other people if a password isn't enabled.  Share the password in a separate email or a phone call.
  • Enable Versioning (Manage > Versioning) and Subscriptions (Manage > Subscriptions) on the shared folders/files so that you can have a historical reference of the edits done to a given folder/file and be able to track who has viewed/edited/deleted a given folder/file.
  • Regularly review the permissions to folders/files you have shared to others in order to ensure that access rights are appropriate (Manage > Permissions). 
  • Regularly clear your XDrive cache, or have your computer automatically clear cached files upon disconnect or reboot of your computer.  Files that are opened are temporarily stored on your local hard drive, so they should be deleted regularly.  These options can be found on your computers' XDrive client, but for further assistance, please contact the HGSE IT Service Center ( or 617-496-0628).
  • If you or someone with whom you are collaborating download confidential information to a computer’s hard drive, be sure to remove the files by emptying the Window’s Recycle Bin or the Macintosh Trash.  To ensure that the information cannot be retrieved, use a secure deletion utility such as Eraser.

Erase free space on Mac OS

When you delete files by emptying the Trash, Mac OS X deletes the information used to access the files but doesn't actually delete the files. Although the disk space used by deleted files is marked as free space, deleted files remain intact until new data is written over them. Because of this, deleted files can be recovered.

You can use Disk Utility to erase the "free" space used by deleted files by having zeros written over the space once, seven times, or 35 times. If you have a lot of free space on your disk, overwriting the free space several times can take a long time.

Erasing free disk space does not erase the other files on your disk.

1. In Disk Utility, select the disk or volume in the list with the free space you want to erase.

2. Click Erase, then click the Erase Free Space button.

3. Select an option, then click Erase.


After the process begins, you can interrupt it without harming your data.

You can also erase free space when you empty the Trash in the Finder. Choose Finder > Secure Empty Trash.