Russian Roulette: When Businesses Lack File-Sharing Security Policies

online-securityThe after-life of files shared by employees through file-sharing platforms is longer than many companies realize. Through platforms such as Dropbox and HighTail, employees can continuously communicate and collaborate with colleagues, whether they are nearby or in on the other side of the world. This virtual proximity has become not only an attractive feature of high-performing and über collaborative organizations, it has also become a standard for efficiency on an unprecedented scale, so much so that it would be considered regressive to consider reverting to previous time-intensive methods of sharing information.

However, this new business world has its pitfalls, and in a Harris Interactive online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, there were substantial and pervasive worst-practices among those who regularly use file-sharing platforms at work. Specifically, over 25% of file-sharers retain access to documents shared/accessed from previous employers. For those sharing files at their current place of work, two out of five report transferring sensitive files without IT approval. Of those who responded, over half believe using file-sharing services is a secure way to share files (though many recent revelations suggest otherwise), nearly half admit it is easy to take those files to another employer, and additional 38% have transferred sensitive files via an unapproved service.

These findings issue a stern wake-up call to companies to move swiftly to integrate file-sharing policies and incentivize them for employees. Though many companies are loath to openly discuss internal security vulnerabilities, plain talk about the correlation between data breaches and the all-too-commonplace practice of sharing data through unauthorized file-sharing platforms is a must. IT departments must also be given the ability to implement enterprise-level data security solutions, such as SEDs (self-encrypting devices) and data encryption of all devices that access sensitive data, if they are to properly act as stewards of an organization’s data security program.

SEDs offer one of the many data encryption solutions that enable employees to continue to maximize their collaborative output, while retaining the necessary security protocols for an organization’s sensitive data.

Daniel Gail is an avid tech geek with experience in writing for a number of blogs across the web. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Daniel worked in I.T. across a number of industries, including banking, marketing and software. For more updated on his life and work follow him on Google+.



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