Every business, big or small, houses loads of data in files and folders. Moreover, this data is accessible to employees and teams as a part of the normal business operations. Obviously, when the confidential business information is open for sharing, there are risks involved. After all, you cannot trust every employee to be honest while handling data and there is always the possibility of loss due to human errors as well.
As a result, file sharing risks emerge as one of the biggest concerns for global organizations. They continually look for ways to minimize these risks and resolve any breaches if the threats do materialize, which may happen at some point in time. Before figuring out the measures to reduce such risks, it is important to uncover them so that you can understand what you are working against.
Understanding the risks
The reliability of the data and information being transmitted within and outside the business is only as good as the file sharing and storage infrastructure. Further, it also depends on the security measures that an organization has in place to protect the system. Here are some risks that your business may encounter in the context of file-sharing:
- Without a robust system and effective measures, there is always a risk to the integrity of the data being exchanged. If the files are tampered with while sharing, they may have inaccurate information or get degraded or corrupted during the transfer. Consequently, any decisions made on the basis of this information are at risk as well.
- Businesses that opt for file-sharing are also endangered by hackers and unscrupulous people who want to exploit their data with wrong intentions and for their own ends by stealing, spying or hacking it.
- Confidentiality is another critical issue for businesses because it can lead to compliance issues. This can result in reputational damage and even possible legal consequences as well. Further, there is a probability of revenue loss if the customer data falls into wrong hands.
- Another risk for businesses related to pilferage of intellectual property, with the chances of and corporate espionage and infiltration of file-sharing platforms.
Measures to cut down the file-sharing risks
Now that you understand the kinds of risks that your enterprise may face and the impact they can have, you would want to reduce it to the minimum. Here are some measures that can help:
Select a file-sharing platform you can trust
First things first, you need to go the extra mile while choosing your file sharing and collaboration platform because this is where your files traverse through. Prioritize a secure file sharing platform that has the right feature set and is good enough to handle your requirements, depending on the size of your team and the kind of files you need to share as a part of your operations. One that is easy to use is a great pick because you wouldn’t want something that has a steep learning curve. Anything that is difficult to use increases the probability of errors.
Use strong access controls and encryption
Apart from having a reliable file sharing solution in place, you also need to implement strong access controls. At the same time, user accounts in the platform should be protected by strong passwords and these should be changed frequently. A multi-factor authentication for accessing the system would be an added advantage when it comes to minimizing security risks. The entire data that is stored and sent across should also be encrypted for preventing any unprecedented risks.
Ensure device management
Since most organizations allow employees to use personal devices for business these days, it is mandatory to manage all the devices that are in use for accessing, sharing and storing business data. No doubt BYOD empowers the remote workforce but a complete device management plan is needed to secure the data from dishonest employees. Make sure that your BYOD policy includes firm provisions that set out the relevant practices for the users. Also, you must use the right Mobile Device Management (MDM) technologies and seek administrative rights for remotely wiping data from the devices that are lost, stolen or compromised.
While implementing these security measures would cut down the file-sharing risks to a considerable extent, training your employees is vital. Educate people regarding the significance of company data and its security so that they take it as a responsibility rather than a burden. Additionally, you need to build and consolidate a workplace culture that prioritizes information security at all levels, right from the top to the bottom.