Secure File Sharing is a Multi-Step Process
Whether you are file sharing with a co-worker in the same building, a vendor in another city, or a customer on the other side of the country, it is important to make sure that your files are shared securely. Your data may contain sensitive information, like customer or employee information, financial reports, or your intellectual property. This is all information that you simply can’t afford to have stolen or compromised in a malicious attack. However, sometime business leaders assume that because they have a secure file sharing solution and that they are covered on the network security front. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Often, hackers attack file sharing applications by infecting files with malware. Then when the user downloads the file, their system becomes infected as well. Some file sharing solutions even expose a user’s computer directory, without the user’s knowledge. This may allow hackers access to files the user never intended on sharing.
Below are five reasons why file sharing is not always secure enough. As well as how you can make it more secure and a few best practices to follow.
No matter how secure you think that your file sharing solution is, untrained employees can pose a threat to the security of your company’s data. Untrained employees may be unaware of the risks associated with file sharing.
Untrained employees may be using instant messaging, collaboration tools, or even social media to share files, while not knowing the risks involved. If your employees are not properly educated on the risks involved with sharing secure company data in these fashions, then the company will become a target for an expensive data breach.
Helping your employees understand the risks associated with mishandling of data will go a long way in assuring that your data remains secure.
Sending Data across Unencrypted Channels
Not all businesses are fully aware of the liability they face when sending data across unencrypted channels. In order for data to remain completely secure, the file sharing solution that a company chooses must always have file encryption. File encryption will scramble the information that a user sends making it impossible for a person to read unless they have the key to decrypt it. For this reason, it is imperative that businesses only choose file sharing solutions that come with encryption.
Out of Date Network Security Software
Out of date network security software is just as risky as having no protection at all. Your security software is essential for protecting your network from malware, viruses, and hackers. Outdated antivirus or anti-malware may only serve as a reason to have a false sense of security, because the cybersecurity landscape is always changing and evolving.
The reason why cybersecurity software is patched from the solution providers is that hackers found a vulnerability in the defenses to get through. When the software solution provider discovers this, they fix it, and then send the update out to users…which probably means the weakness is now known to hackers. If the users do not update their software, then that widely known hole in the defenses remains, making them vulnerable to malware. For this reason, you need to make sure that your network security software is always up to date.
Not Using a Strong Password
According to Keeper Security, “123456” remains the most common password in the world. Having a strong password is the absolute first step in keeping your data secure. A strong password is at least 12 characters long. It also contains both lower and uppercase letters, at least one number, and at least one special character.
Not Having Solid Policies around BYOD
When your company is allowing BYOD (bring your own device), your employees may be using their own personal smartphones, tablets, or USB drives for file sharing purposes. What happens when the employee loses their device will all of your secure business data on it? Or what if their device is stolen? What happens if the employee leaves the company with all of your company data still on their device? This significantly puts your organization at risk.
While there is no denying that allowing BYOD is a way to increase productivity and mobility within a company. However, not having proper protocols in place will leave your data vulnerable. For file sharing purposes, BYOD can only be successful if the file sharing solution enables the administrator to regulate who has access to which files. You also have to have the ability to cut off access to users quickly. This is important in the event that an employee leaves the company or their device is lost or stolen.
You should always take the time to learn why your file sharing solutions may or may not be secure. Then, fully safeguard your data and defend your business against the types of security breaches that may cause harm.