Online file sharing is a convenient and simple means to transfer documentation and other data from one person to another and it has become pretty common for people to use unmanaged, personal-use file sharing systems online. This makes them a pretty terrific way for information to get stolen from your business.
A recent survey conducted by Symantec revealed that “…small business employees are increasingly adopting unmanaged, personal-use online file sharing solutions without permission from IT.” This behavior was found to be driven mostly by the widespread adoption of online services, such as DropBox and YouSendIt, to mobile devices, which in turn has blurred the definitions of work and play into one mesh of usage.
Here are some more highlights from the survey:
- Employees influence file sharing adaptation. It’s recognized that small business employees are more productive when allowed to share files; 74% stated it was adopted to do just that. Sixty-one percent stated that their employees are ‘somewhat-to-extremely influential’ in determining internal file-sharing solutions.
- Employers are concerned about its usage. Despite that employers allow employees to use these systems in day-to-day operations, they (44% of respondents) stated that employee sharing of confidential info using unapproved solutions is a concern. Further concerns surrounded malware, loss of confidential/proprietary info, embarrassment, and regulation violations.
- Files are getting larger. The number of businesses today that share a gigabyte or more of data in their organization is more than twice what it was three years ago (14% as opposed to 6% back then).
Unmanaged file sharing solutions are bad news all around, not just with entrusting its usage to employees whom might not be educated as to the lack of security in these systems (or might not care), but also with product outages. If you use these systems to extensively share info with your customers and/or vendors, you’re looking at a world of trouble if one should go down.
The best solutions to these issues are often the most simplest; Symantec compiled a few, and it doesn’t get much easier than this:
- Centralization of file storage. Use a secure web-based system that is accessible from points that your SMB solely defines and controls. There are several companies, including Symantec of course, that offer these services.
- Limit file access. Password-protect or implement other access controls and permissions to keep files safe. Adobe Acrobat offers simple document security to prevent opening, printing, copying, or otherwise sharing information in them, for example.
- Keep an eye out. Maintain an ongoing monitoring of what files are shared, at what time.
If anything, centralizing the control you have over your employees’ ability to implement file sharing solutions is the best, biggest step you can take. Don’t leave it in their hands; leave it to the professionals, because it’s your business’s future that depends on it.