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Monday, September 09, 2013

3 traits of ideal secure file transfer solutions

Here are three traits that decision-makers should look for when selecting the ideal secure file transfer solution.

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As businesses continue to evolve and expand, they will undoubtedly find themselves facing a wide range of challenges. Among the most significant of these will be the management of ever-growing volumes of data. Organizations in every industry are now striving to accumulate as much information as possible, as this data can be leveraged for a wide range of purposes. Big data analytics, business intelligence (BI) and other technologies are increasingly becoming self-service, meaning that employees throughout a given organization will have access to the solutions needed to optimize their job performance.

To achieve this level of productivity, workers need to have the means of sharing corporate data with one another. Yet enabling such collaborative efforts is easier said than done. Business decision-makers need to be careful when choosing a secure file transfer solution, as the right choice will maximize the company's productivity while the wrong option can prove a major liability.

Here are three traits that decision-makers should look for when selecting the ideal secure file transfer solution.

1. Security
Obviously, high-quality security is essential for any secure file transfer solution. After all, the information sent and received by employees on a normal business day will almost certainly include a variety of sensitive information. This can include customer data, such as Social Security numbers, financial records or medical histories, depending on the industry. If this information is exposed, the business will see its reputation severely damaged, as consumers will look to avoid doing business with a company that is unable to protect its clients' information. Furthermore, regulatory agencies will likely level major fines on organizations found to have been derelict in their duty to protect such data.

Additionally, and in many cases more importantly, employees will need to regularly send and receive intellectual property. Intellectual property is not limited to secret designs or other trade secrets. It also includes any information that a company wants to keep private for purposes of gaining or maintaining a competitive advantage. Marketing strategies, payroll figures, lists of company assets - any of this information may be used by an industry competitor, damaging the firm that lost the data. And if the file transfer solution in place is not sufficiently secure, this information could potentially be lost, stolen or exposed, leading to serious repercussions.

For all of these reasons, business decision-makers need to be absolutely certain that whatever file transfer option they select features robust, dependable security that can minimize the risk of these events occurring. Only in this way can the company ensure that its employees are able to send and receive data as needed without worrying about compromising the firm's integrity.

2. Usability
In many ways, usability is just as essential as security for high-grade file sharing solutions. This is due to the simple fact that if the program is not easy to use, employees will likely abandon it in favor of simpler, more streamlined options.

Such options are readily available. In addition to consumer-grade email offerings, there are also box file sharing tools, such as Dropbox, which many employees are already familiar with from their personal lives. These tools are very simple to use, but they lack the security standards necessary for business operations. Yet if workers find themselves frustrated by the file transfer options provided by the company, they will likely turn to these easy-to-use, less secure options, thereby putting corporate data at risk.

To avoid this outcome, business leaders need to make usability a key priority when evaluating file sharing options. Ease of use should be seen not just as a nice bonus, but as an absolutely essential component of overall data security.

3. Scalability
Scalability is the final major consideration which decision-makers must take into account when choosing a file-sharing solution. Scalability is necessary because the file sharing needs of a given business will almost certainly change over time. This can be either a gradual change, such as business growth over time, or immediate changes, in the form of seasonal variations. If either of these scenarios applies, the business's data needs will fluctuate, and consequently so will the transfer needs.

It is therefore essential that the secure file transfer solution chosen is able to scale up or down to meet the firm's needs. These tools must be able to easily handle a sudden uptick in the size of the data sets sent and received, and it must be easy to roll out this program to new employees and offices as needed. This is the only way to ensure that efficiency and productivity remain at their highest possible levels at all times, even in the face of unexpected growth or expansion.