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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

In an insecure world, secure file sharing practices are a must

From huge retail data breaches to stolen USB drives, the chances of exposing confidential information seem to rise every day.

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From huge retail data breaches to stolen USB drives, the chances of exposing confidential information seem to rise every day. The stakes are rising, too, as data becomes bigger and with consequences for data breaches encompassing fraud concerns and liability expenses. Although data security is an ongoing process - and at times an uphill battle - companies need to do everything they can to cover all their bases. An important component of that is implementing a strong secure file sharing process.

Will the breaches ever end? Probably not
As one of the latest incidents, AppleCare Insurance Services announced that a laptop belonging to one of its agents was stolen, SC Magazine reported. Like many similar cases, the laptop contained sensitive information about customers that was not encrypted or safeguarded with other secure practices. The source explained that the machine contained names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses about an undisclosed number of people.

This incident points to the diverse ways that companies can lose control over their information. At a time when the black market is lucrative for data thieves who have personal details that can be used for identity theft and other crimes, it's imperative for businesses to eliminate unnecessary risk to their data resources. 

As reported by IT Business, Kevin Mandia, senior vice president and chief operating officer of FireEye Inc., told last week's RSA conference that data breaches are almost inevitable. Instead of being a defeatist, however, this realization should prompt companies to identify any weaknesses in their network security and seek solutions to mitigate the risk.

"I have to be right every time, but [hackers] only have to be right one time," said Joseph Lowe, a senior security analyst with Intrawest Resort Holdings Inc., according to the news source.

Greater security all around
To reduce the opportunities for hackers and other criminals to steal their information, businesses need to protect their files throughout their organization and its operations. This includes building up network security, training employees on best practices for measures like passwords and implementing secure solutions for business processes. Employees need to be able to collaborate on documents and share information with each other, but these practices should not expose data to insecure outside environments. The theft of the AppleCare Insurance Services laptop would not have been as damaging if sensitive information had not been stored on the device itself, for example.

As a part of their comprehensive security program, organizations can turn to file sharing solutions, such as Wide Area File Services (WAFS), which provide employees ready access - even remotely - to corporate resources without forcing them to download resources onto their computers or email documents to their personal accounts. In addition to using a high-end file management system that offers top-notch security, corporations need to make sure their networks are protected by firewalls and anti-virus software. Employees should also be educated about the latest phishing threats and other scams to prevent them from accidentally introducing malware or exposing data.

IT Business emphasized that there are no 100 percent fool-proof solutions, no safeguards that can guarantee protection against criminals who are constantly innovating new ways to gain access to information. Security must be an ongoing practice, a top priority that stays at the heart of business operations and data management. With the right tools, keeping an active and ongoing focus on security doesn't have to intrude workers' day-to-day activities, however. Secure file sharing solutions take most of the behind-the-scenes safeguards and reduce strain on IT teams by maintaining the system and incorporating necessary upgrades to keep security updated. Options like these can help businesses strike the right balance between constant vigilance and convenient, easy-to-use processes.