Data security plans must account for human behavior

Oct 06th, 2013 / Category: Managed File Transfer

Data security has quickly cemented itself at the top of many organizations' priority lists. Business leaders are now very aware of the consequences which will result if the firm's sensitive information is exposed, lost or stolen. Countless firms have been devastated by such incidents, with more reports of data breaches emerging just about every day. With the effects including direct monetary losses, fines, diminished competitive advantages and the loss of customer loyalty and trust, firms in every industry now understand that they must invest in robust data security solutions to ensure that they remain operational and successful in their given sectors.

Yet while the incentives for pursuing data protection strategies are obvious, the specific means by which firms should achieve these goals is less clear. All too often, firms invest in data security measures that ultimately prove unsatisfactory, leaving the company vulnerable to breaches.

There are many key guidelines which firms should abide by in order to ensure their data security solutions are reliable. Among the most important of these is choosing tools, such as secure file transfer solutions, that specifically take into account human behavior.

The human factor
There are many security solutions on the market which have the technological capacity to prevent external threats from gaining access to a company's sensitive data. Unfortunately, many of these offerings were designed without focusing on the end-users, and consequently cannot be confidently relied upon to protect a firm's information assets.

Say, for example, that a company chooses a very powerful file transfer solution that offers advanced encryption tools that can protect corporate data at all times. With such a resource in place, it may seem that the issue of data protection for file transfers is settled.

However, this file transfer system will only prove effective if it is actually embraced by a company's employees. After all, these are the individuals who will regularly need to send files containing sensitive information to one another and entities outside the organization. The success or failure of any given file transfer solution will largely be determined by whether or not employees use the system effectively.

If a file transfer solution is secure but time-consuming to use, many employees will inevitably choose to utilize more convenient but less secure options, such as Dropbox and other consumer-grade box file sharing options. These employees may value corporate security, but this consideration simply cannot compete with the urge to make their work lives easier and more efficient.

Similar problems will arise if the file transfer solution is unduly complicated. The vast majority of workers who will utilize these resources will not be IT professionals, and many will have relatively little experience with technical matters. They will also typically feel comfortable with their existing processes, and will not be disposed to embrace new solutions. These factors, when combined with a complex file transfer option, will likely result in a low adoption rate among employees, and once again corporate data will be put at risk of exposure, loss or theft.

Users' tools
To avoid this complication, it is imperative that businesses seek out secure file transfer solutions that are not only reliable, but also designed with the end-users in mind.  These resources must combine high-quality security with ease of use and efficiency. Workers should not feel that they have to choose between protecting their employers' sensitive information and collaborating with one another in a simple, fast manner.

Only by selecting and deploying such a solution can firms truly achieve security for their file transfer needs.