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What’s Lurking in the Financial Industry IT Shadows?

The financial industry is diverse, from consumer banking to merchant banking, to credit unions to credit card companies, or even stock brokerages and insurance companies. At the same time, the finance industry faces strict compliance regulations that must be adhered to in every day transactions and processes.

IT professionals operating in the finance industry know this, understand this, and work hard to manage the many checks and balances required to maintain compliance. For many IT departments, they face the challenge of how to mitigate the risk that accompanies the use of unsanctioned online file sharing applications. This challenge is part of a broader issue known as shadow IT, where employees knowingly or unknowingly use technologies outside the scope of IT.

Online file sharing solutions have become popular to use for many employees, because they feel empowered with these tools to connect and collaborate with business partners and/or clients using the speed and convenience of user-friendly, browser-based applications, sending and receiving files at a moment's notice. Financial services firms must cater to the needs of their investors and clients; however, these organizations must also remain aligned with the broader mission of consumer data protection.

83 percent of Global CIOs surveyed experienced some level of unauthorized provisioning of cloud services, otherwise known as “shadow IT.” (Brocade Global CIO Survey)

Employees are Often the Weakest Link

Unfortunately, employees are often unaware of how to protect data in transit, or even that they should, and their organizations—that do not officially approve of online file-sharing solutions—face challenges trying to improve the situation. Given the strict compliance regulations that companies within the finance industry manage, shadow IT can expose a multitude of security vulnerabilities and ultimately lead to damaging and expensive fallout of noncompliance.

A survey from Soonr showed that:

  • Fewer than 22% of employees are aware of any company-approved file-sharing system in their workplace.
  • 67% of organizations that have an approved file-sharing service have trouble keeping these systems up to date and fully compliant with industry or government regulations.
  • 33% of respondents said securing data was a top challenge, compared to only 9 percent last year.

According to a recent article from Mobile Enterprise, the growth of remote file sharing patterns, development of the digital threat matrix, and a lack of employee security awareness have increased risk, leaving organizations exposed to hazards in more ways than ever before. It's up to business leaders to reclaim their file sharing footprints with stronger solutions and improvements to their employee education outlooks, or else face the consequences of lost clients, regulatory fines, and a loss of consumer confidence in the business.

Regain Control

To keep employee file-sharing behaviors under control, companies need to seek a dedicated and approved solution that allows employees to share files between internal and external partners, without sacrificing control, visibility, and governance. Globalscape created EFT Workspaces™ file-sharing solution to do just that, offering a centralized control platform from which administrators can create secure workflows, grant or deny access authority, and track each file to and from its destination—all without sacrificing a shred of convenience or productivity for end users.

Workspaces is an on-premises solution that installs in your trusted network, with your own storage and network protections. IT staff can now deny access to cloud-based file sharing services within their organization, because they have provided a safe alternative to their internal customers.

Financial Services Resources

Manually transferring one, two, or three files is easy. Now consider manually transferring one hundred, two hundred thousand, or three million files. And even when the volume of transferred files isn’t large, the number of steps an IT administrator may need to take to accomplish multiple file transfers daily can be very time consuming.

Ad hoc file transfer solutions often force you to find workarounds to manage your data workflows and processes. Those who try to find workarounds like manual processes or programming with scripts often find themselves facing added challenges and limitations that could affect reliability or accuracy.

Read our success story, “Over 2 Million Files Securely Transferred for Global Financial Services Company” to learn how one finance company with assets valued at over $10 billion USD moved away from their legacy system to Globalscape’s EFT Enterprise with High Availability in Active-Active Clustering.