File-sharing workarounds put sensitive data at risk

Enterprise workflows require employees to share information and collaborate on projects, but the popularity of personal technology is making it difficult for CSOs to keep data secure.

A wave of security breaches in the last few years points to the growing danger—and high stakes—of information theft. Tools that work well for consumer purposes are often not suited to corporate needs, particularly as far as security is concerned, even if employees are eager to use these resources. Therefore, it's imperative for organizations to implement secure file sharing solutions that employees will be comfortable using.

According to recent reports, an astounding number of employees admit to using tools such as USB drives, unencrypted email attachments, Google Drive, and Dropbox to store and send company information. These habits infiltrate industries even where the highest levels of security are paramount: Healthcare providers and the military are among the organizations that have reported breaches due to poor file-sharing practices. For example, the military reported a massive breach in 2008 when a malicious code was installed on a flash drive, exposing operational plans and other extremely confidential information.

With the expansion of mobile device usage for corporate activities, it's increasingly difficult for IT teams to maintain control over information security. According to Tech Insurance, an insurance provider that specializes in providing IT insurance, breaches commonly occur when employees fail to adhere to security best practices or misplace portable devices containing unencrypted information. While organizations might have secure programs in place for their corporate network, employees often put information at risk if these services are complicated or incompatible with their mobile devices.

File-sharing workarounds like memory sticks and cloud services appeal to employees because they're convenient and familiar. The growing degree of cybercrime demonstrates that these shortcuts are not safe options for enterprises. To deter employees from using them, CSOs can provide secure file sharing services that are equally intuitive and accessible across devices.