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The Risks of Unsecured File Sharing

Holly Condon October 1, 2021

The Risks of Unsecured File Sharing
Document Management
Believe it or not, the biggest threat facing your business isn’t hackers and malicious software—it’s human negligence from within.

Data leakage and loss from unsecured file sharing and other collaboration processes is every bit as dangerous as any cyber-attack. But the ability to share and edit electronic files is an essential part of most businesses’ day-to-day operations.

How do you assure safe file sharing?

How unsecured file sharing leaves you vulnerable to data leaks

Collaborating and file sharing without a strong data governance strategy in place may leave your company susceptible to data-leakage and non-compliance. Here are some of the common workplace practices that cybersecurity experts consider extremely risky:

  • Sending unencrypted emails
  • Failing to securely delete confidential files
  • Accidentally forwarding files to the wrong people
  • Using personal apps and devices for sending and receiving files
  • Having confidential data stored across multiple systems and locations
  • Connecting to unsecured wireless networks
  • Downloading files through peer-to-peer sharing networks

Making matters worse is the fact that many IT departments often lose track over the way digital information is shared within and beyond the organization.

Why you need a strict file-sharing policy

Although there’s no substitute for training your staff to better identify the threats your company faces, your business will stand a far better chance of keeping control over matters if it has the right security policies in place.

Your information-sharing policy should clearly state the procedures for sending and storing confidential data across both in-house and cloud-hosted resources.

The biggest challenge with securing your file-sharing procedures is gaining complete visibility into the flow of data. If, for example, you’re using a wide variety of different apps and services to share information, it’s going to be harder to keep track of everything.

That’s why your security policies should clearly state which apps and services employees are allowed to use in the workplace. It’s also imperative that your IT department can access, manage, and control all data that belongs to your business, regardless of where it physically resides.

Finally, you’ll need to conduct regular security assessments to ensure that your rules are being enforced and to expose any potential vulnerabilities that have occurred since the last time you reviewed and updated your policy.

How document management resolves file-sharing issues

When it comes to sharing information, people tend to opt for the quickest, easiest or most familiar method, whether that’s sending a file over an instant messaging app, emailing an attachment, or manually exchanging files using a flash drive.

It shouldn’t be difficult to see why this presents a problem when it comes to sharing confidential information. After all, it’s much harder to keep track of the flow of data when you’re using countless different systems and there’s no proper sharing protocol in place.

The enforcement of any cybersecurity strategy starts with having complete visibility into your data, whether it’s in storage or in transit.

The easiest way to achieve this is by consolidating everything under one system that everyone in your organization can access provided they have the right authorization. That’s where implementing a modern document management system (DMS) comes in.

A DMS consolidates all the digital data belonging to your business under a single platform in which administrators can apply universal security and access control from a centralized, web-based dashboard.

Organizations like universities, where students, faculty, and administrators have varying levels of access privileges, can benefit greatly from this solution. (See Washington Lee University.)

This strategy also helps simplify and streamline workflows by negating the need for manual data entry or data entry into multiple systems. In other words, it effectively renders file-sharing obsolete, since all the documents and data your employees need to do their jobs will be accessible through one web-based platform.

If you’re looking for a way to get a handle on security and eliminate risky business processes, PairSoft offers a complete document management solution that’s protected with data prevention tools and strong user authentication controls. Call us today to find out more!

Holly Condon

With over 25 years' experience in the SaaS space, Holly brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the table. She previously held leadership roles at PairSoft's subsidiary PaperSave and resides in South Carolina with her family.

View all posts by Holly Condon
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