The number of new security threats and issues tied to trends such as mobile access, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and collaboration seem to be in the news every other week – and likely will not have gone by unnoticed.
It’s no longer standard practice that organisations operate in one geographic location or use one dedicated bank of servers; global collaboration is a regular part of any business. Despite the huge benefits of this worldwide connectivity, an unfortunate result is that increased numbers of access points are vulnerable to cybercriminals or data leaks, therefore creating a greater security challenge. Businesses are understandably concerned: a recent research report by the Information Security community on LinkedIn revealed that 57 percent of organisations are fearful of greater unauthorised network and device access as the workplace become more mobile-enabled. I suspect the other 43 percent of the organisations are thinking they can just ignore the mobile-enabled demands of their users or they should be fearful as well.
Although the challenge itself is larger, actually securing data whilst enabling a flexible approach to work doesn’t need to be difficult. A good rule of thumb is if you can control the access points to your data, you can find a way to secure it.
For IT departments, one of the greater challenges is being able to constantly monitor where files are and who has sent or received them. There is an element of trust that needs to be placed with employees and collaborators, but it’s also the responsibility of the IT department to offer suitable tools that make safe and simple sharing.
These are my three tips to securing your vulnerabilities and access points whilst enabling collaboration :
- Consider using a file sharing tool
In any collaborative project, it’s inevitable that files and data will need to be sent and shared. However, one of the most dangerous things employees can do is send confidential information over unsecured email. At its most basic level, secure file sharing tools can bring security, order, structure and visibility to any organisation. Having an easy way to share files safely – which is what an on-premises file sharing technology provides – is critical to securing the endpoints and working collaboratively. Assuming staff follow company policy, either or both of these solutions will put the responsibility of data security in the hands of the people who know how to secure it, the IT department. Provide this solution for your users or they will find their own and it will not work out well for any of you.
- Look for a solution that enables a safe environment to collaborate
The continued demand within businesses to share and collaborate drives innovation. We’re increasingly seeing organisations invest in the latest gateway technology. The latest tools make collaboration easy and safe, by not removing data from the ‘home enterprise,’ instead brokering a secure connection between an external and internal collaborator. This means data is kept inside a secured environment, whilst making it available to share with trusted collaborators. It should provide the versatility of consumer alternatives but without the unknown question of who’s looking after your data.
- Carry out training for all staff and parties collaborating and sharing data
Today’s cybercriminals like to look for the easy option, targeting errors and looking for vulnerabilities and backdoors on your network. Having the tools available to safely collaborate and share data is of no use if your employees utilise unsafe and unapproved consumer file sharing alternatives. Making sure your staff are properly trained and understand potential threats is critical. Failing to ensure ‘best practices’ where data and files are shared and secured properly will not only risk theft but could put an organisation out of compliance with key regulations like the Data Protection Act.
Partnerships between internal and external collaborators are a major part of business. Everything needs to be fast, efficient, shareable, and ultimately safe. Ignoring trends such as BYOD isn’t really an option anymore. Following these three steps will not only help to take advantage of all the great benefits of BYOD and collaboration without creating additional security risks.[su_box title=”James L. Bindseil, President and CEO, Globalscape” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]San Antonio, Texas-based GlobalSCAPE, Inc. (NYSE MKT: GSB) ensures the reliability of mission-critical operations by securing sensitive data and intellectual property. Globalscape’s suite of solutions features the EFT platform, the industry-leading enterprise file transfer solution that delivers military-grade security and a customizable platform for achieving best-in-class control and visibility of data in motion or at rest, across multiple locations.Founded in 1996, Globalscape is a leading enterprise solution provider of secure information exchange software and services to thousands of customers, including global enterprises, governments, and small businesses.[/su_box]