File sharing services continue to cause security headaches

by , July 28, 2014

A recent article from SC Magazine titled “File sharing programs cause data leaks, security headaches” continues to underline the ongoing struggle that businesses have with daily file sharing. The interesting statistic in this article is the divide between the upper management (VP or higher) and the employees of these businesses. Only 25% of employees trust online file sharing services, while almost half of the upper management gives thumbs up to those services. Here are some factors that in my opinion cause this divide:

  • Cost. The upper management has to pay for any new IT initiatives. Many managers would like to have a proper formal file transfer and sharing software, but none of them would like to see the costs for this type of software to come out of their budget. Many businesses choose file transfer solutions as an infrastructure enterprise-wide project.
  • Lack of deeper understanding of the daily workflow and a proper risk assessment of the materials being transferred. Only the people directly involved with the file transfer tasks know exactly what is being transferred. These same people are also intimately familiar with who receives the data, as well as when and how (the data “workflow”). Upper management is often removed from these daily tasks and are not necessarily aware of the importance of the files being sent.
  • Social reasons. Many upper managers are known publicly and are used to seeing their name and photos appear on various websites and in printed publications. By virtue of having much more of their lives exposed publicly, managers are not as concerned about their own privacy. In contrast, employees usually lead much more private lives and have a lower tolerance for what information and data about them is publicly available. This usually leads to higher standards in privacy from the part of the employees.

In conclusion, the business community is still very divided on the free file sharing service and will remain so for the foreseeable future. As more businesses are going completely digital and bandwidth capacity is increasing, the demand for file transfer software will continue to grow. I can see demand for both in-house and service-based file transfer software continuing to grow for years to come.

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