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The Confident SMB

Survey Reveals File Sharing Creating Risks for SMBs

Created: 22 Jun 2012
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Our new Symantec 2012 SMB File Sharing poll found that as online file sharing becomes increasingly common as a business practice, many SMBs are more at risk of data loss and security threats.  As SMB employees increasingly need to share files more quickly and efficiently – while at the same time those files increase in size – SMB employees are adopting unmanaged, personal-use online file sharing solutions without permission from IT. 

In response to some of the recent data from our survey, we’ve put together some best practices that can help your organization keep proprietary and confidential information safe: 

  • Centralize file storage and management with a secure web-based system accessible regardless of device or location to protect data outside the office walls: Not surprisingly, our survey showed that the number of employees working from home and/or remotely has gradually increased over the past three years, and the number is projected to increase.  Employees should be able to use a solution that allows them to access and share files from any device or location to mitigate the chances they will use unauthorized solutions.
  • Implement access controls and permissions to keep private files safe and separate from work content: Our survey found that the lack of policy enforcement also enhances risks for many respondents as more than one-fifth (22 percent) of respondents have not implemented policies restricting how employees can access and share files.  Developing and maintaining a simple policy around file sharing can be a powerful step toward safe file sharing practices. 
  • Maintain oversight into how and when business files are shared: Our survey respondents indicated that if employees needed to share a large file quickly, some might search online and download a free solution and others might use a solution suggested by someone outside the organization.  By maintaining oversight, you can ensure employees know how and when to share files efficiently and securely. 
  • Implement a scalable system that can grow with the business: As you look for strategies and solutions for file sharing, think about how your business might continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. 

As file sharing behaviors continue to evolve, it will be important for SMB owners and IT managers to take these basic steps to ensure business information is safe, while at the same time your employees are able to share files without impacting productivity.  A few guidelines and a well thought out strategy will go a long way towards addressing this new trend.

How are you handling file sharing within your organization?  Is email your primary strategy?  Perhaps you utilize a shared drive?  Also, what solutions might your employees be adopting to solve file sharing problems?

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