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When it comes to maintaining data security throughout your organization, careful consideration must be made to the solution you adopt as your cloud storage for business. According to a recent Digital Shadows report, 12,000 terabytes of sensitive data is currently visible on the open web. This includes files such as tax returns, employee pay stubs, salary information, healthcare data and even internal security assessment documents.
The vulnerability of data becoming exposed and compromised is a global issue targeting a myriad of companies throughout various industries. All organizations need to take preemptive measures regarding the safety of their files and stored information. Businesses must focus their attention on how they are backing up, housing and sharing both internal documents and customer information to protect themselves from an attack on their intellectual property. The first step is understanding just how much sensitive information is easily accessible.
Consider these findings:
- 239,607,590 files are exposed in the United States alone.
- 14,687 internal contact lists are publicly available.
- 2,205,350 DICOM files containing personal patient health information (e.g. body scans) are already exposed.
Product designs, patent applications and proprietary source code are also among the most private files easily found by unauthorized individuals. This is because many companies gathering this information are not properly storing it with secure file transfer solutions. Contrary to the belief that malicious, anonymous hackers are at the root of all data breaches and cyber attacks, contractors, consultants and other third parties related to the business in some way are actually among the top sources responsible for exposing sensitive company data. In fact, Forrester Research reported 36 percent of company data breaches occur due to an unintentional or careless misuse of data by its employees.
Whether intentional or not, a lapse or inconsistence in an organization’s security measures can result in proprietary information being easily leaked and accessed by outside users. This is especially true for many of today’s workplaces, which allow employees and contractors to take their work home or complete projects in a remote environment. While a large percentage of companies already use some type of cloud storage for business to keep files readily accessible to team members, not all are choosing the right secure FTP sites to ensure their sensitive user data and files are truly safeguarded from outside attacks.
Selecting secure file transfer solutions is an important step to help mitigate the risk of data exposure. While many organizations already use cloud storage for business to back and share up their resources as a precautionary measure to not lose documents, they may inadvertently make this information public by not using a truly secure option. Failing to choose a secure file-sharing system, and enforcing its usage throughout the entire company, can be costly and devastating to the health of any business.
There are several key security features your team's decision-makers should look out for when reviewing and assessing secure FTP sites. These include:
- Authentication: Requiring a password to access secure files and disabling guest access on specific documents. Setting custom password rules requires users to come up with secure, complex passwords based on guidelines you set.
- Permissions: Allowing an unlimited number of permission scenarios. This grants the organization power to determine exactly who can read, write and delete each specific file.
- Protection: Enabling brute-force protection locks users out of their account after a certain amount of failed login attempts.
- Encryption: Securing data at rest and in transit to keep information locked and safe, no matter what physical location permitted users and their authorized devices are in. This can include allowing usage of a GPG key that renders files unreadable until they are decrypted using your GPG private key.
- Monitoring: Logging detailed information about all actions taken on a file or folder and receiving alerts any time a file is added.
Additional features, such as the ability to set expiration dates and times to your stored files, locking folders to prevent them from being moved or modified, forcing users to log in again if their IP addresses change, disabling the ability for individuals to reset their own passwords and managing SSL certificates are very much encouraged.
The reality is, with the ability to search for and access 1.5 billion business and consumer files at the click of a mouse or tap of a screen, your business’ security — and the privacy of individual employees and contacts — is on the line every day. If you are concerned about the vast amount of sensitive data that can be accessed by the public, consider trying out an ultra-secure file storage and sharing solution today.
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