November 5, 2018 | by Kristie Conner
Secure File Sharing & Content Collaboration for Users, IT and Security
In the recent research study conducted by Ponemon Institute, Ponemon surveyed over a thousand IT and security practitioners in North America, United Kingdom, Germany and France with the purpose of understanding file sharing and content collaboration practices in organizations and what practices they were taking and should be taking to secure data without impeding the flow of information. This has turned into the research report “Secure File Sharing & Content Collaboration for Users, IT and Security” which is a look into how 1,371 IT and Security leaders balancing the needs of users, security and managing unstructured data to meet corporate objectives.
While organizations feel that having a solution for accessing and sharing files securely, what is known in the market as content collaboration platforms, is essential for employee productivity, it was also clear that there are still concerns related to security. What was interesting is that the need for strict security is challenging digital transformation.
Seventy percent of respondents feel that digital transformation is being challenged by the need for strict security safeguards to protect the sharing and the use of data that is sensitive and critical, with 60% seeing the inability to enable free flowing and sharing of information a barrier to achieving digital transformation.
There were four key themes that emerged from the research:
- Risks in the file sharing and collaboration environment
- Governance practices and technologies used to secure sensitive data
- Features that improve the file sharing and collaboration environment
- Achieving secure file sharing & content collaboration
The risks with file sharing and collaboration
According to the research 44% of employees use file sharing and content collaborationsolutions to store, edit and share content in the normal course of business. And, 63 percent of participants in this research believe it is likely that their companies had a data breach in the last two years because of insecure file sharing and content collaboration, combined with the fact only 39% percent of respondents rate their ability to keep sensitive content secure in the file sharing and collaboration environment as high.
What is at the root of the risks? One area that was identified is the amount of unstructured data within organizations. “The plethora of unstructured data makes managing the threats to sensitive information difficult,” says Dr. Larry Ponemon. On average, 53% percent of organizations’ sensitive data is unstructured and on average based on the research results companies have 3 PB of unstructured data.
To compound the situation unstructured data is stored in multiple repositories, the most persistent is email with 23.4%, followed by data stored in shared network drives and now there is the addition of cloud-based file sharing services like Box and Dropbox. Having unstructured data distributed across the enterprise in various silos makes it challenging for organizations to not only have visibility and control, but to ensure policies are in place across all channels ensuring governance.
The data from the survey aligns to what we’ve been seeing for the last several years at Syncplicity. Organizations are struggling to manage the increasing amounts of unstructured data across different silos – as highlighted by the research and providing a way to manage and secure all the unstructured data while giving end-users easy, seamless access. Our most public success of around this is Siemens and their innovative approach to modernizing their infrastructure to power a digital workplace – that is secure and provides users with easy access to enterprise files.
Governance Practices and technologies used to secure sensitive content
The report highlights that respondents are aware of the threats to their sensitive information but admit their governance practices and technologies should be more effective. One way to keep their sensitive content safe is classifying the level of security by various attributes such as data usage; 62% of respondents highlighted data usage followed by location of users.
One way identified by the research for securing sensitive content is controlling access and training users, however, only 42% control access and only 33% of responders train users. There is a lot of opportunity here for companies to improve governance practices by using technologies like granular group-based policies for easily establishing rules for access and sharing, while also training users on best practices and how to use the technologies, with 44% of respondents are going to invest in more user training, while a step in the right direction, training users might be one of the best ways to protect a company’s assets.
One of the benefits we offer our customers is our global Customer Success Team, who can help your organization train users on how to use Syncplicity for securely sharing files and folders – how to leverage password protection and other tools that empower your users to be secure corporate citizens.
Features that improve security around file sharing and collaboration
While security is obviously a top priority, the respondents still want flexibility for their users. Which is a positive because if users enjoy their corporate solution – it makes it a lot easier to convince them to use it. A few features that these IT and security leaders identified as important, 70% agreed that the ability to securely collaborate with colleagues both inside and outside the organization and 65% cited the ability to recover previous versions files immediately.
When it comes to providing control and security, Syncplicity offers organizations options based on their unique objectives. But, one thing that sets us apart in the market is the hybrid-cloud, we give organizations the ability to keep files on-premises for maximum control, while keeping other files sensitive or not in the cloud – the real critical piece is that where the files sit does not matter to the user, they always have one simple, single way to access folder and files.
In summary, what we have learned from the research is that an effective file sharing and content collaboration platform is a balance between security and user convenience. Please join us on November 7th to get more insight from Dr. Larry Ponemon on the findings from the research report.
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