4 Weak Enterprise File Security Policies And How To Strengthen Them

Posted by Anand Kekre on August 18 2015

Enterprise file security policies allow IT teams to control the “who, what, when, where and how” of file access and sharing. While it’s a lot of ground to cover, controlling and policing these policies is important considering the growing threat of data loss.How To Strengthen File Security Policies

However, IT and end users often disregard file security policies. For instance, IT might specify which users may access a sensitive file but overlook the geographic regions where file access is allowed. This oversight could compromise the file if end users travel in regions where cyber crime is common.

Without comprehensive enterprise file security policies, vulnerabilities could cause your data to be lost, leaked or stolen.

Here are four weak file security policies and how to strengthen them:

#1: File attachments are unrestricted and/or end users are controlling their own sharing ( i.e., “shadow IT”).

File sharing is the greatest enabler of data loss. But to avoid stifling productivity and usability for your end users, they need the ability to send and share files with their collaborators. End users often take file sharing into their own hands by using third-party applications such as Dropbox or Google Drive. While convenient for end users, these “shadow IT” solutions don’t provide enterprise IT the tools necessary to ensure security.

How to strengthen it: Look for an enterprise file security solution that replaces attachments with secure links, which offer greater control over how files are shared. With secure links IT is able to control how long the link is live, how many times it may be accessed, when/where access is granted and more.

#2: Over-reliance on a single enterprise file security tactic.

Relying on just one tool to provide the bulk of your enterprise file security is a weak policy, even if the tool itself is strong. Your enterprise might have the strongest mobile device management (MDM) tool on the market, but without a file security framework that encompasses digital rights management (DRM), data loss prevention (DLP), mobile content management (MCM), firewalling, antivirus, etc., your data remains vulnerable from other angles.

How to strengthen it: Implement an enterprise file security solution that integrates the aforementioned tools and tactics into a unified whole. When your data is protected on all fronts and user access can be controlled at a granular level, your enterprise data remains secure.

#3: No protection against disused vendors and departed employees.

Former employees and vendors may have copies of your data on their personal devices and services. A former insurance company broker, for example, could take your customer data (perhaps unknowingly) when going to work for a competitor.

How to strengthen it: Data containerization helps the enterprise ensure that its data stays in one place, even as it travels on employees’ personal devices or is stored on servers outside the corporate network. Strong enterprise file security platforms not only use DRM to protect company data outside the corporate network, but also offer tools that bring a next level of protection.

For instance, remote wiping enables enterprise IT to delete company information on someone’s personal device, without affecting other files on the device. Geography-based fencing, which renders files unusable based on a predefined geo location, could be used to prevent your data from surreptitiously being accessed. For example, if a former vendor works in a country known for cyber espionage, your data stays protected — even if it’s still on their laptop. Geo-fencing or IP-address-based fencing is also useful for data you want tightly restricted to your corporate network.

#4: Dated or nonexistent mobility policy and/or no control over how third-party mobile apps access company data stored on the device.

Mobility is a great threat to companies that deal with sensitive, regulated or proprietary information. However, most enterprise file security options on the market are legacy solutions, meaning they were designed and developed without an emphasis on mobility. While some solutions have been retrofitted for today’s mobile world, they’re often not good at protecting against mobile threats.

How to strengthen it: Every corporate IT department needs to define its mobility policy. For example, how will IT handle BYOD, third-party mobile apps and mobile device management? Use an enterprise file security solution built for life in the mobile era to ensure your mobility policies are strong. These mobility policies — including mobile content policies, access policies, encryptions, etc. — must be clearly defined. Educate employees on why the policies are in place and how to work effectively within them.

Learn more about how enterprise DRM enhances your information security by reading A Buyer’s Guide To Enterprise Digital Rights Management (DRM): 6 Essential Things To Consider.

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