How To Avoid An Enterprise File Sharing Nightmare

Posted by Ankur Panchbudhe on May 26 2015

How To Avoid An Enterprise File Sharing NightmareImagine this enterprise file sharing dilemma: An employee, tired of being slowed down by sharing files through a corporate FTP server, creates a Dropbox account and uploads documents he’ll need to access later. 

His company supports a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment and flexible office hours, so the next day he’s working from a coffee shop and uses his personal laptop on an open Wi-Fi network. He downloads those files from Dropbox to his personal machine and emails them to a client as an attachment.

Unbeknownst to him, in a corner of the same cafe, someone is monitoring the network traffic, surreptitiously vacuuming up all the private data being sent across the network.

What if those files he sent contained trade secrets, confidential material, personal information or other proprietary data? If the files fell into the wrong hands, that data could be stolen, leaked or otherwise exploited by nefarious operators. What if that triggered a HIPAA infraction or another regulatory violation?

While many secure file sharing best practices were ignored in the above scenario, let’s focus on the core of what went wrong: A corporate employee used a consumer-grade file sync and share solution to access company data from his personal device, exposing the files to vulnerabilities as he accessed and shared them through an unsecure network.

Let there be no mistake: Dropbox is a powerful tool that helps people store and share information. More than 300 million individual users and businesses worldwide count on Dropbox to sync, share and save 1 billion files every day.

But neither Dropbox nor Dropbox for Business is the ideal solution for enterprise clients needing a secure file sharing solution that offers comprehensive, end-to-end file security and control. 

Control Is Distinct From Security

Yes, encryption of data in use, at rest and in motion is one form of secure access control, but it’s not the only one. Dropbox offers limited security, and even less control over enterprise file sharing.

Executives at many small- and medium-sized businesses have much to gain from more control over their information. 

With access control features such as digital rights management (DRM) and mobile content management (MCM), IT departments are able to define granular access control protocols over their information.

For example, let’s say you’re working with a third party and need to share a document. While this document could be relevant today, or even this week, it might not be the kind of information you’d want to stay available forever.

By using a file sharing system with robust MCM and DRM features, IT teams can define access rights to company information based on a number of parameters, including how long a secure link is active, how many times a file may be accessed, who may access it and what may be done with it. 

For instance, lets say someone on your team sends a proposal to a client. By using a secure link, you retain control of how many times that link may be opened and what may be done with the data once it’s accessed. If you want, you could restrict copy/paste privileges, disable the option to print or forward the information and even control access down to a particular IP address range or geographic location.

You’re not going to get that level of granular control with Dropbox.

Learn more about secure enterprise file sharing by reading our free report, 5 Warnings You Should Heed When Searching For Dropbox Alternatives.

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