Solving information security problems with managed file transfer and employee awareness

     

lightwellcloudsecurityIn the wake of the record-breaking leak of 1.2 billion user names and passwords by a Russian hacking gang, information security concern is at an all-time high. Every member of the enterprise, from the C-suite to the mailroom, has to be on high alert about the many ways in which corporate information can be compromised and sensitive data can be exploited. Cybercriminals continue to refine and improve their methods, targeting organizations in large supply chains and high-risk industries especially for the potential vulnerabilities that may lie undiagnosed within their expansive networks. 

As information moves between business partners, and even within a single enterprise, it is at risk for being swiped or corrupted while in transit. It's critical that companies avoid this, as well as the many compliance, archival and bottom-line concerns that can stem from any issue. The file transfer protocols that were developed years ago to facilitate information on the move are sorely outmoded for dealing not only with today's most hazardous threats, but the types of information in transit and the speed at which it needs to move. Large files, a multitude of file formats and expedited big data transfers all put pressure on legacy protocols.

Companies need a multi-faceted approach to information security. There are a variety of considerations that go into a fully fledged information security framework, but most fall into two categories - people and technology. Users need to be educated and made aware about risky behavior when it comes to data, while organizations need to do their part by investing in applications that actually work. A managed file transfer solution offers the type of modern - and future-looking - support necessary to facilitate large-scale, rapid information in motion. Not only does it provide a better foundation for information security, but it leads to improved organizational conduct and user behavior as well. 

Putting users in the driver's seat
It's almost impossible to overstate the issues that insider threats present to information security. Even in recent years, a lack of awareness could be said to be the main problem - for many business users, it just didn't seem like security issues were pertinent at such an individual level. As too many companies have learned, however, it only takes one user to lead to a compromised application or corporate network. Now, awareness is fairly widespread, but education is still an issue. As the Financial Times contributor Steve Durbin asserted, organizations have to do a better job instructing employees in security best practices, ensuring that they understand the potential pitfalls and developing information protection initiatives that resonate with personnel. 

Companies also need to hold employees accountable. Instruction about protective initiatives should be proactive and hands-on, while adherence to security policies should be baked in to performance reviews and employee evaluations. It's not enough simply to send personnel a document instructing them on best practices - the approach needs to be implemented and enforced. This is true for all personnel, from low-level employees to executive leaders, who are notorious for eschewing some of the policies that govern the rest of the staff. It only takes one accidentally downloaded attachment or one connection to a public Wi-Fi connection to trigger a data breach. Changing user behavior is a vital step toward comprehensive information security, and it's important that organizations make it a priority.

Managed file transfer is the right tool for the job
On the other side of the equation, all the user awareness in the world won't make a difference if company system and network tools aren't up to the task. Investing in the right applications is imperative, and managed file transfer is an essential part of a next-gen protective framework. The benefits of managed file transfer include:

  • Handles a wider diversity of file formats: With so many different file types for the multimedia and data sets organizations exchange, they can run the risk of sending information that is incompatible or easily corrupted as it moves from one computer to another. A managed file transfer system ensures that files can be accurately transferred and securely opened in any environment.
  • Heightens visibility: File transfer protocols can leave blind spots as information travels, which make it easier for hackers to redirect file movement or perform man-in-the-middle attacks that steal information without leaving a trace. The end-to-end monitoring tools a managed file transfer solution offers increase information visibility and prevent the blind vulnerabilities that can lead to exploitation.
  • Upholds compliance requirements: Compliance is an increasingly difficult minefield to navigate, especially in high-pressure industries such as finance and healthcare. A managed file transfer solution offers security and control of data in transit, as well as customizable features, which enable organizations to align their protocols with compliance policies at eliminate the risks. 

Overall, organizations need a multi-pronged focus in the ongoing effort to defeat agents of information compromise. By educating employees and giving them the tools to succeed, companies can take a bold stand against today's most nefarious information security threats.

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