Taking control of file-sharing services

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Content Copyright © 2015 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Many technology developments are being driven by the consumerisation of IT, whereby many new devices and services are initially developed with consumers in mind but are increasingly being preferred for work purposes. One example is online file sharing services, which were initially developed to allow users to share personal files with friends and family – especially large files such as photographs and video that are unsuited for other communica­tion mechanisms. As the use of such services grew in popularity, their use spilled over into the workplace, providing benefits for organisa­tions in terms of more efficient collaboration and increased productivity as workers could access the files they needed more easily, from any device.

At present, the use of file sharing services by organisations is still relatively immature, seen more often at a departmental or work group level than as a service that stretches across the entire organisation. The use of unsanctioned, consumer-grade file sharing services is also rife, which presents organisations with a range of security concerns, especially regarding loss of control of their most sensitive and confiden­tial data.

The White Paper discusses how file sharing services are being used and the benefits they bring, as well as the concerns that organi­sations have over their use. It then describes what factors organisations should consider when selecting and implementing an enter­prise-grade service that can assuage many of the concerns that they have, whilst allowing them to securely benefit from their use. It is intended to be read by organisations of all sizes in any industry.

Some Fast Facts from the paper

Security is a main consideration for many organisations, especially in the area of data protection and privacy. This requires that any selected service provides controls based on context regarding what data is being shared and accessed, by whom and how. Important considerations are access controls, encryp­tion, and integration with data leak preven­tion (DLP) and anti-malware controls.

Any service should provide support for a wide range of devices and operating systems, applications, file type and data sources.

Ease of use is paramount in order to encourage use and aid in productivity, with robust self-service tools provided, such as for document search and retrieval from archives. End user functionality must be superior to consumer-oriented services and ease of use at least as good in order to deter users from turning to unsanctioned services.

Efficient centralised management and admin­istration is a priority consideration, including support for policy enforcement and govern­ance, and regulatory compliance needs.

Any selected service should have wide­spread datacentre coverage, with files duplicated and stored in geographically dispersed locations that cater to jurisdic­tional requirements. Automatic failover and 100% availability are a must, with services continuously available, even in the event of an outage.

The ability for the service to send large files is essential for preventing users turning to unsanctioned consumer-oriented services.

The bottom line

The White Paper aims to provide best practice guidance for organisations regarding the safe and secure use of file sharing and storage services. Such services are already in common use among consumers and within organisa­tions, albeit in a patchy fashion or through the use of unsanctioned services. To provide the level of data protection that is required of organisations and in order for them to benefit from the opportunities that such services offer in terms of reduced cost, added conveni­ence and improved productivity, all organi­sations should take a close look at what is already happening within their walls and look to implement a service that caters to all file sharing needs across the organisation in a holistic manner.