Reports indicate that email attachments date back to the earliest origins of the internet in 1993. In the decades since, file sharing has evolved substantially, but it is still vulnerable to security shortcomings and other issues that may pose an issue for organizations.
This is true regardless of whether you use email, peer-to-peer networks, or other file transfer software to share data. Companies should pay attention to these seven common file sharing security faux pas.
1. Lack of Encryption
Encryption is one of the most powerful security tools that a company can have at its disposal. When a file is encrypted, any data that it contains is effectively scrambled so that it can only be accessed by the intended recipient.
This encodes the information and protects it from any unauthorized access. Failure to utilize encryption leaves files vulnerable to access by cyber criminals, and this could result in a major security issue such as a data breach.
2. Unverified Recipient
Another common security mistake — sending files to an unverified sender — can also have catastrophic consequences. Too often, victims of cyber crime are tricked into transmitting files to an individual who is not who they claim to be.
They may be impersonating somebody within your company, or they may be posing as a person who doesn’t exist at all. In either case, sending sensitive files to an unverified recipient is a recipe for disaster. You can verify a recipient’s identity by requesting that they complete an authentication protocol.
3. Non Secure Transmission
Unfortunately, millions of files are sent every day using non secure platforms. These platforms allow users to transmit data that’s unencrypted, unverified, and easily intercepted.
Enterprise file sharing services offer a solution to this problem by providing companies with the security protocols necessary to safely share high-value data.
You can even connect the platform for your cloud-based storage solution so that all permissions are completely centralized. This allows companies to securely control access across all platforms and content sources.
4. Potential Interception
Without a completely secure file sharing platform, data is vulnerable to potential interception from cyber criminals. In some cases, these criminals can even intercept the original transmission and replace it with a completely different file.
In this case, the new file may contain spyware or other malicious content. Files can be intercepted mid-transit if a server’s security is compromised, for example, allowing a third party to access the file. This is particularly dangerous if the file in question is not encrypted and if it contains sensitive information.
5. Lack of Data Protection
In addition to encryption, files should be protected with password credentials to further thwart unauthorized access. Failure to password-protect a file can make it susceptible to unauthorized access.
More importantly, it can make it easier for cyber criminals to exploit the contents of the file. You can further strengthen the security of a file transmission by sending a file password in a separate communication to the file link.
6. Compromised Credentials
Unfortunately, even if you protect a file with a password or with encryption, it’s possible that information can fall into the wrong hands. When this happens, if your credentials are compromised, the security of the file’s transmission will be compromised, too.
Credentials can become compromised through a number of security issues, including phishing attacks, non secure storage methods, or through previous data breaches. It’s important for businesses to protect credentials vigilantly so that they cannot be exploited.
Login credentials should also be changed intermittently in order to ensure that cyber criminals do not gain access to privileged information.
7. Unsecured Network
Finally, regardless of what security measures you may take, your file transmissions won’t be secure if they are sent via an unsecured network. This type of internet network is common in public places where multiple users can connect to a shared WiFi network.
Although a network like this may be convenient, it’s not optimal for security, and it could even allow other users to access file transmissions. You can workaround these issues by using a virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts your traffic.
You can also look for a network that’s private and secure in order to minimize the chances that file transmissions can be intercepted.
There are a litany of security threats that companies must stay on top of when sending sensitive files. Failure to pay attention to these issues can result in costly compromises such as data breaches and violations of customers’ privacy.