6 Best Practices for Secure Enterprise File Transfer

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File sharing is an essential daily practice throughout the enterprise. The widespread adoption of instant messaging and collaboration tools, as well as cloud-based file sharing sites, has made the process of sharing data easier, but also less secure, than ever. BYOD, remote workers, and employees working from anywhere compound the security problem.

Organizations should prioritize secure file transfers because company files often contain sensitive, proprietary, and classified information. Beyond the standard security hygiene best practices of securing remote access, using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, and encrypting files, the market is replete with industry-leading tools and products. that help companies share files both internally and with third parties, such as partners and customers. .

Regardless of the tools, however, organizations should follow these best practices to ensure secure file transfers.

1. Train and retrain employees

It has never been more important for organizations to train their employees in secure file transfers, especially with the advent of the cloud. New easy-to-use apps allow employees to quickly share information with colleagues and third parties. Although these apps are convenient and easy to use, employees should be careful when using them to share files.

Regular training can help employees learn about potential security risks associated with file transfers. These programs don’t have to be boring or long. Interactive apps and gamification can make security awareness training competitive and fun.

2. Integrate file sharing controls into collaboration apps

Collaboration apps, such as Slack or Teams, allow employees to share files with a single click. These apps are largely developed with collaboration and efficiency in mind, and they can quickly become a security nightmare if left unmanaged. A data breach or malware attack, for example, could cause damage to an organization’s reputation and finances.

Security teams can reduce the risks associated with collaboration applications by implementing controls that prevent users from engaging in risky behaviors. For example, enterprise-level Slack allows enterprise admins to restrict file uploads.

3. Audit and act

Audit cloud storage and endpoints, especially following a security event or alert. An unauthorized user attempting to access a file or an employee accessing a file at an unusual time is an early indicator of a problem. Once security teams detect unusual behavior, they can take preventative action, such as revoking permissions or encrypting files.

4. Limit who can access what

Set controls to limit who can access which files. Not all employees need the same levels of access to all files. Access can be limited by group, role or individual. Restrict access according to the principle of least privilege, that is, allow users to access only what is necessary for their work. The actions users can perform on files can also be limited, such as who can read, write, modify, or delete data. Also, regularly review and update user access privileges.

5. Set expiration dates for files

Beyond access controls, some products allow organizations to add expiration dates to files. Google, for example, has an expiration feature for Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Security teams can then limit access to employee and third-party files based on the duration of a given project or engagement.

6. Limit physical file sharing

Limit or prohibit the use of physical storage devices, including USB drives, external hard drives, and CDs. Although the cloud has little reliance on these devices, they are still in use and are still a source of data leaks and attacks.

Security teams can prohibit employees using company-managed devices from transferring files to external storage devices. However, it is more difficult to enforce these policies with BYOD. In this case, employee training is essential to help reduce risk.

In case sharing files via a physical storage device is the only option a user has, they must encrypt the drive and/or files before sharing them.

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