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BYOD beware: Why employee file sharing is risking your business’ online security

This guest blog is by Shawn Freeman, president of TWT Group, an IT services company based in Calgary, Alberta. For more information on TWT Group, check out their blog.

As the workforce has evolved over the last ten years, we’ve watched our employees go mobile. Most of our people have a smartphone and even a tablet — or two — at home. As businesses, we benefit from bring your own device (BYOD) policies because it means we don’t have to purchase new gadgets for our staff; they just set up Outlook on their personal phones and we start collaborating. Employees don’t have to lug around two iPhones. We don’t fork out money for new gadgets. We pay for extra bandwidth and everyone’s happy.

Here’s the problem with BYOD in two simple questions:

  1. Are your employees using programs like Dropbox? Probably.
  2. Is that a secure option? Not very much.

Your staff probably don’t have bad intentions; maybe the file they want to send is too big for email. Maybe they just like the convenience of DropBox, such as the ability to add multiple users to one folder.

We call this rogue file sharing.

Why is rogue file sharing a problem?

Because your staff are using their own devices, you have no say on how those documents are shared. They may hold onto them after quitting or share them with the competition. Someone else may be the co-owner of the device they use at home, increasing the risk of business files getting mixed in with personal files.

Even more, if one person starts rogue file sharing, the whole company will do it too. Now you’ve got a much bigger security problem to deal with.

This is just a tip of the iceberg. It gets worse if your employee forgets his or her password. As the boss, can’t do anything about it — especially if that person doesn’t work for you anymore.

Passwords are a big security challenge for businesses. (We created an eBook and password toolkit to help businesses stay on top of their security.) It’s important that you have the ability to reset passwords regularly and in the event of a security breach. But if your staff member is using his or her personal Dropbox account to upload and download company files, you’ve lost control.

If his or her device is hacked, your files are at risk. You have no way of remotely resetting the password and cutting off access. Your confidential files are now public and you can’t do a thing about it.

SecuriSync for secure file sharing

Being able to share files quickly and easily is important to clients, many of whom ask us for a recommendation. We recommend a program like SecuriSync, which works with the BYOD policy, but includes security mechanisms that ensure you’re always in control. You can install it across many devices, including your PC, smartphone and tablet. Permissions can be changed, updated or revoked completely at any time. If a staff member accidentally deletes a file, there’s a backup. Remote wipe capabilities mean you can clear the files from a device if the need arises.

It’s easy to navigate, affordable and comes with huge amounts of storage. You have the option to share files within your company and with external partners. As the administrator, you can also control which content that gets shared externally.

Choosing a program like SecuriSync will reign in the use of Dropbox among your staff. It’s just as easy to use and your staff will quickly realize how easy it is for them to collaborate among teams. SecuriSync integrates directly with programs like Outlook and Microsoft Office. You’ll relax knowing all your files are backed up and you can access them at home, on the road and on your mobile device.

 

About Shawn Freeman

Shawn Freeman is an entrepreneur, personable geek and founder of IT services company TWT Group.