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Do you have a handle on information sharing among your team, and those outside your organization? In an effort to boost productivity, or improve efficiencies, employees often use unauthorized workarounds or cloud-based apps to share and exchange files. This is known as “shadow IT,” and it typically skirts under the radar at most companies, falling outside of established protocols.

Shadow IT can expose your systems to data loss, malicious actors, or potential compliance violations. So how can your team share documents without compromising your systems? 

In this post, we’ll look at the three most common file sharing methods and best practices for reducing the risks.

1. Emailing Files

This is the most common method. For years, users have transferred sensitive data via email to the dismay of most IT professionals and compliance officers! Your information could be blocked by the recipient’s IT department, end up in a spam folder, or even risk being forwarded to unauthorized recipients.

Best Practice: Establish and reinforce policies regarding file sharing. Provide alternatives to email and minimize risks by teaching your employees about phishing scams and how to avoid them.

2. File Sharing Software

When email isn’t an option, employees may turn to file-sharing software. Not all programs offer robust protection, but there are reputable programs, like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others. However, even reputable platforms can put you at risk. One of the biggest is mistakenly giving access to entire folders and subfolders, rather than a single document.

Best Practice: Make sure software is user-friendly as a means to dissuade users from finding workarounds. Require passwords or encryption for confidential information and properly train employees how to save and share files.

3. Sharing Through Social Media

Today, many companies allow or even encourage the use of social media. Some use these platforms to communicate and share information, proposals, or other documents. If you’ve ever had an acquaintance get hacked, or have a fake account set up then you know the risks. Like phishing, all it takes is one click and your entire network can be compromised.

Best Practice: Establish a clear social media policy outlining acceptable practices and prohibit the sharing of business documents on social media. Educate employees and communicate the consequences of violating policies.

Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free technology assessment. We’ll point out gaps in your document-sharing policies and offer suggestions to make them more secure.

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