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Peer-to-Peer File Sharing: How to Protect Your Sensitive Data

Greg Mooney| March 27 2019

| security, MOVEit

peer-to-peer-file-sharing-how-to-protect-your-sensitive-data

Efficient collaboration and peer-to-peer file sharing are important for any job, but you don't want to do it in a way that leaves data unprotected.

If you and others at your company share files via email and online services—such as Dropbox, Google One and OneDrive—your sensitive data is at risk. You may be violating compliance regulations and opening the door to cybercriminals. You could also mishandle sensitive data associated with employees, customers, and partners.

Make a big enough mistake in handling a confidential file, and you could even lose your job! Here are a few examples of how end users often mishandle sensitive documents:

  • Marketing wants to share a Salesforce customer database with partners; they set up a Dropbox site, upload Excel spreadsheets, and give links to partners so they can download the information via email.
  • The finance team needs vendor bank information for paying invoices using wire transfers; they ask vendors to send emails with all bank account and routing numbers.
  • Human resources conduct credit checks on job candidates and ask them to email social security numbers and other private information.
  • Sales are about to close on a big new account, and the team needs to hammer out the contract details; during a group conference call, the contract is uploaded to Google One so that everyone can discuss.

All of these scenarios—and many others just like them—represent important workflows that need to occur every day. Workflows like these are how business gets done and are necessary for the collaboration that needs to take place among internal and external end users.

But each scenario also drives IT security teams crazy—they’re glaring examples of poor data security practices and potential compliance violations. Every time a file is uploaded via email or an online file-sharing service, there’s the possibility that sensitive data will fall into the wrong hands. And if the auditors of a regulatory body—such as HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA or SOX—discover information is shared in this manner, stiff compliance fines could ensue.

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Managed File Transfer: The Safe Alternative

So how can your company strike the right balance—with tools and technology that make collaboration seamless—and without side-stepping data security?

Consider a Managed File Transfer solution. MFT consolidates and secures all data-transfer activities into to one system to enable better control over any files that are shared. A key security measure applied by MFT technology is the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), which adds secure shell (SSH) and secure sockets layer (SSL) capabilities.

MFT makes it possible to encrypt data and validate which end users can gain access. By tracking all file activity and guaranteeing secure document delivery, MFT solutions also ensure operational compliance with internal governance and regulatory requirements.

Another valuable feature is that IT can preconfigure workflow automation capabilities without scripting. This allows an MFT solution to function a lot like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive site, which accelerates the rollout of new projects and the onboarding of end users.

MOVEit: Trusted by Thousands for Secure File Transfers

If you’re not yet using an MFT solution, consider the experiences of the thousands of organizations around the world that have turned to MOVEit from Ipswitch.

Managed File Transfer Automation

MOVEit makes it easy for companies to set up file transfer policies that adhere to both internal security requirements and external compliance regulations. The solution also provides complete visibility and control over file transfer activities so IT teams can assure the reliability of core business processes and the secure transfer of sensitive data.

If you have data that needs to be strictly controlled, MOVEit can make it possible for your end users to securely share a large number of sensitive files—such as health, credit card, financial and personal information as well as trade secrets, customer lists, SLAs, and other proprietary company information.

The solution ensures safe and compliant file transfers by automating advanced security, compliance and auditing capabilities:

  • Non-repudiation proves who uploads and downloads specific files, and whether uploaded and downloaded files are identical.
  • Encryption applies the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1) approved by the U.S. government to protect data in motion and at rest.
  • Access control provides the ability to define specific users and user groups (both internal and external) that can access files based on their roles.
  • Reporting streamlines compliance audit preparation with automated reporting of tasks, workflows and file transfer activities.
  • Governance tracks activities to ensure operational reliability and compliance with SLAs as well as internal governance and regulatory requirements.

The simple automation tools and an intuitive, web-based interface that MOVEit features allow IT to easily set the file-sharing policies that senior management wants end users to follow. Business users can then manage their own processes—much in the same way as they do with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive—with the knowledge that shared files will always be secure.

From there, any fellow employees, customers or partners that an employee needs to collaborate with can on-board themselves. This relieves IT of repetitive admin tasks as there’s no set-up each time an employee needs to share a file—the members of their collaboration group for a particular task can just do it on their own.

Increased Secure Collaboration = More Business Gets Done

Email and consumer-grade online file-sharing services like Dropbox, Google One and OneDrive simply don’t provide the level of security that businesses handling sensitive data require. What’s needed is a Managed File Transfer solution, like MOVEit, that secures data with end-to-end encryption—in transit and at rest—along with access controls and audit trails that allow you to manage exactly who is allowed to view and transfer sensitive data.

MOVEit also removes bottlenecks by letting employees create their own secure shared folders. At the same time, IT keeps full control—with granular permissions and tamper-evident audit logs that create full visibility into all file transfer activities.

The simple drag-and-drop file transfers that MOVEit facilitates will increase the collaboration that occurs internally among your employees, and externally with your customers and partners. And that will lead to more business getting done!

Learn more about MOVEit

Topics: security, MOVEit

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY Greg Mooney

Greg is a technologist and data geek with over 10 years in tech. He has worked in a variety of industries as an IT manager and software tester. Greg is an avid writer on everything IT related, from cyber security to troubleshooting.

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