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Why Email and EFSS are Unsecure

Greg Mooney| August 16 2019

| security

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) has been the standard bearer for sending or moving files too large for email. Today, those file transfers contain the lifeblood of an organization and so Secure FTP is now critical.

Are your users securely using FTP to share and transfer information between themselves, customers, and partners? Or are folks using a combination of inconsistent and potentially unsound methods, including email and flash drives, as well as commodity shares like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox?

If so, IT can take back control of secure file management and add a level of data protection if it can provide users an intuitive, easy to use Secure FTP solution.

Email and Flash Drives are Not Secure

Ask anyone who works in IT, and they’ll tell you that email can be a security liability. Consider the risks when users send files through their personal email accounts as a matter of convenience.

For instance, email is not encrypted on its own, which leads to a higher chance that data sent through email will be intercepted by a third party. Email, unlike FTP is also difficult to manage and proliferates unrestrained. Have you ever tried to unsnarl a traffic jam on your Exchange server because your users are sending huge files? How do you control what happens after they are sent?

Related Article: Just What is Managed File Transfer?

If email is considered dangerous, then let’s consider our old friend, the flash drive. Does anyone still use these little security nightmares to transfer data and files?

Commodity EFSS, IT's Nemesis

Due to your concerns around email, you’ve probably implemented safeguards to avoid the use of email for transferring large and/or sensitive files. The problem with this is that most end users will try to cut corners and opt to use their personal Dropbox or Google Drive rather than a Secure FTP solution.

Commodity file services like Google Drive are OK for sending large files from one location to another, but there is an inherent problem with using a service that isn’t hosted and managed within your own network. IT doesn’t have control of potentially sensitive data resting in the cloud or wherever that data ends up.

Consider a single Google Doc shared amongst a dozen people. Say about one-third of these folks left your company in the past year. Chances are that they still have access to that Google Doc because unlike with Secure FTP, you cannot shut them off. Even worse, users can be logged onto these services from multiple devices at once, doubling or tripling the risk factor. Not to mention that commodity shares are also a big target for hackers.

FTP - More Relevant Than Ever

The risk of moving and storing files is greater than ever and the best FTP for your organization is dependent on the data protection requirements as determined by your industry, partners, customers, and environment. Most likely, a Secure FTP Server is a great solution – the exact type and configuration should be based upon the above requirements.

Topics: security

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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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