File Sharing Security Risks and How To Mitigate Them With Managed File Transfer (MFT)

File Sharing Security Risks and How To Mitigate Them With Managed File Transfer (MFT)

File Sharing Security Risks and How To Mitigate Them With Managed File Transfer (MFT)

Let's play a game. Close one eye if you feel your existing file sharing mechanisms and technologies are lacking the necessary security, control and governance angles.  

Close the other eye if you've ever gone down the path of "Shadow IT" just to try and patch up these loopholes.  

Oops, now we can't see at all. 

Shadow IT: A Thorn in the Side of Your IT Department

The concept of "Shadow IT" is not new. If you take a keen look at how your employees achieve "secure" file transfer, then you'll realize that they have been using "Shadow IT" all along.

Just to clear the air, Shadow IT refers to the use of information technology solutions or applications without the explicit approval of the IT department. In our case, it's the use of rogue or otherwise subpar file transfer solutions.

Compare shadow IT to your good ol' campus days when you used to peek at the internet just to pass a test (don't give me those eyes). You knew there were some serious risks and repercussions involved, but you did it anyway.

That's exactly what your employees do when they realize your IT stack doesn't have the secure file sharing functionalities they're looking for. They find a software that does, albeit with high stakes involved.

Shadow IT scenarios present a myriad of compliance, security and control issues that could put your company in hot water. Think we're kidding? Maybe these stats will warm you up to reality:

  • Only 8% of all enterprises actually know the extent of Shadow IT practices within their organization. (Cisco)
  • One-third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises are on their Shadow IT resources. (Gartner)
  • 83% of IT staff admit to using unsanctioned tools. (Cisco)

While shadow IT isn't all bad news, using rogue applications to facilitate file transfer can bring a smile to the faces of hackers. Name a worse nightmare. We'll wait.

Now you're asking: "What are the risks involved in sharing files via Shadow IT resources or otherwise?"

Lucky for you, that's our next subsection.


4 File Sharing Risks You Need to Know About

1. Inadequate Control Over In-Transit Files

Let's say you're an insurance company. Essentially, your IT team allows clients to upload files such as receipts, claims and other relevant information to your website. This data will eventually go into your organization's systems. A bad actor can upload a malicious file resembling a normal document or file into the system, thus gaining access to your entire network. Before you know it, you’ve already relinquished control over business-critical data.

Saying that today's hackers are savvy would be an understatement. Heck, they are just too good at obtaining illegal control over files—especially those in transit. Even the best Shadow IT techniques can't keep them at bay. These actors will simply bulldoze their way into your data systems and hit you where it hurts the most—your oh-so-sensitive files and documents.

2. Obscured Visibility into Data Flows

We're willing to bet our last coin that at this very moment, your company has countless files awaiting exchange. Even the volume of data that typically flows through your organization is enough to make the mind spin, right? The last thing you want is tainted visibility into the movement of this data.

Newsflash: File sharing options used without the approval of the IT department will most certainly obscure visibility.

You see, when employees use Shadow IT processes to share files across systems, teams, or ecosystem partners, they're simply paving the way for transparency issues. That means your IT personnel won't have 360-degree visibility into how business data is flowing. In turn, they'll have difficulty tracking any files entering or leaving the organization. Bad, bad news!

Beyond credibility concerns, tainted visibility into data flows can put you at loggerheads with compliance laws—especially those that govern inbound file transfers.

3. Slack BYOD Policies

Aah, BYOD. With more and more organizations joining the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) bandwagon and turning to insecure file transfer options like Microsoft OneDrive and personal Dropbox, the risks are more apparent than ever.

Thing is, most BYOD policies are laxly enforced, which means they allow just enough room for bad actors to do their thing. Don't even get us started on the possible security threats when devices fall into the wrong pair of hands.

4. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Admit it: You have dipped your toes in the P2P file-sharing waters (do tools like BitTorrent and uTorrent ring a bell?).

We are not holding a gun to your head, so you might as well say yes.

While P2P sharing is a great technology, it simply can't hold its own against bad actors. Isn't it every other day that we hear cases of identity theft and credit card fraud simply because a P2P software failed to live up to its billing?

How to Navigate Such Risks: Say Hello to Managed File Transfer (MFT)

Now that we're done complaining, what can you do about file-sharing risks? This time, you're not brushing them aside and hoping that the universe will conjure up a way to keep your moving files secure. You're facing them head-on thanks to the newest, most effective enterprise-grade technology in town: Managed File Transfer (MFT).

The heartbeat of this technology is secure, enterprise-grade data transfer. It uses water-tight encryption standards and next-level file transfer protocols to facilitate seamless file transfers—both outbound and inbound.

Notice the glaring difference between this solution and all the wishy-washy file-sharing options your employees have been using? That's right—Managed File Transfer (MFT) is actually enterprise-grade. The rest are just consumer-grade and that alone makes them a bad fit.

An enterprise-ready file sharing solution provides a host of benefits, key among them being:

  • Effortless Scalability

Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions can quickly scale to meet your company's file transfer needs, whether that's a couple of hundred a month or a few thousand a week—and more.

  • Optimum Data Security

Forget all those botched attempts by hackers to steal your in-transit data or that one time when some sensitive files actually landed on the wrong hands. With the right Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution, you can leave all your worries in the past: leverage centralized access controls and activity tracking tamper-evident logging to secure all your in-transit files.

  • Encryption Vital for Compliance Requirements

You've probably heard this before, but we wouldn't mind repeating: encrypting your files is crucial for compliance with current and emerging industry-specific requirements, privacy laws and requirements meant to protect sensitive personal information in highly-volatile sectors like banking and healthcare.

An enterprise-grade file sharing solution locks in this aspect to perfection, ensuring that you never wander to the wrong side of regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

  • Unmatched Flexibility

Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions like MOVEit give your company endless ways—if not more—to deploy and utilize the software. This technology is extremely flexible, whether that's:

  • How you collaborate with your clients and colleagues
  • What formats you—or your ecosystem partners—use,
  • How you implement the solution
  • How you move files (in bulk, ad-hoc, etc.)
  • And more.

MOVEit Can Do This and So Much More!

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't tell you about MOVEit, an on-premises Managed File Transfer (MFT) software like no other.

Want to reduce the risk of data loss, enable secure end-user collaboration and attain regulatory compliance all in one, easy-to-use platform? Give MOVEit a try today. We're convinced that if you give our solution a chance, you'll fall head over heels in love with it—the first time. Start a free trial, get a quote, or explore the wonderful world of MOVEit today!


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