Experts warn of threat posed by employee file transfer usage

Data security experts have highlighted a potential risk facing businesses that comes in the form of employees using third party file transfer services with which they have a personal account, in order to transfer data with colleagues and clients.

Accellion’s Paula Skokowski told Infosecurity magazine that businesses are being left in the dark as a result of this issue, unable to check up on what files are being transferred and how employees are using internal data.

Skokowski said that businesses would need to change attitudes and policies in order to combat the potential problems that could arise as a result of unmonitored file transfer services used by individuals.

She pointed out that there was little media coverage of this issue and said that although it is roughly in the arena of providing employees with the freedom to harness technology as they see fit, it can hardly be seen as safe practice in a business environment where data loss can be a serious problem.

Skokowski points out that the high profile data loss incidents are actually turning businesses onto the idea of using secure file transfers, but while integrating such services into a centralised system is sensible, the independent use of third party services by individual employees cannot be seen in the same light.

The use of portable storage devices, such as USB drives and optical media, is seen to be coming to an end within the business sector, although Skokowski believes that the uptake of secure file transfer services is still in its early stages.

Cloud platforms which allow flexible working environments and simple tools for sharing sensitive data are seen to be the way forward, with improvements to both security and user-friendliness and a lesser impact on email use for file transfer, which can overburden servers as the data load increases.

Experts believe that transferring files digitally can be much more secure and convenient than any traditional method, but there is concern that improper use of the tools will lead to further data loss and security breaches.

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