Recent article from Dark Reading was from a Symantec survey of small to medium size businesses and their file sharing practices. The survey was conducted by Applied Research in 2011. They spoke with decision makers at 1,325 worldwide SMB organizations with 5 to 500 employees.
The survey revealed that SMB employees are increasingly adopting unmanaged, personal-use online file sharing solutions without permission from IT. They point to this being part of the broader trend of the consumers of IT, in which the adoption of online services for use on personal mobile devices blurs the lines between work and play.
Some highlights: Employees influence adoption of file sharing solutions internally – and SMB stakeholders recognize that file sharing helps drive productivity among employees.
Security and data loss are potential file sharing risks. Many respondents recognized the potential risks that poorly managed file sharing practices can bring into their organizations. Risks cited as potential concerns included:
- Sharing confidential information using unapproved solutions
- Loss of confidential or proprietary information
- Breach of confidential information
- Embarrassment or damage to brand/reputation
- Violating regulatory rules
Also, the lack of policy enforcement also enhanced risks, as more than 1/5th of the respondents had not implemented policies restricting how employees can access and share files.
When asked what employees might do when they need to share a large file, respondents indicated:
- They would ask IT for help
- Use a solution suggested by a customer, contractor, or partner
- Utilize a system in place
- Search online and download a free solution
Symantec recommended that SMBs implement some best practices:
- Centralize file storage and management with a secure web-based system that is accessible regardless of device or location so that companies protect data outside the office walls.
- Implement access controls and permissions to keep private files safe and separate from work content
- Maintain oversight into how and when business files are shared.
- Implement a scalable system that can grow with the business.
Sr. Account Executive