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The Most Dangerous File Sharing Habits

By Hanna Welch | August 28, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

When danger becomes a factor during file sharing, something is not right, and that is why you need to learn how to share data properly.

File sharing should be an easy process. Be it sharing files with friends or professionally, secure channels must be used. When danger becomes a factor during file sharing, something is not right, and that is why you need to learn how to share data properly.

As part of the security strategy, especially for small businesses, it is always advisable to have the right file-sharing policies and systems. Not having/following the right file-sharing processes puts the company and anyone involved in jeopardy.

Most people overlook safe zones and methods that must be used to share files and collaborate securely, which presents a serious threat. Surprisingly, the ‘human factor’ as a cause of data breaches is more common than what one would have assumed, causing 35% of all cases. The human employee factor is high because of contractor and employee errors and negligence. 

Did you know that most employees bring about troubles because they are not fully knowledgeable about the risks that come with file sharing? Employees use unofficially implemented IT solutions that have not even been approved by the correct IT department. So, what are dangerous file sharing habits? Keep reading to find out.

Defining Dangerous File Sharing Habits

We will list the most prevalent or common dangerous habits of file sharing that your colleagues or employees might be having without even realising it.

1. Use of Flash Drives

Flash drives are easy to use by nature. These tools are lightweight and only require plugging into the correct USB port and checking the screen for further instruction. When it comes to network security, they bypass the usual procedures. This makes them the perfect and easiest tool for infecting systems. If an infected USB is inserted into a computer, the virus spreads within seconds. On your computer, there are some systems that are automatically set to autorun flash drive content, giving the malware admin permissions to run amok and cause havoc. Using flash drives is so simple that most people don’t think twice and end up not recognising security threats.

To prevent malware-related damage, you can install the latest and strongest antivirus and defensive wall. These should have the ability to stop autorun and scan any USB-attached device inserted into the computer. Additionally, encryption can also be done.

2. Lack of Visibility

The danger associated with lack of visibility is usually kick-started by the employees when they use a file-sharing service or procedure that has not been recommended or authorised by the IT security department. Without taking the organisation into consideration or seeing the bigger picture, such employees expose the entire company to risks. Visibility must always be in place because it provides the business with crucial insights into the usage of data in terms of how and who as well as the frequency of data usage.

If your company’s IT zone is regulated, then visibility must provide the details necessary for auditing and compliance. When employees start engaging a solution of their own outside the prescribed one, then chances of them also mixing their personal data with business data are high. This mix further jeopardises critical functions, including, but not limited to, persistent control and auditability, and thus your organization’s data might be placed in danger.

3. Sharing Files via E-Mail

Sharing files via email is almost secondary to nature, especially because it’s one of the easiest and ‘most reliable forms of communication.’ In truth, sharing files via email poses serious dangers to the organisation since anyone with the ability to sniff network traffic between mail servers or has access to intermediate mail servers can easily view the attached documents.

To protect your organisation from the danger of hackers or third parties accessing your attachments, it would be best to encrypt files and use the best file sharing services. You can consider using a secure file sharing website such as FileWhopper. When using this platform, you can send as much data as you want and only pay for the actual amount of data sent. The link to your uploaded data can last up to 14 days. Once opened by the recipient, the file or folder can be deleted along with all traces of its existence. Take note that there is no size limit when using FileWhopper: you can upload any worth of data and you will not be limited or face challenges when uploading.

4. Peer-To-Peer (P2P) File Sharing

Peer to peer file-sharing networks are the most popular of the modern sharing methods. However, they come with a lot of security risks and threats to your business. These include the fact that you open your computer’s defence to threats and viruses online. You can save yourself by staying away from files that look ‘shady.’ However, this is not always possible because some viruses can blind you as they can be pseudo-named and you will just trust and download them thinking that you are making the right decision.

You can download some viruses that are set to autorun on your system. Immediately after downloading, your system will be put at risk. Avoid visiting these P2P networks and getting anything online as your system may be irreversibly damaged in the long run.

5. Using Consumer-Grade Cloud Solutions

On a global scale, employees put themselves and the companies they work for in danger by unknowingly, or knowingly, using unapproved, consumer-grade file sharing methods on their devices. More and more employees are resorting to the movement of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), and as a result, they resort to uploading data and even top-secret details on services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. This opens up the company’s security walls to more security threats.

To sum up, an organisation needs to employ strict measures and work together with its employees to adopt enterprise-grade security practices. This means employees need to always adhere to the policies set out by the IT department.

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