File Sharing: Risk or Remedy?

Author(s): Timothy Hickernell, Ben Dickie, Paul Ouellette

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Effective file sharing is a necessity in knowledge-intensive organizations. Teams need adequate tools to collaborate around work-related documents. Despite the need for effective document collaboration in the enterprise, many organizations are failing to provide their employees with the right tools to get the job done.

As a result, many employees have adopted cloud file sharing solutions on an ad-hoc basis. These services, such as Dropbox and Box, provide simple, platform agnostic storage and synchronization capabilities. However, many corporate IT departments are unsure of how to approach these tools due to perceived or actual security risks.

Info-Tech recommends that organizations make the following considerations when thinking about these services:

  • Knowledge workers demand access anytime and anywhere to their files. Leverage cloud file sharing services for maximum device ubiquity.

  • Ensure that your approach to cloud file sharing solutions balances the benefits and risks. For example, establish policies prohibiting the upload of highly sensitive materials to these solutions.

  • Ensure that your file sharing vendor of choice integrates with your established enterprise architecture.

  • Most major file sharing vendors (i.e. Dropbox, Box, etc.) offer corporate plans for team collaboration; these plans offer administrative controls beyond those provided in the freemium versions.

  • Set up workflows that use file sharing services to complement rather than supplant your existing collaboration architecture. For example, use SharePoint for back end document management, and file sharing solutions for fluid front end team collaboration.

  • Train employees on proper usage of these products from a technology and security standpoint.

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