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Business File Sharing – are security worries holding you back?

Did you know that November 2012 research by IT advisory firm ESG found that security concerns are the biggest barrier to businesses wanting to make the leap into online file sharing?

Worries about data loss or theft, plus the risk of falling foul of data protection laws are making many businesses cautious about entrusting their data to the Cloud. In fact, a huge 57% of non-deploying organisations cite reasons of this kind for not venturing into online business file sharing.

There are signs, however, that attitudes are changing. While the same research found that only 13% of companies kept more than half of their data in online file sharing accounts, it predicted that number would triple over the next three years.

So what’s changing? And is now the right time to consider taking your business data into the Cloud?

Cloud file sharing – delivered to Government security standards

The fact is that many online file sharing tools have evolved to offer very high levels of security.

One sector that has taken Cloud security very seriously is government and the public sector. Organisations within this sector have recognised there are major benefits to online file sharing, but cannot afford to make any mistakes regarding security or data protection. Their public reputation depends on it.

In the UK, public cloud applications approved for Government use are available to public sector organisations via the G-Cloud Cloudstore. It’s worthwhile looking at some of the business file sharing and collaboration packages available from this source, as they give you an insight into the levels of security you should be looking for — whatever sector you work in.

As a summary, look for a file sharing solution that offers the following features as a minimum:

  • Recognised security standards such as independent ISO 27001 certification that applies to the software, and not just the data centre it uses
  • Independent penetration tests carried out regularly by an accredited 3rd party like CHECK or CREST
  • Robust encryption 
  • Full control of user access privileges
  • A detailed audit trail of all user activity
  • Modern servers, kept in secure data centres.

Some software providers are very coy about the security features they offer, so be sure to question them thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

Beyond business file sharing
In the same way that Cloud software has evolved to offer much higher levels of security, file sharing packages have grown to offer users many more features and benefits.

The biggest growth area in this respect is in the online collaboration software market. With secure Cloud file sharing at its heart, online collaboration allows you to do much more than share files internally or with third parties.

In completely secure online environments, collaboration solutions allow you to bring flexibility, shared working and innovation to your workflow. For example, you can use them to:

  • Collaborate on the same, single copy of a document 
  • Leave comments and feedback on files 
  • Share information securely with external partners
  • Integrate shared files with online project management tools 
  • Deploy collaboration in a huge variety of contexts, from corporate intranets and tender management workspaces to client extranets and virtual board rooms.

As you can see, times have changed. Security is no longer the barrier to Cloud file sharing it once was — the real question is how to get a lot more from business file sharing.

To help you solve this problem, take a look at our free guide: Beyond Business File Sharing — 8 features that take you further. It’ll help you do much more than share files, and it’ll help you do it simply, safely and above all securely.

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