Home Guru The holy grail of file sharing: when security and ease of use go hand in hand

The holy grail of file sharing: when security and ease of use go hand in hand

Paul Steiner, Accellion

The holy grail of file sharing: when security and ease of use go hand in hand

When it comes to critical business applications, ease of use is an absolute must. There’s no way around it.

Even if IT is thrilled with the promised features and functionality, if an app is clunky, frustrates employees or eats up valuable time, users will abandon ship and find a suitable workaround.

We see this all of the time in the world of file sharing. Employees are drawn to consumer-based applications such as Dropbox and Google Drive because of the user-friendly interface and the ability to quickly get a file out the door. The problem is that, in many cases, employees are using such applications without IT’s knowledge – putting enterprise data at risk.

In fact, a survey by Ponemon Institute found that 60 percent of companies have employees who frequently move confidential files to Dropbox without permission. Not knowing where and how files are being shared is the thing that IT nightmares are made of, earning Dropbox the number two spot on a list of “The Top Three Worst Apps” that employees could download (gambling apps were number one) and leading some companies, such as IBM, to ban the use of Dropbox all together.

The unfortunate reality is that consumer-based applications pose proven risk. Dropbox alone experienced two breaches that made headlines last year – one that targeted users with bogus password reset requests and the other that hijacked usernames and passwords from third-party websites that were then used to access Dropbox accounts.

As an IT professional, your job is to make sure that confidential files remain confidential. Those marching orders are likely enforced not just by your boss, but also by the Data Protection Act, that carries serious repercussions if protected information gets into the wrong hands. You’re also on the hook to make sure that the applications your company invests in are actually used by employees, which begs the question: can a file sharing solution meet IT’s stringent security requirements while also being easy to use?

The answer is yes. Just because IT and business users want different things from applications doesn’t mean that either group has to make sacrifices. Security and ease of use can go hand in hand, if you hone in on the right solution.

At Accellion, we believe that employees need to be able to work securely from anywhere – accessing and sharing files as easily as sending email. That’s why we’ve created a truly intuitive user experience – making it possible for organisations to realise productivity gains without compromising security. The secret is in our three-tiered architecture.

Most consumer-grade solutions have a standard, monolithic approach to protecting data, with information stored behind just one level of security. This is nowhere near adequate, as proven by breaches that have occurred in past months. Enterprises need more – more security layers, more control over where data is going and more protection from malicious intrusions.

We’ve taken security to a completely new level, providing a three-tiered architecture that allows the web, application and storage tiers of our solution to be separated and placed anywhere on the network – an industry first. Plus, unique authentication tokens are required for each layer, providing additional built-in security.

This means that if a hacker attacks your website and happened to be successful, they’d be faced with tight security at the application level and then again at the data level – making it that much harder, if not impossible, to get their hands on your data.

This provides IT and security professionals with an enterprise-class solution that you can trust, while giving business users the freedom to be productive both inside and outside of the office. Sophisticated security combined with a world-class user experience – exactly what your organisation, your data and your employees deserve.

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October 30, 2014