Sensitive file transfer imperatives 'causing security practice breaches'

Increased pressure to improve the speed and security of file transfers from customers and partners is creating vulnerabilities in enterprise security procedure.

According to a report by Ipswitch File Transfer, the problem stems from ‘corporate management not providing employees with suitable tools to send and receive large and confidential attachments’. In the absence of such a company-mandated file transfer platform that makes it simple and secure to send and receive large files, employees are finding workarounds, jeopardising security and compliance in the process.

“Nearly 50 per cent of individuals Ipswitch surveyed at the Infosecurity Europe 2011 conference last April have been unable to send business-critical documents because their company’s server couldn’t handle the file’s size,” says Ipswitch FT VP of global strategy Frank Kenney, “and 78 per cent reported that, on numerous occasions, their corporate email system’s inability to handle large attachments significantly slowed productivity.”

The report’s findings also indicate that:

  • 60 per cent of individuals said they use personal email to send sensitive files because their company systems hinder productivity, creating a compliance and security risk; 50 per cent of those people admitted to using ‘personal email as a means to hide sensitive information from management’.
  • Employees are also relying on remote devices – like USB drives and smart-phones – to transfer information that cannot be handled by corporate systems. More than 25 per cent of employees have lost a USB drive containing confidential information: out of that 25 per cent, 40 per cent admitted that they ‘did not report’ the lost device to their respective IT departments.

While some organisations are providing officially-approved employees with file transfer solutions to overcome size constraints, the Ipswitch report shows that too many platforms are still failing to place suffient emphasis on security.

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