Gone are the days of shutting down your computer at the end of the day and disconnecting from work until you show up the next morning. Work is no longer limited by wires and walls. We live in an age of mobility, flexible work arrangements and blurred lines between work time and personal time. This has made secure, seamless file sharing a business necessity.
It would have been great if every employee had started using mobile devices and working remotely at the same time. The boss could have issued a memo that explained how everyone must share files from this day forward, and the issues might have been minimal. But because the shift to mobility and dispersed teams has been gradual, and small businesses have been slow to implement formal file-sharing procedures, employees often found their own solutions.
Email was usually the first option, but email often has file-size and storage limits and emailing files back and forth is slow, inefficient and error-prone. Some employees share flash drives, which can be easily lost or stolen or carry malware from device to device. Many employees have turned to the free, consumer-grade file-sharing services that they were already using outside of the workplace, such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
When all of your employees are using different tools and following different procedures for sharing files, the consequences can be disastrous. Many small businesses are dealing with a “shadow IT” scenario in which employees use their own IT solutions without the approval or knowledge of the IT department or their employer.
The use of consumer-grade file-sharing services, especially without permission, makes it extremely difficult for businesses to maintain visibility and control of company data. They can’t control where data is stored and who is authorized to access it. If someone leaves the company, that person’s login credentials often remain intact. All of these factors increase the risk of data loss, security breaches and e-discovery issues. Regulatory compliance violations are another potential headache, since many free email platforms and file-sharing services lack encryption and don’t meet minimum regulatory requirements for data privacy and security.
Business-grade file-sharing services enable companies to control data and user access without compromising employee productivity. Large files such as video, images and presentations can be shared without issues. Business-grade file-sharing services also offer more robust security than consumer-grade platforms and reduce the risk of compliance violations. Cloud-based services can be deployed quickly and accessed from virtually any location and device with an Internet connection.
When everyone is using the same platform, you make it easier for employees to collaborate and be more productive. The key is to choose a file-sharing service that is user-friendly, and educate employees about file-sharing best practices, the risks of mishandling data and how the service can help them do their jobs. When employees realize how easy file-sharing can be, and that a business-grade platform offers more features than consumer-grade services, you make shadow IT unnecessary.
Simple, secure file-sharing is essential in the mobile workplace. Let SSD help you choose a business-grade solution that offers the right blend of security, mobility, user-friendliness, compatibility and cost.