Biztech Sep 20, 2012
Today's bring your own device (BYOD) business environment makes it easy for employees to access company documents anywhere and anytime using cloud-based document storage. However, ease of access can increase the risk of unauthorised document access. The security challenge is to protect your organisation's documents, everywhere they reside, inside your organisation's IT infrastructure as well as in the cloud, on USB drives, on smartphones, tablets, and anywhere else a document can reside.
The importance of securing business documents is clear because up to 50 percent of all critical information for an organisation is found inside of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF's and other types of documents. The sensitive information an organisation has in its business documents can have significant implications for a competitive edge, privacy, and regulatory compliance when documents are not secured everywhere, regardless of location.
Some CIOs refer to cloud-based storage boxes inside their organisations as "the box syndrome" and they have responded to the challenge by issuing a blanket prohibition on use. The problem with that reaction is that it will encourage business users to return to sending large email attachments, using USB thumb drives, and transferring documents to cloud file storage services outside the organisation. Prohibiting the use of online storage and file sharing has not solved the problem; it has just forced business users to share documents in a less efficient manner that is no more secure than what they were doing with online storage boxes. Providing a secure, enterprise-approved alternative solution is the only way to cope with the reality of today's mobile business environment, and such a solution requires a different kind of security.
CIO's in progressive organisations have to implement a plan to deal with the box syndrome that goes beyond prohibiting the use of online storage boxes. The goal needs to be implementation of an enforceable, centrally controlled security policy that follows the documents everywhere they reside, inside and outside of the business, while making it easy to use for users to complete everyday tasks. With a central document security solution that encrypts documents and requires the document to check in with a rights server every time a user wants to open it, the use of file storage boxes, whether cloud-based or on premise, turns into a secured productivity enhancement tool.
"The ability to centrally control business document access to authorised individuals and immediately revoke access to those documents when needed is key to maintaining control of a business and its intellectual property," said Frost & Sullivan Principal Consultant Jarad Carleton. "Workplace technology has evolved and we now have business users leveraging online storage boxes, USB thumb drives, as well as their own personal tablets and smartphones. In the era of BYOD, online storage services, and a plethora of storage devices the size of a thumbnail or smaller, the need to implement a centrally managed solution that secures documents anywhere and on every device has never been more important. Intellectual property is a valuable commodity that keeps revenue streams flowing in developed economies; it creates employment, and provides positive returns for investors. Security experts in private industry, governments around the world, and most recently the National Security Agency (NSA) have said that the current level of intellectual property theft equates to the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Any organisation whose revenues and competitive edge rely on keeping intellectual property out of the hands of competitors needs to start protecting its business documents today."
Full evaluation of any potential solution is necessary, since there are many solutions that look similar on the surface, but are unable to scale as business needs and regulatory environments change. This is an important consideration because the investment that you make today will become deeply embedded in your operational processes now and in the future.
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