Enterprises today collect massive amounts of data about their products, their sales, their customers, and more. That data has value both inside and outside your organization.
Whether you’re sharing data between different parts of your organization or with other parties, you need to make sure that your data is shared efficiently and securely. It is the responsibility of your company’s IT and security teams to ensure that all entities have access to the data they need—and that all data and communications are secure.
1. Train Employees to Share More Securely
Some say that data security starts at the top. That isn’t totally true. The most vulnerable security point in any organization is the individual. More breaches are initiated by human error than by organized external threats.
Though IT and security staff can and should initiate all manner of top-down security procedures and technology, all those efforts are for naught if the company’s employees act recklessly. The number-one solution to enhance secure data sharing is the simplest one: train employees how to share more securely.
When it comes to data security, a company’s employees are the weakest link. Workers engage in all manner of reckless behaviors, mostly inadvertently but sometimes on purpose. A 2016 survey by Egnyte found that:
- 22% of workers say they’ve mistakenly received confidential information
- 20% have shared confidential information using an unsecure platform
- 14% have opened unknown links from their work emails
- 12% have shared work documents via public Wi-Fi
- 10% have deliberately shared confidential information with people they don’t work with
- 7% have accidentally shared company data with the wrong person
Why are employees so careless in their sharing of important data? In many companies, it’s a lack of training. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that 43% of employers don’t provide sufficient data security training for their employees. This is an unfortunate fact that can be easily remedied.
Organizations of all sizes must recognize the risk that untrained employees present to their important company data. IT and security departments should be funded sufficiently and tasked with the necessary security training for workers at all levels. This is especially important if your company is sharing data with a third party; employees in both organizations need to be trained on how to keep the shared data secure.
2. Centralize Data for Easier Sharing
Data is difficult to share when it’s located in various silos across an organization. In many organizations, this compartmentalization of data decreases worker efficiency and ensures that useful data goes unused.
According to a 2018 survey by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, only 29% of surveyed companies said that they are very effective at sharing data within functional groups or business units. Only 26% say they’re effective at sharing within small employee teams. And only 21% say they’re effective at sharing within the larger enterprise.
To effectively share secure data, that data must be readily accessible—and the easiest way to do that is to centralize essential data so that groups across and even outside the organization have easy access. This is most typically done by using a cloud-driven data warehouse. This places data in the cloud, where users located anywhere in the world can access it via the Internet.
With centralized cloud storage, users no longer must hunt for data in multiple locations across the organization. Data is not hidden in departmental silos or stored in proprietary databases. Everything is centralized and easily accessible.
Though centralizing data makes it easier to share both internally and externally, it also raises questions of security. Access to this data must be limited to those users with proper credentials to guard against unauthorized use. The data must also be encrypted so that, even if it is stolen, it can’t be read. This goes for the transmission of the data, as well; end-to-end encryption technology should be employed to keep the data secure at the source, during transmission, and on the receiving end.
Unfortunately, fewer than 30% of enterprises say that they regularly use data encryption for their sensitive data. It’s important not only to make data sharing easier but also to make that data more secure when shared.
3. Develop a Secure Data Sharing Plan
To best protect against and prepare for possible data breaches, especially when sharing data with third parties, you need a plan. Unfortunately, many companies either have no data security plan or they have one that is outdated or inadequate for today’s threats. A recent global security study from Cisco and InSight Express found that 77% of those surveyed say that their companies’ security policies need improvement and updating—and 23% work for companies that do not have any security policies at all.
Creating a data security plan is vitally important when your company is sharing data with third parties. A secure data sharing plan details the purpose of the data sharing agreement, what data is shared and with whom, how that data is shared, and how the data is kept secure during the operation. The more both organizations plan, the more secure your data will be when it’s shared.
Wickr—For Secure Data Sharing
Secure communications are an important part of any data sharing plan. Wickr offers end-to-end encrypted messaging for companies of all sizes. Contact us to learn more about how Wickr can enhance your organization’s secure data sharing plan.
Improve your organization’s data security—download Wickr today!