File Sharing Bad Habits to Break

In light of high profile data breaches occurring at companies like Target, Sony, and several universities businesses must now take long hard looks at their vulnerabilities. One of the biggest risks for many businesses is the way employees share files. These are some of the top mistakes or bad habits your business may have that could place you in risk of major cyber liabilities.

P2P File Sharing Employees

Perhaps one of the biggest risks, especially with so many businesses adopting BYOD policies is the risk of posed by P2P networks. Many of the files shared on these networks are far from harmless.

Some contain malware designed to sift through files your business never intends to share in search of tax information, personal data, and more. If your employees are connected to the network that leaves your entire network including employee information, customer information, and trade secrets at risk and vulnerable to hackers.

Your responsibility, as a business owner, is to protect the personal information and data you collect from your customers. Consider these moves, suggested by the FTC, to discourage P2P sharing in your workplace.

  • Establish policies prohibiting P2P sharing.
  • Eliminate any file sharing programs on computers that store sensitive business information.
  • Delete sensitive information from any computer where it is not absolutely essential.
  • Monitor networks to look for P2P programs.
  • Block traffic from P2P networks with the use of network firewalls.

Ultimately, you must educate your employees about the risks of P2P file sharing programs and what it can mean for them personally as well as your business. This helps them understand why it is banned and many will comply in the interest of keeping their jobs.

Thumb Drives

The problem with thumb drives is that they are small, they are portable, and they are easily lost, misplaced, and stolen. When employees walk outside the doors of your business with valuable information about employees and/or customers on a thumb drive, your business has literally no control over what happens next with that information.

Whether it’s someone with the top secret family recipe for Bush’s baked beans or the precise carbon to syrup ratio for Coca Cola, there are certain tidbits of information no business wants going public.

On the other side of the equation, though, is the fact that you never want to risk a breach of public esteem for your business or the broken trust of customers and employees that would occur if their personal information is revealed.

Other risks come in the forms of email attachments, personal cloud storage systems, and lost mobile phones, tablet devices, and laptops. The biggest tool you have at your disposal is policy. Create policies designed to minimize your cyber liability risks and invest in cyber liability insurance for the times when your best efforts to reduce those risks simply aren’t enough.