6 Horrible Enterprise File Sharing Habits to Break in 2016

by Andrew Mullen on March 24, 2016

Why is it important to use good file sharing habits? For one, security. Bad habits can mean leaking sensitive information about your company, your customers, and even your third-party vendors and other partners. This seriously damages your corporate image. But security isn't the only issue -- when files are handled improperly, it leads to poor database practices that cause data bloat, lower productivity, and run up database costs. What are the bad file sharing habits that need to be broken in your enterprise?

1. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Files shouldn't be shared directly from peer to peer. Instead, files should be stored centrally and accessed by workers via a secure file sharing system.

When peers share files directly with each other, without going through the procedure of saving the file to the database and accessing it directly from there, a lot of problems come up. For instance, those files aren't backed up, there is no paper trail in the event that litigation occurs, and document version management becomes impossible. Stop the habit of sharing through email, thumb drives, and other P2P mechanisms, and insist on files being stored centrally and accessed from there.

2. A Lack of Passwords or Really Bad Passwords

Passwords like "password", "123456", a popular sport (like football or baseball) or the name of a favorite superhero (Superman or Batman, for instance) are almost as bad as not having a password at all. Passwords aren't the only line of defense in a good file sharing system, but these little jewels certainly are a good first line of defense when utilized properly. Insist on strong passwords, long passwords, and passwords with a variety of characters and numerals. Also, ban passwords that can be easily discovered through social engineering -- like children's names, pets' names, and birthdays.

3. Allowing Unlimited, Unrestricted Access to Enterprise Files

User levels are essential for secure enterprise file sharing. Each user should be given access only to what they can reasonably be expected to need to do their jobs. The most common complaint is that this slows productivity, but it also boosts security by quite a significant margin. If a user truly needs access to information that is blocked to their access level, they can request access through the proper channels, such as through their supervisor.

4. Allowing Users a Constant Connection to Enterprise File Sharing Databases

When users are constantly connected to the database, the network is left wide open to all sorts of attacks. The system should be set up so that users can log in, download what they need, and then exit the system. This closes the door to many types of intrusions, while allowing enterprise file sharing to be monitored and controlled.

5. A Lack of Regular Data Cleansing

Cleanse files and other data regularly to stay on top of document versions, eliminate duplicate files, and keep databases clean and functioning well.

Duplicate files, corrupted files, human errors in entering or editing files -- all of these issues make it harder to trust the quality of your files and other data. Data de-duplication and data cleansing, along with a smart document version management plan, can reduce the size of the database, improving functionality and reducing the costs of maintaining the database.

6. A Lack of Regular, Complete Backups

Most enterprises have regularly scheduled backups to safeguard newly created files and files that have been updated since the last backup. But how often do you conduct a complete backup, including all applications, software, and system configurations? These complete backups are essential for business continuity and disaster recovery. As often as most enterprises acquire new software and applications, regular backups are necessary so that systems can be fully restored and no investments are lost.

Other companies are improving their enterprise file sharing habits through the use of Microsoft Azure cloud storage, powered by FAST™. You can see how this works by visiting our customer success stories page.

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