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The security risks in transferring data.

Jeff Whitney, Vice President of Marketing for Ipswitch explains how the transfer of data has changed in recent years and why that means the security risks are at an all time high. Jeff Whitney from Ipswitch also gives us an overview of the potential risks and motivations businesses should be concerned about regarding data transfer and explains how Ipswitch has worked to raise awareness and offer solutions.

How the transfer of data changed throughout the last few years?

It has changed very significantly if you look around the show billions of pounds is being spent throughout the year to protect the data centre using firewalls and the like and to protect the sore information within the organisation which really drives that organisation but now in order to get work done those files have information that needs to be passed on to employees, now employees have massive computers of their own in the form of laptops and even their phones and what is happening now is that those employees don't have secure mechanisms to be able to transfer those files around internally or with their business partners and similarly customers so they are now using insecure mechanisms in other to get that work done. Things like the work email and like the personal email in order to get that work done so that is basically a major issue. We recently did a survey and we do this every year and we do it in the USA and the UK. We have just finished the survey in the UK this month and we surveyed well over 100 businesses in the UK and what we found was a shocking 80% of those business professionals either had limited or no visibility into the personal sharing habits of their employees.

The security risks around data transfer are at an all time high at the moment aren't they, why?

Exactly, so you can't at any time that data is breached if you have your own company information or your customer information then that can be breached and an employee is sending it across and using a non secure collaboration system with a personal email all of a sudden you are a BBC moment and you don't want to be a BBC moment and you don't want to have to go and tell your customer all your data was in an unsecure data mechanism and it may have been compromised. This is not good for your brand and not good for your customer relations.

How does managing the behaviour of the employees in businesses play a part in all this?

You can manage that through policies and statements. You should not use your email, you should not use personal emails to do that kind of work but they already know that and all they are trying to do is get their work done and do it quickly because that is what they have to do. So it's not about managing the policies it's about providing a solution like the kind of solution we offer and a managed file solution and it allows employees in business to securely transfer those files in a way that is fast and easy for the employee and provides a control in auditing and reporting that the business needs. So managing at a policy level just will not do it.

What about the loss of devices by employees?

Yes that is another thing about it mobile devices are just another way that employees can have those files and then the issue of if I lose them so I need to secure them, but also when you are transferring files the 99% of the time they actually have their phone with them how are they transferring those files back and forth internally and externally and are they doing that securely. Once again usually the mechanism is that they do not have a safe and secure way to do that, so they are using whatever mechanism that is possible for them.

So your recommendation is that employers consult with employees advising them of what is and what is not acceptable as part of their contract?

Education of employees is always critical; we have a policy which says you will not do this. The reason is because you cannot compromise data this is too important, but in addition here is a mechanism for you to get the job done fast and easy because we are holding you accountable to do that as well. That is in essence what a secure managed file solution is what Ipswich offers enables organisations to do. It does enable that individuals or employees to secure files but also allows the IT organisation to do that as well. That is a whole different interview but that is an issue as well when there is a lot of file sharing going on but people do not understand how it is happening. The individuals or person is allowed to do secure file sharing but also allows the It organisation and understand how it happening.

Is there a particular type of business that has been quick to take up solutions similar to what you offer to protect the process of transferring data?

Well you are going to see it first amongst file sharing practices they will pick initially amongst organisations that are compliant with the major issues so financial, healthcare, government, all these have an absolute requirement and those have always made up a healthy dose of our business. The more BBC moments you have in the UK the more CNN moments you have the USA the more people realise that this is not restricted to those and protecting your corporate data and protecting the data of your customers is crucial for the success in the health of business so we are seeing an ever increasing swell of people who are coming and saying our old file sharing practices whether we are using scripts or whatever or whether we are using servers they don't give us the control the visibility or the reporting they don't if we have compliance requirements they don't support the requirements and then they in addition no one is moving files for fun they are moving files to get work done, so once you move the file what are the automated systems you have in place to be able to get the work done . I get a bunch of orders in and I have got be able to get it over to finance and make sure that the credit is approved. Hopefully through the system and then off to order and then shipping. Is that happening for you automatically so you are able to get work done faster and more efficiently? Are you making money and saving money or is it using the old process and old scripts that you have no visibility of how they are working and if something breaks there are no words going on to tell you what's happening. That means IT have to spend a weekend digging through logs trying to figure out why. Not a fun way to do business so we are absolutely seeing that trend of people moving to managed file transfer solutions following the finance, healthcare and the government not only to make sure it is secure but enable work to get done faster and better.