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Confidential Company Data: You Might Be Surprised Where It Ends Up

As a small business owner, you may think you’ve taken steps to keep your sensitive data private, but it may be more at risk than you realize.  In fact, your customer data, payroll data, banking information, email communications and more may fall into the hands of those it shouldn’t — and all because of sharing files.

When files are shared online in the cloud, there are a number of points of weakness that make those files vulnerable to falling into the hands of third parties, as this graphic shows:

Symantec File Sharing Security Graphic [1]

Click to see full-size file-sharing graphic [1]

Online security company Symantec [2] has created the above graphic to  illustrate just how vulnerable your confidential company information and sensitive customer data may be.

Symantec’s Senior Manager of Emerging Cloud Products, Anthony Kennada, says:

“Employees are increasingly adopting unmanaged, personal-use online file sharing solutions without permission from IT, part of the broader trend of the consumerization of IT in which the adoption of online services for use on personal mobile devices blurs the lines between work and play.  These early-adopter behaviors – like those driving the use of file sharing technology – are making organizations vulnerable to security threats and potential data loss.”

Symantec’s graphic illustrates a number of risk factors that may lead to your company’s confidential data finding its way into the wrong hands.  Let’s look at some:

With more and more businesses using the cloud, it’s more important than ever to consider your practices and make sure that your company’s data is secure.  Adds Kennada:

“Security is still your responsibility when you move to the cloud, both as an individual user or as business owner.  So don’t abandon your responsibilities when you make the move.”

So, does this mean you should never share your files in the cloud and keep everything offline? No. In this day and age, that’s just not realistic. But what it does mean is that you shouldn’t take security for granted. Look at all the potential points of weakness outlined in the above graphic.  Be sure you have taken steps to minimize loss at each point.