How Poor Collaboration Threatens Security, Profits, Productivity

How Poor Collaboration Threatens Security, Profits, Productivity
File Integrity and Data Latency
Person-to-Person File Transfers
Information Security and Compliance
Network Performance
Finding the Right Tools
Enabling Collaboration in the Modern World
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How Poor Collaboration Threatens Security, Profits, Productivity

By Darryl K. Taft

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File Integrity and Data Latency

When one employee is editing a document that's currently being used by another team member across the globe—and there's no real-time collaboration technology in place—file integrity and data latency become real concerns. Employees risk overwriting each other's work and using the wrong version—which translates into project delays, file and data inconsistencies and budget overages.

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Person-to-Person File Transfers

If employees can't collaborate across wide area networks as if they were local, they are forced to send files person-to-person (P2P), which can be cumbersome, time-consuming and frustrating for the user. It also takes control and visibility away from the IT team, and depending upon the industry and what's being sent, breaks compliance.

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Information Security and Compliance

P2P file-sharing also increases security concerns. Beyond the security risks and inefficiencies associated with traditional FTP sites and homegrown systems, Globalscape research has found that employees will use personal email and other insecure methods—such as consumer file-sharing sites and USB drives—to transfer sensitive files. A 2014 Globalscape study found that 63 percent of employees use personal email to send sensitive work documents. These work-around solutions, including Dropbox and personal email, may brand themselves as leaders in collaboration, but their lack of enterprise-grade security puts data at risk of compromise or corruption if it falls into the wrong hands.

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Network Performance

The other P2P transfer alternative is sending files as attachments through the corporate email system. While this may be okay on an occasional basis, when employees consistently need to collaborate over large files—such as CAD drawings or MRI images—the sheer size of the files slows down network performance and takes up critical bandwidth.

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Finding the Right Tools

The key is finding a solution that integrates easily into the daily lives of employees. The essential checklist includes packages that can perform real-time file replication and file-locking (to ensure people see the most recent versions and don't overwrite each other's work), secure P2P facilities that can be used in lieu of the dangerous consumer tools, mobile solutions that integrate into your enterprise architecture, flexible managed file-transfer facilities that aid in process integration and, of course, enterprise-grade in-transit security that has minimal infrastructure impact. Most importantly, the file-access and -sharing experience for users should be seamless—as if they were working in the local corporate office.

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Enabling Collaboration in the Modern World

Successful collaboration is critical to organizational success, and the modern workplace has hurdles to overcome in security, efficiency and access. Companies must address these obstacles head-on. Avoiding collaboration or succumbing to tedious inefficiencies puts organizations at a competitive disadvantage. Equally unpleasant, avoiding these solutions will put a company at a security disadvantage because the end users will find an unauthorized and potentially dangerous solution if an easy alternative is not available. Collaboration ultimately comes down to timely, informative communication and easy-to-use technology.

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