Why “Free” is Not Always the Best Option When Sharing Sensitive Data

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March 20, 2014

It’s a lot easier for the security of sensitive data and messages to be breached than you might think, especially when those sharing the files are employing free file sharing software. Really, if the security of data being shared is of importance to you or your business, it’s imperative that you take a second look at your file sharing software and consider more secure paid options.

Free file sharing software is certainly cost-effective. Many kinds can also be quite effective. However, the majority of free file sharing technology does not provide security that meets the protocols of the paid options, making it easy for hackers and thieves to view, steal, or in some cases even sabotage, any files being shared. If your business necessitates confidentiality—for your clients or partners, then a security breach can really hurt. And a security breach is a lot more likely to occur if free software, which often lacks encryption methods and other safeties, is used while sharing sensitive data.

Now, you may be patting yourself on the back because all of your company’s computers utilize paid, up-to-date, and secure file sharing software, which is great. However, does your business allow BYOD (bring-your-own-device) as a policy? If that’s the case, then you may still be in trouble.

According to surveys, over ¾ of employees in BYOD-permitted work environments access and share documents, messages, and other sensitive information with their personal mobile device—like a smartphone or tablet. This is a problem because about ¾ of this group is said to employ file sharing software on their devices that is not as secure as it could be—probably the free stuff. Many mobile devices may also not meet the standards of security that they should to even have sensitive information stored on them. If you’re concerned about security, it’s probably in your business’s best interest to pay for and mandate the installation of a standardized and secure file sharing system on employees’ devices, or to even retract the BYOD policy.