File sharing is essential for successful collaboration. But as the pressure on traditional ways of working intensifies, many organisations are finding it difficult to share documents securely, efficiently and in a way that supports their wider business goals. Here are five reasons your organisation needs secure file sharing software:
1 Your people are spread far and wide…
Work is no longer a place your employees turn up to. It's something they can do anywhere, at any time. The UK workplace is undergoing a transformation, fuelled by the realisation that forcing everyone to work from a single, central location between the hours of nine and five does not necessarily benefit an organisation or its staff.
With the right to request flexible working now enshrined in law, working patterns are becoming more complex and diverse. More people are working remotely and while on the move. The challenge for employers is to ensure the productivity of these people is enhanced, rather than falling, when they aren't in the office. This means providing reliable access to all the documents and resources they need to work, regardless of their location.
2 …and they're using many different devices
The proliferation of mobile devices is no longer newsworthy - smartphones and tablets are now such an integral part of our lives that many of us would be lost without them. However, it's interesting that we don't seem to be moving towards one single device that 'does everything'. A 2014 study by Dell and Intel found that 60% of workers regularly use more than one device in the course of the working day. "They want specific devices that enable them to be productive at the thing they're trying to do," said Intel's David Buchholz.
But having a range of devices in operation by each employee creates its own challenges for businesses. A recent study found that 69% of workers feel they need to access business files via a smartphone or tablet. Employers must therefore ensure that people can always reach the most recent version of their files, no matter their chosen device, while also guaranteeing that mobile access is secure. There is a greater risk of loss and theft with mobile devices, so any sensitive data that is accessed by users must be protected.
3 Email isn't working…
Even without the changes seen in the workplace over the last five years or so, email would be insufficient as a means of sharing files. When you factor in the growth of flexible working and the explosion of different devices now in use, the inadequacies of email are completely exposed.
Too many hours are still wasted searching email archives for files that were sent as attachments, or hunting the latest version of a file in a long and complex email chain. The multiple challenges of today's changing workplace mean that employees need a better solution. And increasingly, they're prepared to find one themselves…
4 …and employees can find their own tools
In a growing number of industries, tech-savvy workers are bringing their own tools and applications into the workplace. Frustrated by the sluggish response and restrictions imposed by official IT departments, they will implement their own systems to aid productivity - a practice known as shadow IT.
However, while this can mean a short-term gain for organisations in the form of agile and productive employees, the longer-term implications are more problematic - particularly when it comes to file sharing. This is because data security is rarely a priority for employees when they introduce shadow IT applications - they're simply looking for a tool that will solve a specific problem or make their working life easier. If organisations allow file sharing via unauthorised tools to proceed unchecked, they can quickly lose control and face exposure to data breaches.
5 Data security remains paramount
New research shows the cost of data security incidents is soaring in the UK. According to a PwC report commissioned by the government, 94% of large organisations and 74% of small businesses reported a security breach in the last year.
For a large organisation, the average cost of a security incident now ranges from £1.46 million to £3.14m (up from £600,000 to £1.15m last year). The typical cost for small businesses now ranges from £75,000 to £311,000.
Organisations face a growing battle to protect their data while providing the tools to empower a changing workforce. They must balance the need to retain control of corporate assets and the need to support a geographically dispersed, tech-savvy workplace. This is why tools that can genuinely provide secure file sharing are so vital - and are set to take on increased strategic importance as the modern workplace continue to evolve.