Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The volume of data that is shared between business entities is growing every year. Companies are constantly sharing information with each other. I.T. systems are linked to each other at various business contexts for example supplying, selling, regulation and management. A manufacturing firm, for example, is likely to have its procurement system linked to its suppliers and its sales component linked to distributors on a real time basis.

Whether it’s a document sent over email or sales figures transmitted through a file transfer protocol, the risk of a data breach during the transfer or sharing process is high.

Many business people are yet to appreciate the value of the data in their possession. USBs and CDs are lost at a very high rate. These same devices are couriered in unsecured envelopes. Loss of company data can have an irreversible impact on and company’s finances and reputation.

In most cases the loss of mobile devices such as USBs and CDs results in loss of valuable company data. These devices are by their nature easy to lose, especially USB drives. People usually overlook the real value that is contained in a USB drive itself and instead value the physical device more. USBs might be small but the data in them is vitally important.

Other means of data transfer that pose considerable risk are websites that allow users to upload large files. These files can then be accessed by other people with a link that was sent to them. Photo sharing websites use this concept.

Companies should not use these sites because it is nearly impossible to ascertain where you files are hosted and who has access to them.

Implementing more secure and reliable data transfer technologies is imperative. Relying on USBs, CDs and file hosting websites to transfer your business data is unsafe.

File transfer technology has advanced considerably in the recent past. It offers enhanced features like audit trails and are better alternatives to the old transfer methods.

An example is Managed File Transfer (MFT) which is a data transfer service provided by vendors. MFT keeps an audit trail of the transferred file(s) by keeping receipts. MFT also encrypts the files thereby securing them against man-in-the-middle attacks.

This technology is vital for sectors that have huge volumes of data transfer for example healthcare, pharmaceuticals, banking and government.

Data transfer is a grey area that needs immediate attention by all companies that exchange information with another business entity.

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