December 20th, 2016
Adding File Encryption to Your Network Security Program
Does your network security program have a file encryption component? It should! Your employees regularly work with sensitive information; however, they may not be aware of how to protect that information. In this day and age of technology, companies can never be too cautious when it comes to security. For example, if an employee takes a file with her on a USB stick so that she can get some work done during breaks in jury duty, is that file encrypted? What if she loses the USB stick? What if she emails the file to her home PC? Is the file encrypted during transmission? Is her personal PC secure? These concerns may cross your mind, but they may not cross the minds of the people who work with company files on a daily basis. It’s important that employees can worry about getting their jobs completed without worrying about what’s going on behind the scenes.
Adding file encryption to your network security program involves both implementing a file encryption solution as well as building awareness. Knowledge workers need to understand the threats and vulnerabilities of portable files. USB drives are easy to lose; laptops are often stolen; and personal PCs are often infected with spyware. By holding network security awareness workshops and training sessions, you can solve some of these problems.
However, while some file encryption options are built into the Windows operating system, they generally require the user to remember to encrypt the file or place it in an encrypted folder. People get busy; people forget. Thus, file encryption policies spelled out in your network security program are not 100 percent failsafe.
In addition to creating a formal policy and training your team, consider a more robust form of file encryption: disk encryption software. By encrypting entire disks, you can largely take individual users out of the equation. Depending on the disk and file encryption software you use, you may even be able to extend the encryption to USB ports, thereby minimizing yet another risk. This will benefit your company in numerous ways. One of those ways is that it takes out the human element of having users remembering to encrypt the file.
Any business with sensitive data needs a network security program that addresses the need for file encryption. This means most businesses! After all, if your business has customers, it also likely has sensitive customer information that needs to be protected.