In Q4 of 2019, just 6% of U.S. office jobs were 100% remote. That percentage spiked to 35% during COVID-19 restrictions, however a return to pre-pandemic levels now seems thoroughly untenable. In fact, studies project full-time white-collar office positions will account for 25% of the workforce in 2023.
A strong majority (74%) of companies plan to expand permanent remote roles as they’ve already experienced an uptick in employee satisfaction and reduced operating costs. With an increasingly distributed workforce on the horizon for the foreseeable future, it has become a timely priority for businesses that handle and exchange sensitive information to assess the channels they employ and the associated risks of data breaches.
All modern businesses traffic in a certain amount of customer data – personally identifiable financial information, like account details, credit card numbers, in addition to more general pieces, such as purchase histories, etc. – but some industries require a greater depth of personal information, and are subject to separate standards of oversight and regulation. These include financial institutions, legal services, and healthcare.
Protecting client or patient data in the contemporary landscape of novel digital communications can prove challenging to even seasoned organizations. In this blog post, you’ll learn what information security risks are tied to different channels of information exchange.
Information Sharing Practices: Old and New
Here’s a breakdown of five different file sharing channels, and how they’re leveraged in today’s distributed workplaces.
1. Document Courier Services
Despite a general globalized trend of digital transformation across business practices, many companies still use courier services to deliver hard copies of documents, contracts, and other record types. In fact, the global document courier service market is on pace to maintain net growth through Q4 of 2024.
Unlike digital records, paper hard copies represent a compounded information security risk every time they’re printed or duplicated. Studies show that 75% of office workers still regularly print potentially sensitive company information, and many of these largely unused paper copies end up in the trash or recycle bin. Courier services introduce the same scale of risk on the delivery side. Hard copies can be misplaced, improperly disposed of, and destroyed in physical events such as fires.
For 92% of office workers, email and attachments continue to be the primary and preferred channel of document collaboration and exchange. Reliance on email should come as no surprise as more than half of the world’s population already use it regularly. It is the known and familiar option. Nevertheless, as a channel for secure communications, it introduces risks few users understand.
In addition to being inefficient due to threading archives, email is only as secure as the credentials of any user in the system. Among respondent organizations, 93% report having been victim of an email data breach in the last 12 months. Despite the known vulnerabilities of file sharing via email, most organizations offer scant phishing education content, and 85% of email-based data breaches continue to involve a human element – malicious or negligent.
3. File Hosting Services
Cloud-based file hosting services such as DropBox and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have become a staple of modern digital commerce. Compared to email as a digital option, these platforms offer users 256-bit end-to-end encryption and the enhanced security of multiple data persistence.
For data durability and security, the larger enterprise-level services provide IT and infosec services most small to mid-sized businesses can’t afford. These include SLAs that guarantee 99.999999999% object durability and 99.99% availability.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
At the apex layer of file sharing and collaboration technologies, there are secured integration platforms that enable live visibility into shared file states, with the added benefit of end-to-end encryption. For organizations that traffic in sensitive client data (thinking personally identifiable information), having a single, secure repository reduces infosec ingress points and hardens your organization’s outward posture by reducing network security vulnerabilities.
A handful of CRM platforms offer this level of secure file exchange channels, and allow users to attach files to contact or company records, thus availing them to any member of your workforce with the correct permissions.
5. Secure Client Document Portals
Last, but certainly not least, we have to mention client document portals. While known by a number of different names, these "client document portals," "document upload portals," or "document collection portals" all allow documents to be requested, received and share by both your organization and your prospect and clients. And many of these document portal solutions also offer bank-grade security, ticking the boxes necessary for use within regulated industries.
Secure File Sharing and Client Document Portals With FileInvite
For businesses such as financial institutions and healthcare organizations that cannot afford to traffic in probabilities and HR training effectiveness when it comes to infosec, secure file sharing warrants a commitment to a platform that specializes in precisely that. FileInvite offers users a SOC 2 Type 2 compliant, 256-bit end-to-end encryption service for bank-grade file sharing security. To learn more, we encourage you to sign up for a free 14-day trial.