What is file security?
File security is all about safeguarding your business-critical information from prying eyes by implementing stringent access control measures and flawless permission hygiene. Apart from enabling and monitoring security access controls, decluttering data storage also plays an important role in securing files. Regularly optimize file storage by purging old, stale, and other junk files to focus on business-critical files. Tackle data security threats and storage inefficiencies with periodic reviews and enhancements to your file security strategy.
How is file security different from data security?
- Files are the most basic securable units of a repository. Often data is stored and shared as files and folders. Therefore, file security is a subset of data security that focuses on the secure use of files.
- Data security protects data in use, in transit, and at rest. Infrastructural and software controls are used to implement stringent data security strategies. File security, on the other hand, protects sensitive files like personal information of customers and other business files.
Why is file security important?
To protect sensitive data
Personally identifiable information (PII), electronic personal health information (ePHI), confidential contracts, and other business-critical data must be stored safely. Careless transmission or use of such files could lead to data privacy violations, resulting in heavy fines for the organization.
To secure file sharing
Files transferred through unsecured channels can be misused by insiders or hackers for malicious activities. Comprehensive data leak prevention software can help prevent unauthorized movement of business-critical data out of the organization.
To avoid data breaches
In 2019, personal details of 10.6 million MGM resort guests were breached. The impact of such a breach can be fatal to any organization. It is not just the fines and legal consequences, but also the loss of trust that can destroy a business.
File security best practices
- Eliminate permission hygiene issues
The principle of least privileges (POLP) ensures that only the bare minimum privileges required to complete a task is granted. It is advisable to define access control lists (ACL) for files and folders based on user roles and requirements. Resolve permission hygiene propagation issues like undue privileges, and open access to files with a security permission analyzer.
- Secure file sharing channels
All file transfers should be authorized and secure. Audit all the possible ways files can be transferred, and block private devices like personal USB drives. Use USB data theft protection software to stop unofficial data transfers.
- Implement file server auditing
Be wary of multiple failed accesses, bulk file renames, or modifications. Mass, unofficial file modifications such as delete events may indicate a ransomware attack. Be prepared by automating your incident response against file threats with robust file server auditing software.
- Enforce authentication and authorization protocols
Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users in your organizations. MFA makes it difficult for hackers to penetrate the network. Authorize only valid and official data access requests. Grant open access to all employees and partners only when necessary.
- Conduct file storage analysis
Analyze and manage your file repositories periodically. Know where your critical files are stored in the organization. Continuous review of stale files and unused files helps eliminate permission misuse incidents. Revoke permissions on files owned by former employees. Compute the cost of storing stale files with the help of our infographic.