File storage best practices

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File analysis helps evaluate the file storage and security posture in organizations. File metadata and disk space analysis will identify security and storage aspects and help probe them in depth. File analysis software streamlines this process by tracking, reporting on, and alerting stakeholders about permission inconsistencies and space-consuming redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data. Follow these file server storage best practices when reviewing file server storage and security in your organization.

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10 file storage best practices


Reconcile file and data security efforts

File security is a component of data security that requires careful consideration. When setting up data security measures, align your goals with your file security aspects. For instance, reconciling sensitive data discovery and classification with file encryption will help in securing sensitive data easily and effectively.


Define file management polices

Formulate clear, well-laid-out policies on file storage, permissions allocation, file transfer, and archival and disposal to set up sound file repository management. Define an expiration threshold to clear out old and stale files belonging to inactive users, which can be identified with the help of a file storage analyzer. Establish rules for the management of employees' personal files as well.


Detect permission inconsistencies

File permission allocation can be tricky and serves as a loophole to hackers trying to exploit file permission issues. Look for files with open access, inconsistent permissions or inheritance, and inactive files with elevated permissions. You can get easy-to-access reports on effective permissions and hygiene issues using a security permissions analyzer.


Root out old, stale, and duplicate files

Junk data or ROT files occupy a lot of disk space, leading to not just higher overhead but also security risks if left unanalyzed. Optimize file storage space by archiving inactive files and deleting duplicates and older versions. Use a file analysis tool to spot redundant files and discard unwanted data. Additionally, inspect these files using a PII scanner to secure any files containing sensitive data.


Monitor crucial file events

Employ file integrity monitoring (FIM) to instantly detect unauthorized file manipulation or exfiltration. A FIM tool helps detect modifications, deletions, copy actions, and more. It enables real-time reporting to examine potential insider activity or malware encryption. Implementing FIM will also help comply with regulations like the GDPR, HIPAA, etc. for securing sensitive data.


Locate and classify sensitive data

One of the most important aspects of file security involves sensitive data discovery. Scour your file repositories for sensitive data occurrences to apply both content- and context-based security measures. Data discovery and classification tools can be used to identify data security violations based on which adequate measures can be taken to secure personal data.


Track file activity on the cloud

Cloud access security brokers help with vigilance over file activity in cloud applications. Track file uploads and potential downloads to storage apps like Dropbox, SharePoint, etc. to oversee which files are leaving the organization. Block user access to risky and unproductive websites using internet filtering software.


Regulate endpoint activity of users

Safeguard data at rest, stored in endpoints, and in removable storage drives. Data leak prevention software combines various capabilities to combat cybersecurity risks to files in endpoints. This includes insider threat detection, USB data theft protection, file copy prevention capabilities, and more. Use file encryption measures as well to ensure that stolen data is not accessible to hackers.


Control user access to files

User authentication and authorization is essential to thwart credential theft or data exposure from stolen devices. Deploy multi-factor authentication to combat identity theft and brute-force attacks. Enforce role-based access control to grant users only the privileges required to perform their duties adequately.


Reassess file repositories periodically

While you work on protecting files currently in use, perform periodic reassessment of file accesses, permissions, disk space utilization, and backups as well. Files need to be reassessed incrementally to identify both content changes and contextual aspects like modifications to permissions due to user role changes and new user access. Continuous assessment and improvements in file storage and security is imperative for a sound data protection system.

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