Ross Kirk - 14.04.202220220414

The Risks of Dispersed Data and Poor Information Management

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I recently had to perform several file share and file server discoveries. The result of this was to analyse the data into trends for each customer. Each customer has their business requirements, impacts, risks etc. but I have put together my top 5 common reasons why good housekeeping on file shares and file servers is important for many businesses. It can be a daunting task, but fear not! Read on!

CENTRALISATION

Information has an ability to get lost across numerous platforms. For example, end-user workstations, desktop folders, user mailboxes, and mobile devices, and public cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, and this is just the “usual suspects” there is more! Good housekeeping and file management allows businesses to bring information into a central location for ease of management and accessibility. There may still be a requirement to search through a few folders, however, this information should be consolidated into a single platform. The necessary security controls should be implemented alongside this. For example, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) polices within SharePoint Online (SPO), or Conditional Access policies on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) devices.  

Which leads me nicely on to my next point… 

SECURITY

There are many different solutions available for securing file shares and file servers. Adequate security controls are dependent on business requirements. However, there are common baselines which should be implemented. A centralised storage platform with good security will improve the security posture of the business and minimise the risk of potential data loss. This will also reduce the risk of reputational damage to the business and any potential costs which may occur from fines due to data loss or breach of compliance standards   

When working towards ISO 27001 or Cyber Essentials, having a messy file management system will dramatically reduce the progress of those projects. It is important to ensure all file management systems are aligned with the well-defined and understood business compliance policies.  

EFFFICIENCY

As IT people, we all know how difficult time management can be! Time management and efficiency are essential to the successful running of any business’ day to day operations. Efficient file management systems reduce the time users take to find documents. Most users are dealing with many documents daily so this can become a huge issue if this process is repeated regularly. A good file management system will ensure users remain productive reducing repetitive tasks.  

COMMUNICATION

The more sophisticated file management systems are, such as SPO and Microsoft Teams, this allows for enhanced communications. Users can IM one another, tag each other in documents, share the link to a file rather than the full file itself. Users can edit these documents and collaboratively achieve the same end goal! 

CONSIDERATIONS AND WRAP UP

When looking at complex and dispersed file systems, it is not only important to know what types of storage exist, but also the type of data created, stored, and managed. When considering compliance and information management, it is important to understand the risks associated with kinds of information and data created. Only then can you consider effective policies which should be derived from insights on your data.  

Data driven decisions will ensure wherever information surfaces within the organisation, the requisite management policies (security and storage) exist to protect both the individual and the organisation.  

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