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Email is the backbone of most enterprise organizations’ communication infrastructure and an incredibly useful tool for business. However, email has also become the de facto file transport system for most organizations, a role it was never intended to play. As a result, large file transfers sent through email impede efficient email server performance and present security concerns, resulting in slow message delivery times, higher storage costs, slower backups and restores.

What enterprises need is an alternative to the status quo that will allow efficient and secure delivery of content in order to keep costs low and improve email server performance.  Here are 10 things an enterprise needs to do to ensure secure file transfer:

1. Enable anywhere, anytime access to files.
With every worker likely to have three, four or five mobile devices, IT must work on defining parameters around the use of multiple devices that are brought into the corporate environment and onto networks. Expectations of easy and convenient access to information and documents by these knowledge workers should drive adoption of new IT systems to enable this trend.

2. Make addressing mobile content management issues a top priority.  
Real time information sharing and streaming is forcing IT administrators to evaluate their infrastructure in order to guarantee security, a better user experience and enable users to create complex documents for better collaboration. To improve collaboration, make secure file transfer across mobile environments a key part of the enterprise IT strategy.

3. Don’t ignore Big Data analysis.  It is pointing out the need for secure file transfers at all levels of the enterprise.
Big Data analysis is pushing network infrastructure to the limits as sharing and manipulating large data dumps is taxing existing systems. But gains in insight are making IT expansion worthwhile. Utilize Big Data analysis as a core tool to improve a company’s overall business strategy.  With the tremendous growth in data as well as new Big Data initiatives in the enterprise, knowing where proprietary corporate data is and overseeing how it is transmitted and accessed enables a company to minimize corporate liability.

4. Get ready for the challenges mobile third-party apps present.
The threat of malware is increasing through Trojan horse apps – disguising themselves as innocuous mobile apps. Hackers are using these new hacking techniques and up the ante as they look to steal more important IP, trade secrets and enterprise research and development. Outside of having a draconian app installation whitelists (which is going to be nearly impossible if you’re allowing personal devices in the workplace), some device manufacturers are looking at supporting multiple personas on a single device – e.g. your home persona and your work persona, so you can isolate work-related use of your device.

5. Look for less onerous authentication processes.
If users have to enter a PIN for every app they use, they won’t bring the device in to IT in order to be managed. Enterprise IT should look for less onerous authentication processes while maintaining or even improving security. The heavy lifting of authentication should be done behind the scenes, invisible to the user and integrate more biometric/fingerprint information for access.

6. Improve reporting capabilities and secure transmission of documents as new compliance regulations go into effect.  
With more government compliance regulations, enterprises should look to add processes and more reporting capabilities to accommodate new regulations especially in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, and government. File sharing, fax, email and other methods of communication need more comprehensive auditing and reporting functionality to meet compliance requirements.

7. Boost broadband demand in the enterprise.
Streaming videos, 4K video, and other high bandwidth content are pushing existing communications infrastructure to capacity, and demand will only continue to grow. This is especially true in the corporate world as enterprise file synchronization and sharing continues to expand globally.

8. Embrace BYOD as an enterprise issue.
Adoption of smart mobile devices continues their dizzying growth rate, and people are doing more work with these devices. Enterprises should implement policies and procedures around personal devices and lay out procedures that outline how devices should be used within a corporate environment. With the use of BYOD exploding in the enterprise, it is more critical than ever for business to take control over their procedures regarding usage. However, be careful of #4.

9. Tread carefully into SaaS-land.
The software-as-a-service or SaaS is great for many applications, but security conscious enterprises who could be storing sensitive corporate data, customer information, financial records, or anything else that is highly confidential should ensure any compliance or regulatory requirements are still met, especially if the SaaS provider commingles files or if its employees can access your data without permission.

10. Leverage virtualization and FoIP where it makes sense.
Virtualization is becoming more mainstream in the enterprise with more mission-critical applications like SAP databases, Oracle applications and CRM applications that drive an enterprise’s core business are being virtualized at an increasing rate. Enterprise IT should continue to grow virtualized environments that increase utilization and capacity while reducing costs. Smaller physical footprints and improved resiliency also support virtualization. This goes hand in hand with cost savings and better utilization with IP-based communications and fax over IP (FoIP).

by Bill Ho, president of Biscom