6 Secure File Transfer Best Practices

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Follow these top six best practices for securely sharing files to prevent data breaches.

Image showing statistics: 15% growth in cybercrime costs per year, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025

Global cybercrime continues to flourish and its costs continue to grow: Cybersecurity Ventures expects 15% growth in cybercrime costs per year, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025.

Ensure your secure file transfer solution includes functionality that supports the following best practices to protect your business-critical data:

  1. Incorporate multiple factors of authentication (MFA).
  2. Set up role-based access controls (RBAC).
  3. Establish and automate expiration dates.
  4. Apply end-to-end encryption to data.
  5. Track and audit file transfers.
  6. Use a tool developed for secure file transfers.

Let’s review the best practices for secure file transfers and how your organization can implement them.

1. Incorporate Multiple Factors of Authentication

As a first line of defense, configure password login settings that force a user to create strong personal passwords, such as requiring a mixture of special characters, letter cases and digits in addition to longer password length. Add another level of security to file transfer applications by utilizing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for sign on. MFA requires more than just a password to confirm a user’s identity.

2. Set Up Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC)

When role-based access control (RBAC) is implemented in your business infrastructure, each employee is allowed access only to applications and data that is relevant to their role and responsibilities. RBAC is closely related to the cybersecurity principle of least privilege. This principle means providing employees the bare minimum of access they need to perform their job. This helps keep information access limited to a need-to-know basis.

3. Establish and Automate Expiration Dates

“Nothing lasts forever” is a motto that should be applied when securing digital information. Passwords to access business applications and databases should have an expiration date (such as automatically expiring every 45 or 90 days) and a limit to number of wrong login attempts.

Files that are no longer relevant to your organization should not be kept indefinitely: Based on your organization’s specific needs, establish corporate data retention policies in addition to adhering to government and industry privacy regulations.

4. Apply End-to-End Encryption to Data

Files must be secured at all times, while at rest and in transit. The best method for doing so is encryption, a form of security where data is converted to cipher text. Only the key holders can decipher the code to access the information. Many types of encryption exist. Research and apply the type that best fits your use case.

A. Secure Data at Rest

Cloud storage providers such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure have state-of-the-art security, including encryption, integrated into every component to safeguard your data. If your data is stored on your own servers or cloud, be sure your security and defensive measures are kept up to date to guard against newly developed viruses and cyberattacks.

B. Secure Data in Transit

Sensitive, confidential files are frequently exchanged between and within businesses. They may be sent as attachments to emails, directly uploaded to server/storage by an individual or as part of an automated process. Make sure your organization provides reliable tools to share files securely in the form of

5. Track and Audit File Transfers

Now that your data is protected, ensure you know who and when it’s being accessed and/or transferred. Adopt software that tracks and logs all activities with the files, allowing you to audit and see where files are going and who is sending/receiving/accessing. This provides proof for time-sensitive commitments and contracts in addition to meeting compliance requirements.

6. Use a Tool Developed for Secure File Transfers

Investing in the right enterprise-level managed file transfer (MFT) solution allows you to easily accomplish the first five best practices! Many file transfer tools are available but they are not created equal and many are not complete file transfer solutions. Perform research within your organization to identify what use cases need to be solved and then do comparative shopping for the secure file transfer solution to best fit your needs.

Thru Secures File Transfers

Thru’s cloud-based MFT service provides automated file transfer and file sharing capabilities to businesses. We offer a complete secure file transfer solution that integrates seamlessly with other applications via connectors or available APIs. Our solution has several key features to help achieve compliance while securing your file transfers.

To learn more, go to our Secure File Transfer page »
 

2021 Report: Cyberwarfare in the C-Suite
fortinet.com/resources/cyberglossary/encryption

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