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Drawbacks of Consumer-Grade File Sharing in a Highly Regulated Enterprise Setting

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Executive summary

Consumer-grade file sharing services require you to access your file share over the open internet. The very nature of transmitting sensitive data over this medium without proper protection can be a big problem for government contractors or other highly regulated industries.

Relying solely on Transport Layer Security (TLS) does not guarantee the data protection, privacy controls and auditing that your organization may need, leaving your company vulnerable to compliance violations.

Choosing a method by which you can guarantee that your data is transmitted via NSA-level encryption is a much more secure option for accessing data in your file share.

Using GoSilent Share guarantees this level of protection and helps to ensure:

  • Security of data transmission
  • Granular access control
  • Enhanced audit controls
  • Greater control over traffic destination

The long-winded version

Below you will find the more detailed, expository version of the content for those who like to read. Plus, the marketers made me write it...

We are often asked what makes our GoSilent Share file sharing service different or more secure than consumer-grade alternatives. One key factor is the fact that you can only access the file share through the use of a GoSilent Cube hardware VPN.

There are a couple of key reasons why using the GoSilent architecture, rather than connecting to a file share through the open internet, is especially beneficial to government contractors or other highly regulated industries.

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Security of data transmission

Any organization that deals with sensitive information often becomes a target of malicious attackers. The security provided by the GoSilent Cube offers improvements over consumer-grade services by providing NSA-grade protection for your data transmissions.

TLS transmission

Consumer-grade file sharing services typically rely on Transport Layer Security (TLS) for the transmission of data to and from the cloud. There are a few different encryption algorithms that can be used when on a TLS connection, with varying strengths.

The problem is that you can’t be guaranteed which level of encryption you are getting when relying on TLS. (Learn more about how a TLS connection is established here.)

Ultimately what is important about how TLS connections are established is that you are at the mercy of the chosen encryption algorithm that both client and server agree upon to guarantee the security of your data transmission. 

Guaranteed encryption levels

For many organizations that are subject to strict standards for data security, like government agencies or contractors, this is simply not acceptable.

Instead, those organizations need a guaranteed level of security that has been approved to meet the data protection standards of the NSA.

GoSilent Share was built on this very premise.

Because your data transmission to and from the file share can only go through a GoSilent Cube, you are 100% assured that your data will be transmitted using NSA approved encryption and security protocols.

The GoSilent Cube provides an IKEv2 IPSec tunnel with X.509 certificate authentication and enhanced audit controls.


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Access control

Another issue that consumer-grade file sharing tools often present is the level of security around access control.

The level of granular control you have with these tools depends heavily on which tool you are using.

Many consumer-grade tools allow for the sharing of files in the file share with outside parties or individuals not within the organization. This may be fine for some organizations, but for those who are subject to more strict requirements, it can be a problem.

You essentially have to rely on your team to comply with a usage policy, and not share items with anyone outside of those approved to see them. It becomes much easier to manage if this kind of sharing is controlled by the technology itself rather than based on each employee's adherence to policy.

GoSilent Share provides all the benefits of a typical file sharing system but adds the clear assurance that only those the organization has approved can see files in your shared folder.

Because each of your team would be issued a GoSilent Cube, and your file share can only be accessed through a GoSilent Cube, it is impossible for team members to share anything outside of your organization.

Enhanced audit controls

Most compliance mandates, and best practices, dictate that a full audit log should be available for every file activity in the share. Consumer grade tools do not meet this requirement, opening up risks for the business and gaps in cybersecurity compliance.

Consumer grade tools allow an audit trail for the initial group of users the file was shared with, but if any of those users choose to share that file with another person, the audit trail stops and no file actions for the newly shared users will be recorded.

Control of traffic destination

What’s nice about the GoSilent Cube is that by default, it is configured to only allow traffic to flow to the server or endpoint that has been configured. Meaning, once connected to an end-user device, it can ensure that any and all traffic can only go to the file share or central network. 

You can be assured that there is no way your data is flowing through to an endpoint you don’t want it to, as can often happen in spoofing attacks.

Summary

Consumer-grade file sharing solutions may offer convenience, but they have a few security drawbacks that may be deal-breakers if you are in an especially stringent industry with regard to cybersecurity regulations.

The addition of our GoSilent Cube hardware VPN to enhanced file-sharing capabilities changes the conversation, creating an environment where file-sharing actually can be highly secure and compliant.

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