Leaked emails, hacked corporate information, and high profile data breaches seem to have become part of the regular news cycle these days and it can make the prospect of digital file sharing a daunting one for many organizations that rely on subpar solutions like email and free file sharing services. Leaks and hacking may not be the norm for most corporate and not-for-profit organizations in the world, but they are on an alarming uptick, and by the time any organizations finds its confidential information out in public, it’s already too late to think more closely about security.
Most organizations have long moved away from distributing paper board books as it’s an expensive and frustrating method that sometimes leaves certain directors out in the cold when information is updated at the last minute. In a post-paper world, that leaves 3 options: email, free file sharing services (i.e., Dropbox), and a board portal. Many organizations first move to email or free options; unfortunately, neither may meet the security standards that match the sensitive nature of the information. You can find plenty of reasons to avoid these solutions and instead opt for a board portal purpose-built for high security file-sharing at Aprio.net, but below you can also find some of the shortcomings of free solutions and how board portals can overcome them.
An administrator may send out files to the directors through a secure HTTPS connected in a corporate email system, thinking that they’re only available to individuals with access to that email account. Unfortunately, the administrator can’t control what the recipient does with the file and there are plenty of ways to put confidentiality at risk, such as downloading it from an unencrypted connection or even on public WiFi. However, given the nature of a director’s work, which can often involve travelling, there’s a strong demand for the ability to work while traveling, including on public connections and offline. Portals such as Aprio enable directors to access documents securely in public or offline through the software, minimizing the risk of a data breach.
Free file sharing systems like Dropbox require a bit of tech-savvy to use and mistakenly using them can put a lot of sensitive information at risk. Boards that practice good governance have a responsibility to guarantee the confidentiality of information like CEO reviews, M&A reports, or investment details that are all prime targets of hackers, and stories of these breaches quickly get picked up by the media. While you could instead create your own in-house solution, that can be an expensive use of IT resources, not to mention you would require your own server, which might not even be physically secure. Portal companies such as Aprio provide encrypted file-sharing for both sender and receiver by keeping everything within the portal, while its server hosting means that you’re covered during disaster recovery.
Only in October, Salesforce’s entire Mergers and Acquisitions report, listing 14 companies under consideration, was leaked because it was sent by email; take that as a lesson and move to a board portal as soon as possible.