Why end-to-end encrypted cloud storage beats file server and VPN security
Many IT teams still see company file servers as one of the most secure ways of ensuring employees have access to shared files. Despite productivity limitations, the security of storing company data on-premises is compelling. However, remote and hybrid workforces are challenging this perception. VPNs that provide access to file servers from outside the office are unstable, slow, and newly proven to be insecure. However, all hope is not lost. With end-to-end encryption, companies can secure the cloud to enable safe remote collaboration.
FTP – Traditional safety
File sharing is one of the most common operations performed in a modern workspace. In many ways, it’s at the core of every business operation. Yet, while cloud storage has become widespread over the last decade, several companies have continued to use their traditional FTP, SFTP, or SMB file servers. In many cases, these exist in parallel with cloud storage for the most sensitive data companies should not (or cannot) store on a public cloud.
The practice survived despite the inherent downsides of maintaining a company file server. Purchasing and maintaining the dedicated hardware is only one. Hiring professionals to set up and administer your solution is even more expensive. Not to mention every employee’s favorite: “This file is already in use” error message, or until recently, limited access when using mobile devices. Admins can also have a hard time with clunky access controls and supporting teams using multiple operating systems.
The answer to why company file servers are still common is simple. Storing files on your own hardware and premises can provide the most security and control if done right. The cloud, after all, is not an inherently secure place, as we’ve touched on before.
For companies in heavily regulated or high-competition industries, the security benefits still outweigh the slight drop in productivity in many cases.
Trust in VPN security shattered
Naturally, file servers have always had their limitations. Collaborating with third parties is one of them. Companies face the choice of setting up complex network segmentation or providing a third-party VPN access to the entire company network. This latter is something no security-conscious team should be willing to do. As a result, email attachments have become the first-gen work-around, giving rise to a slew of their own problems.
The other limitation arose when workers began spending more and more time outside the office (and then all their time outside the office…). Team members on the go or working from home need access to the same files and data. While VPNs take some know-how to set up, are sometimes unstable, and slow network traffic considerably, they still seemed safer than most alternatives.
But the pandemic has changed everything. Companies scrambled to ensure business continuity under lockdown. Meanwhile, malicious actors worked to exploit the security flaws of remote work solutions. VPNs were quickly proven to be less secure than previously believed.
Securing cloud storage with encryption
Many companies now find themselves facing a new dilemma. Remote and hybrid work are the new norm, but trust in VPNs is broken. In fact, trust is the problem with most remote collaboration and file sharing solutions. But what options do companies have? Are they now forced to accept that remote work is a security risk and order their teams back to the office as soon as possible? Luckily, no. The solution lies in choosing tools that minimize the need for trust in providers and provide technical assurances.
An end-to-end encrypted cloud collaboration platform, such as Tresorit, can do just that. As no data ever leaves user devices in unencrypted form, no one, whom you have not given access, will ever be able to read your files. Even if a hacker were to gain access to our servers somehow, all they would find is gibberish, terabytes of it. As a result, you can safely migrate even the most sensitive files to the cloud with no risk. Tresorit can even help you solve compliance with strict industry regulations, such as HIPAA, TISAX and FINRA, through data residency options, access controls, and unbroken encryption.
A safer work-from-anywhere world
Securing data stored on the cloud is one thing. Overcoming the sharing and collaboration limitations of file servers and VPNs is another.
Using Tresorit, you can invite third parties to a single end-to-end encrypted shared folder. This gives them access to the files they need but keeps them far away from your company network. In addition, as Tresorit syncs shared folders between all users’ devices, you can rest assured that everyone is working on the newest version of a given file.
Use sharing links to provide access to a single file while retaining control over who can access it and how they can use it. For example, limit access to certain email addresses, add a password, block downloads, or add virtual watermarks to protect files. Your admins can enforce selected settings on a per-role or even company level to ensure maximum security.
Our digital workspace also empowers teams to do their best work efficiently and securely wherever they are. Editing badges help teams avoid conflict files without limiting access to files already in use elsewhere. Outlook and Gmail integrations replace all email attachments with secure sharing links, keeping you in control of your files.
At Tresorit, we believe in making privacy simple for both admins and users. We believe it’s best if you don’t have to trust anyone with your data. As everything stored in Tresorit is end-to-end encrypted and protected by our zero-knowledge authentication, no one but you, and those you have given access can see your files. As a result, you always stay in control of your data. Traditional cloud storage solutions cannot replace file servers when it comes to storing sensitive files. An end-to-end encrypted cloud is the best way to provide better security without sacrificing remote productivity. That’s why we’ve created our secure digital workspace to empower safety-conscious teams in the work-from-anywhere world.