Hyper-Secure Organizations: 4 Business Consequences of Locking Down

Cartoon of a masked man holding a computer and pointing to a file

Over the last few years, the vast majority of businesses have raced to digitize as quickly as possible. However, there are major players in several industries – mostly financial organizations, critical infrastructure facilities, and government institutions – that are so concerned with file security that they’ve created hyper-secure digital business environments, free of all digital file transfers.

But in their effort to prevent hackings and data breaches, these ultra-secure organizations are crippling their employees’ productivity, costing millions in lost working hours, paper trails, and last but not least: attacks coming in from employees’ personal file sharing and sending tools. Let’s dig into what hyper-security is, why some businesses have chosen to go this route, and the 4 major business consequences hyper-secure organizations face today.

What is Hyper-Security?

These days, organizations have taken their safety measures to new heights with the implementation of hyper-security. Hyper-security refers to the practice of an organization taking every precaution they can to protect themselves from damaging cyberattacks and data breaches. On the surface, this is perfectly understandable – the way they see it, businesses today lack a truly secure file transfer method. Organizations would prefer to avoid millions of dollars in damages and the massive amount of bad publicity that comes with a data breach, by going the safer route and blocking social media websites, content collaboration platforms such as Box, Dropbox, and Slack, and web conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, and Skype. They also forbid downloads from the web, USB portals, executables, and files with macros or JavaScript.

In organizations wary of today’s digital threats, there’s simply no way to avoid working with traditional methods for the transfer of files. However, while traditional measures do provide the necessary protection, hyper-security has its fair share of consequences.

1. Hyper-Security Enhances the Risks of Shadow IT

Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, one-third of successful cyber attacks on an enterprise will occur via shadow IT. That’s because by locking down digital file transfer, organizations may end up inadvertently pushing employees towards installing their own forbidden content collaboration platforms and messaging apps to covertly transfer files and speed up their own workflows. 

Shadow IT poses a major security threat for actual IT and cybersecurity employees because what they don’t know about, they can’t control. Ultimately, a business failing to enable secure file transfers by blocking them altogether could lead to a data breach, a ransomware attack, or another devastating cyber attack. And unfortunately, this is not despite its hyper-secured policies, but because of them.

2. At Hyper-Secure Organizations, Productivity Suffers

Hyper-secure organizations may seem as though they are doing everything in their power to enhance the safety of their employees, but in doing so many employees end up suffering from the restrictions put in place. For example, let’s take a wholesaler at a hyper-secure insurance company with no digital file transfers, uploads, or downloads permitted and a hard copy-based filing system. If our wholesaler needs to send sensitive information to a client, she’s faxing it. If she’s waiting for a contract to come in, she’s waiting for a fax in return. If she’s sharing numbers with a coworker, she’s walking a spreadsheet down the hall. If she’s looking into benefit information, she’s flipping through a filing cabinet. Above all, what she’s doing in each of these scenarios is wasting her work time, which in turn, causes her frustration, slows down her workflow, and costs the organization a lot of money.

Let’s do the math – if this wholesaler deals with ten file transfers a day, then she’s probably spending a conservatively estimated three minutes per transfer operating the fax machine, hand-delivering a file, or preparing a document for the mail. That’s 30 minutes per day wasted on the logistics of non-digital file transfer, 2.5 hours per week, 10 hours per month, and 120 hours per year. For a wholesaler making $65,000/year or about $34/hour, that’s $4080 yearly wasted on one employee trying to work a fax machine. So, as you can see, the effects of hyper-security do not only dampen productivity, they can add up. And that’s money that could be better spent elsewhere.

3. The Loss of Potential Clients

Now, let’s say our same wholesaler needs to get a formal agreement approved by her bosses to close a deal with a potential client. All she needs to do is email the agreement to the bosses from the car, get their approval, and email it back to the client before she’s even back at the office. That’s how it would go for any wholesaler working for a business with a secure file transfer system. However, this wholesaler works at a hyper-secure organization and is racing the clock and a number of other wholesalers to get the hard copy of the agreement in front of her managers and then faxed to the client.

And what about the client? In this digital age, if the client can’t manage these files on their mobile phones, chances are they’re not going to do it at all. According to a Salesforce Research study that surveyed 6,700 global consumers and business buyers, 59% indicated that companies need to provide cutting-edge digital experiences in order to keep their business. Harder to hack or not, fax machines do not fall into the category of cutting-edge digital experiences. Without transformation, organizations fall behind and potential clients will take their business elsewhere.

4. The Cost of Paper May Affect the Bottom Line

Studies have shown that the average employee uses over 10,000 sheets of paper in a year, which equals between $80 and $100 per employee, while maintaining the average file cabinet can cost upwards of $8,000. Multiply those totals by the number of employees in an organization and the number of file cabinets, and it isn’t a stretch for even a small investment firm with just 20 employees and one file cabinet per employee to be looking at over $160,000 in paper costs. And these are statistics from the average organization, not even from hyper-secure organizations that rely more heavily on hard copies. For a large organization that blocks digital file transfer, paper costs could easily get into the millions of dollars.

Reconciling Security with Productivity

Ultimately, the answer for any organization – regardless of how “hyper-secure” they need to be – lies not in blocking the digital transformation, but rather in securing it. These highly secured organizations can only stay efficient, and thus profitable if they add another layer of file sanitization to their existing infrastructure in order to send and receive files.

Here at Votiro, we know that implementing file sanitization will improve business processes and workflow, reduce frustration for clients, save money and hugely reduce the risk presented by shadow IT. Otherwise, productivity is dramatically damaged, and as a direct consequence, so is the revenue stream. By leveraging our proprietary Positive Selection® technology, your organization can enjoy the benefits of an added layer of security without compromising your productivity.

Ready to learn more about how Votiro can strengthen your file transfer strategy? Contact us today!

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