Every day, individuals participate in a perpetual cycle of uploads and downloads as files are created, updated, and shared. However, there are risks throughout this cycle. Like any valuable commodity, data is continually being sought by bad actors.\n\nYet, many enterprises struggle to provide a secure data transfer solution that also provides a frictionless user experience.\n\nHow can IT leaders centralize control over file transfers while simultaneously ensuring that users embrace the data transfer solutions they put in place? For answers we turned to the experts in the IDG Influencer Network, a community of tech experts, industry analysts, and IT professionals.\n\nAccept that employees will use file-sharing tools\n\nThe pandemic upended the centralized data transfer controls at many enterprises.\n\n\u201cOver the past couple of years, we\u2019ve seen that the ways we communicate, collaborate and work have fundamentally changed,\u201d says Bill Kleyman (@QuadStack), EVP of digital solutions at Switch. \u201cCOVID-19 was both an accelerator for the transfer of data and a perfect storm for insiders to put data at risk, with Deloitte finding that employees are 85% more likely to leak files today than before the pandemic. This points to two truths: Users will continue to leverage file-sharing and data transfer tools to be as productive as possible. And secondly, everyone is a target.\u201d\n\nIt\u2019s a reality that Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), president and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems stresses is unavoidable.\n\n\u201cWe create roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily across the Internet,\u201d says Schober. \u201cThat adds up to billions of files moving across networks and onto desktops every day, so secure file transfer protocols are essential for both senders and receivers.\u201d\n\nIt only takes one breach or one file in the wrong hands to create a problem.\n\nCommunicate with users\n\nThe ramifications of compromised data can be severe. Gorilla Glue\u2019s Director of IT Infrastructure Cedric Wells (@cedricfwells) stresses that IT leaders must educate users on why compliant data and file transfer is important.\n\n\u201cAvoiding friction altogether is an excellent approach to take in general and it\u2019s no different when it comes to data and file transfers,\u201d he says. \u201cTake a step back and put yourself in the shoes of users to see what their experience is like and to gain a better understanding. Keep users involved and over communicate. The key is getting the communication right and getting buy-in from users through education.\u201d\n\nBenjamin Ajibade (@Benni_aji), data analytics lead, agrees: \u201cYou have to take into account the transfer method\u2019s speed, security, efficiency and dependability, as well as its applicably to your organization\u2019s size and the skill set of employees. Regardless, extensive training so teams understand the importance of data security and privacy ethics is crucial.\u201d\n\nDebra Ruh (@debraruh), CEO of Ruh Global IMPACT, stresses that society\u2019s expectations have also changed.\n\n\u201cOrganizations must create a secure, accessible, and usable experience for data and file transforms,\u201d says Ruh. \u201cBrands that misuse data, are not accessible, or don\u2019t care enough about keeping data safe are seen as bad players. It\u2019s important not only to do the work, but to tell us \u2013 your employees, customers, partners and vendors \u2013 about your efforts so we can support you.\u201d\n\nThis ensures users that their data is safe, says Brandon T. Jones (@BrandonJonesCIO), CIO at WAEPA.\n\n\u201cOrganizations must be transparent and educate users upfront and throughout the process to create understanding,\u201d he says. \u201cOrganizations can also gain trust by responsibly securing and encrypting data in transit and at rest. Personal information is sacred and should be safeguarded as such.\u201d\n\nMake file transfer easy\n\nJones also says that any file-sharing solution must be user friendly, and recommends a four-pronged approach to create a frictionless user experience that doesn\u2019t sacrifice security.\n\n\u201cOrganizations should take an approach that educates, simplifies, empowers and empathizes,\u201d he says. \u201cUltimately, by providing self-service tools, users are empowered to make informed decisions.\u201d\n\nKleyman agrees: \u201cWe must ensure that the user experience is never deprecated. What good is a secure data transfer architecture that no one wants to use?\u201d\n\nChoose the right technology\n\nA frictionless user experience isn\u2019t the only consideration. Any data transfer solution must address numerous security considerations.\n\nWill Townsend (@WillTownTech), vice president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy stresses that enterprises should employ zero-trust principles.\n\n\u201cBy authenticating users of applications rather than networks, enterprises can ensure the highest levels of security,\u201d he says. \u201cThis also safeguards data privacy and ensures compliance with frameworks like GDPR in the European Union and HIPAA for healthcare patient data in the United States.\u201d\n\nAnother suggestion is to account for user behavior, says Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), security architect and practice lead at Ascent Solutions.\n\n\u201cDeploy tools that have data loss prevention and user behavior anomaly detection built in and educate users so they know the best way to transfer files,\u201d McGladrey says. \u201cMake it as easy as possible for them to find and use the approved solution, and use a cloud access security broker to identify unapproved file transfer solutions.\u201d\n\nA delicate security balance\n\nCompliance and security considerations require a holistic approach, says Adam Stein (@apstein2), principal at APS Marketing.\n\n\u201cEndpoint, network, cloud, applications and data traffic \u2013 each vector provides a different potential security threat and UX challenge,\u201d says Stein. \u201cIT needs to blend these requirements into a unified threat management profile with real-time insight and actionable remediation.\u201d\n\nAll of this requires a delicate touch.\n\n\u201cAchieving a frictionless user experience for data and file transfers while ensuring streamlined security and compliance requires enterprises to strike a delicate balance,\u201d says Will Kelly (@willkelly), a product and content marketing manager. \u201cOrganizations seeking to purchase a solution must lead with their security and compliance requirements up front while also seeking a tool with a modern UX that satisfies their users.\u201d\n\nCheck out a demonstration of GoAnywhere and other secure file transfer solutions from HelpSystems.