Before proliferation of computing technology, businesses would send their confidential documents either through snail mail, fax or a third-party courier. Today, however, majority of sensitive data and files are transmitted electronically. With speed and comfort, security has become the number one priority when documents are electronically changed, in today’s business environment. It is important for businesses to perceive how safely and securely their digital documents and files are exchanged, while performing risk analysis communication procedures with their respective business partners.
Although extremely common, regular email and file transfer protocol (FTP), are no longer secure methods of transmitting digital documents. Even though there are numerous programs that can help protect the transfer of documents through email, it is important to understand the security methods that are employed by these programs before utilising them. Some common email programs offer a certain level of security options; however they are not often automatically integrated.
Other variations of FTP include: individual encryption, SSH File Transfer Protocol, Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), virtual private networks, and FTP over Transport Layer Security that can provide significant measure of security, albeit with some issues. These issues range from simple passwords, physical encryption, data integrity concerns, platform compatibility snags, and other adaptation problems.
Dangers of Openly Dispatching or Transferring Classified Data Files
The Dangers of Openly Dispatching or Transferring Classified Data Files includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Data files being tapped or bugged during transfer
- Forbidden accession to classified data;
- Failure to abide by polices and ordinances
- Reputation in jeopardy due to infringement of customer classified information; and
- Financial hazards — forfeiture or penalties for noncompliance or violation.
Although the above mentioned points are not comprehensive, it brings out a substantial number of grounds to assess one’s process whereby classified data is exchanged with respective business associates.
Data Control and Digital Signatures
When one addresses the issue of protecting classified information, the following criteria become relevant: Discretion/privacy, permission, accountability/responsibility, principle, credibility and affirmation. The first three criteria are concerned with data/information control while the remaining criteria are concerned with digital signatures. In controlling data, one makes sure that the classified information is restricted to only permitted individuals that can have access to that information.
Document control also provides for responsibility/accountability concerning the usage of the classified information. In most cases, data control takes place when a certain monitoring mechanism transmits usage information back with the original sender. Digital signatures authenticate that the sensitive information has not been amended and that it arrived from the individual who actually transmitted it. Digital signatures also provides for affirmation, in that the transmitter cannot disclaim communicating the data file.
Classified information need to be safeguarded and the processes employed to do so, should bear in mind that specific requirement. Business functions and operations must be surveyed and reviewed intermittently to provide protection for classified information and to ascertain that the security measures are synchronized with compliance essentials. Latest technological advancements utilised to transmit classified data files should be an integral part in the risk assessment procedure before it is executed. Recent technological advancements utilised to transmit classified data files should be an integral part in the risk assessment procedure before it is executed.