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A New Mallet for Business Security Whack-A-Mole

New risks constantly rear their ugly heads in the game of business security. SAP just announced a solution to the latest threat: cloud-based file sharing systems

Business security is like that game Whack-a-Mole. As soon as you get one pesky rodent taken care of, another one appears.

Fifty years ago, business security meant having good locks on the doors, filing cabinets and employee briefcases. Once email came along, business security grew to include software that monitors email for viruses and making sure that everyone only uses their corporate accounts.

Then we all started bringing our mobiles to work. Business security evolved again to incorporate device management. IT can now lock down all the phones and tablets on the company network, mandate password protection and remote wipe them if they get lost or stolen—among other things.

But now there’s a new chink in the armour. Documents and data are bigger than ever. Put a half-dozen graphics in your PowerPoint deck, and the file is 10-20MB. Try to email that, or a video file, and you’ll likely choke your recipients’ email account.

So when we need to share big files, we find—ahem—workarounds.

Enter cloud-based file sharing systems: Box, Dropbox, SkyDrive, etc. Upload your multi-mega-bytes and send a link to your co-workers where they can download them. Easy. Trouble is, it’s also risky.

Many IT departments aren’t aware—or perhaps don’t want to know—how many confidential documents are out there on these services. There is a level of security, but it’s completely outside the control and audit of the company.

SAP (full disclosure: my employer) is now offering one way to solve the problem: SAP Mobile Documents. We announced it this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

SAP Mobile Documents is a service that lets companies set up their own file-sharing service. The IT department can roll it out company-wide and give employees a safe and official way to share whatever they need to share. You get the convenience of cloud-based service, but you get to keep corporate data behind a virtual locked front door. Mole: whacked