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Online secure collaboration technology beats postal strike

CyberArk Software : 20 October, 2009  (Technical Article)
Cyber Ark discovers the advantages to doing business through online secure collaboration instead of using postal services
The impending postal strike is causing headaches in companies large and small across the UK, but the strike could actually do firms a favour by accelerating their move away from the paper trail that binds our businesses to the Royal Mail.

Google has the right approach with its Google Wave offering which is billed as the collaborative successor to electronic mail. But many businesses - anxious to comply with the upcoming regulatory requirements - are concerned about the security of their Internet communications.

The irony of this is that paper communications - snail mail sent through the post - are about as secure as a chocolate teapot. Switching to a secure online collaborative work environment does what may seem impossible. It saves money on postage. It saves time. It helps firms meet their regulatory requirements on security of data.

This pleases the accountants, the auditors and the governance professionals. It won't please the Royal Mail, but since they cause the problem for UK PLC in the first place....

Mark Fullbrook, UK and Ireland director with secure collaborative systems specialist Cyber-Ark, says the postal strike will do UK firms a favour by speeding up the e-enabling of their businesses. 'Our technology supports a process known as digital vaulting and secure file transfer between geographically separated people. Like others in this space, we've seen a spike in our business in recent weeks as firms realise the need to move into the 21st century with their communications,' he said.

'And as they look into our technology, they are realising it can actually save them money and speed up their work processes, as well enhance their data security,' he added.

According to Fullbrook, secure data collaboration is already in use with a number of government bodies around the world, and it can also help businesses meet their regulatory needs. In many ways, he explained, the postal strike has done the private sector a favour, as it forces the impetus for change where it did not exist before.

'The Royal Mail may have shot itself in the foot over this strike, but overall, forward-thinking businesses will actually prosper, as they employ secure collaborative working practices to beat the strike, save money and better meet their data security requirements,' he said.

Cyber-Ark recently carried out a survey amongst 416 large multi-nationals to find out how they go about transferring sensitive documents with external suppliers.

80% felt they were using secure methods however when questioned in more detail, only 13% actually were using secure file transfer methods, with most choosing pretty unreliable methods such as:

- 9% sending sensitive documents in the post,
- 11% using a courier
- 20% just emailing the information
- 32% using `secure email'
- 43% using file transfer protocol (FTP) technology, which is not re-knowned for its' security

According to Fullbrook, back in 2006 the Royal Mail faced a record 11.4 million pounds fine for failing to adequately prevent mail being lost, damaged or stolen.

Against this backdrop you don't, he said, need to be a maths genius to realise that, if nine per cent of the UK's businesses are sending sensitive documents through the post, then several thousand of these items will go missing each week.

'Secure collaborative working also solves this problem as well, as it means businesses will not lose their sensitive documents in the mail,' he said.

'Using technology such as our Inter-Business Vault, which supports secure file storage and sharing, is a win-win situation for almost everyone. Of course we sympathise with the postal workers but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and this strike has one that can actually benefit UK PLC,' he added.
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