Managing your IT assets is growing more difficult and IT compliance is getting tougher. New cloud based applications, file sharing services, devices and external storage units get connected to your network all the time.

If this doesn’t scare you, it should. In fact, 63% of data breaches come from internal sources* — aka your employees or the processes and procedures they use on a daily basis. This makes IT compliance a top concern. Ensuring you have the building blocks in place to make sure your assets are secure is of the up-most importance.

What is the concern with IT compliance?

Before we go any further in defining the building blocks, let’s discuss why IT compliance is a concern. Jennifer Lonoff Schiff of describes the problem well.

[IT departments] … have to ensure that the organization is in compliance with various industry and federal regulations (PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA) designed to keep sensitive customer data safe. An increasingly difficult task in today’s decentralized, mobile, app-filled world.

IT compliance is a growing trend and issue for IT directors. Let’s face it, if there is a data breach, you’re the first person management is going to call and the person they’ll hold at least somewhat responsible.

Putting best practice policies in place will help you prevent internal and external security breaches, but these 3 building blocks will help you as well.

3 Building Blocks of IT Compliance: Connecting

IT compliance is tough when you can’t directly control the assets. An application like Dropbox is easy to connect to your existing infrastructure since there’s tons of plugins or integrations for it. But what if your marketing manager uses a new cloud-based product still in beta? You need a friendly and strong API to ensure you can connect whatever your employees think of in a prompt and secure manner.

Your existing network needs to be flexible enough to connect to these products. One way to do that is to get a File Exchange Platform (FEP) like the SmartFile Appliance. The SmartFile Appliance helps you build and control your IT assets in a flexible, secure manner. You can add tons of end points and custom developed integrations to your existing network without losing sleep at night.

Here’s a video breakdown showcasing some of the ways an FEP can connect to new and existing network assets.

Regardless of your current network capabilities, you need to get everything connected for IT compliance purposes. On a weekly basis, ask your employees if they signed up for any new cloud or file sharing based products. Master your API, which is easy if it’s well designed like SmartFile’s, and connect it to your existing network. That way you don’t lose sleep at night and your employees can work efficiently.

3 Building Blocks of IT Compliance: Monitoring

Without the ability to track your files across your entire network, you cannot become IT compliant and connecting new assets doesn’t really matter. Did your new marketing manager create an internal Dropbox account? Is it connected to your network so you can see if your marketing manager deleted, shared or edited the files within that Dropbox?

Either you need to prevent your employees from creating these accounts, which is hard, or connect them to your network and monitor them. But even if you connect them to your IT infrastructure, can you see who has access to those Dropbox files and what’s being used? That’s why monitoring is so important.

An FEP can help you monitor all your IT assets. You can get notifications when files are accessed, used, shared or even deleted. This is useful in a variety of ways. For instance, if your employee gave his or her two week notice and copies several marketing dashboards for their future use, you’ll know about it.

Make sure that you inform your employees regularly that files on the network are company property and should not be taken home or used on non-IT controlled computers. Just remind them that this is for customer and company security.

Even with a FEP, there’s more work that needs to be done, which leads us to the final building block for IT compliance success.

3 Building Blocks of IT Compliance: Teamwork & Communication

The human elements of teamwork and communication make up the third block of IT compliance. Since you can’t control your employees, this is by far the hardest building block.

The difficulty with the teamwork and communication block is making sure everyone’s on the same page. People like what they’re comfortable with and they want to be efficient. Using a FEP gives everyone, whether the user is tech-savy or not, a simple and easy to use interface. None of your employees will be turned off by the application.

No matter what type of application you use, ease of use is important. If people find something burdensome, they’ll go rogue. They’re not trying to hurt the company on purpose, they’re trying to be efficient. Efficiency often causes a lot of IT compliance issues though, but you avoid that if people love using a product. That starts with simplicity and ease of use, which the SmartFile Appliance provides. In fact, feel free to try a FREE 14 day cloud subscription if you want to see how easy it is. This is the same interface you’ll find on our SmartFile Appliance that helps you with IT compliance.

Once people see how easy the application is, they won’t have any problem telling you that they need to add an external cloud based application. Actually, in the case of vendors like Dropbox, those external companies might disappear since the SmartFile Appliance can do just about all of that as well.

Concluding Remarks

With IT compliance, you can’t ignore the human element. Communicate with folks. That human element is just one building block though. You need a system that is easy for you as the IT administrator and easy for the employee. If you can’t quickly connect and monitor your files, or they can’t easily use an interface, you’re going to struggle with these 3 building blocks for IT compliance.

Contact us and let’s build IT together so you can rest assured that your existing or new infrastructure is safe, secure and flexible!

*2014 Data Protection and Breach Readiness Guide (Online Trust Alliance)

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About Curtis Peterson

I'm the Digital Marketing Manager for SmartFile who loves content, email marketing and web analytics. As a child, I built awesome websites with animated starry night backgrounds and multi-colored font headers on AngelFire and GeoCities.

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