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Risks of transferring data in and out of companies


Emily Keeling

Posted Jun 21, 2024

Data is constantly flows in and out of companies. Whether it's through emails, cloud storage, collaboration tools, or other digital means, the movement of information is vital for business operations. However, with this increased exchange of data comes significant risks. Let’s explore these risks and offers strategies for companies to safely share and receive information with external contacts.

Understanding the Risks

  1. Data Breaches and Leaks:
    • Cyber Attacks: External threats such as hackers can intercept or compromise data during transmission. Phishing attacks, malware, and other cyber threats exploit vulnerabilities in communication channels.
    • Internal Threats: Employees, intentionally or unintentionally, can cause data leaks. Insider threats can stem from disgruntled employees or from accidental mishandling of sensitive information.
  2. Compliance and Regulatory Violations:
    • Many industries are subject to strict regulations regarding data privacy and protection (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA). Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal consequences, damaging a company’s reputation and financial standing.
  3. Intellectual Property Theft:
    • Sensitive information, trade secrets, and other intellectual property are prime targets for theft. When data is not properly secured, competitors or malicious entities can gain access to valuable assets.
  4. Data Integrity Issues:
    • Data tampering during transmission can compromise the integrity of the information. Altered data can lead to incorrect business decisions, financial losses, and reputational damage.
  5. Third-Party Risks:
    • Collaborating with third parties introduces additional risks, as their security measures might not be as robust. Third-party data breaches can indirectly affect your company, making vendor risk management crucial.

Strategies for Safe Data Sharing

  1. Encryption:
    • In Transit and At Rest: Encrypt data both during transmission and when stored. This ensures that even if data is intercepted or accessed without authorisation, it remains unreadable without the decryption key.
    • End-to-End Encryption: Use end-to-end encryption for communication channels, ensuring that data remains encrypted throughout its journey from sender to receiver.
  2. Secure Communication Channels:
    • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): Use VPNs to create secure connections over the internet, protecting data from being intercepted by unauthorised parties.
    • Secure Email Services: Use email encryption services and secure file transfer protocols to protect data shared via email.
  3. Access Controls and Permissions:
    • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Implement RBAC to ensure that only authorised individuals have access to sensitive data. Limit permissions based on roles and responsibilities.
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Use MFA to add an extra layer of security, requiring users to verify their identity through multiple means before accessing data.
  4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Solutions:
    • Implement DLP tools to monitor and control data movement across the organisation. These tools can detect and prevent unauthorised data transfers, ensuring that sensitive information does not leave the company without proper authorisation.
  5. Regular Audits and Monitoring:
    • Audit Trails: Maintain detailed logs of data access and transfers. Regularly review these logs to detect and respond to any suspicious activity.
    • Continuous Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring solutions to provide real-time alerts and insights into data movement and potential security incidents.
  6. Employee Training and Awareness:
    • Security Training: Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about data security best practices, phishing scams, and the importance of protecting sensitive information.
    • Awareness Campaigns: Run ongoing awareness campaigns to keep data security top-of-mind for all employees.
  7. Vendor Risk Management:
    • Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence when selecting third-party vendors. Ensure they have robust security measures in place.
    • Contracts and Agreements: Include data protection clauses in contracts with vendors, outlining responsibilities and expectations for data security.
  8. Incident Response Plan:
    • Develop and maintain an incident response plan to quickly address and mitigate the impact of data breaches or security incidents. Regularly test and update the plan to ensure its effectiveness.


Data is money, and businesses often forget this. Look after your data just like you look after your money. Every exchange needs to be secure, so you can protect your data, maintain regulatory compliance, and safeguard your reputation. Investing in secure data sharing practices not only mitigates risks but also builds trust with clients, partners, and stakeholders, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of the organisation.