Your business generates gigabytes of new information every day, from word docs and spreadsheets to presentations and media files. But the same content that keeps ideas moving and helps build your company’s future, also represents a challenge. As an organization, how do you manage and secure this wealth of data beyond each individual creation and distribution of a file?
An online file sharing and storage service like Hightail provides numerous ways to manage your business content throughout its lifecycle. Hightail also enables your business to retrieve and preserve information if there’s ever an unusual event, like a legal request, external audit or an uncommon internal demand.
The traditional model for a records or content lifecycle has three stages: 1) creation or receipt; 2) use and maintenance; 3) disposal.
At Hightail, we think about files in a similar way, but with two essential differences. First, we emphasize control throughout the cycle, and, second, we include an additional stage: collection.
As an administrator of a Hightail for Enterprise account, it is important to consider these four stages and understand how Hightail can help you manage and protect your company’s data.
Stage 1: Creation
When a user uploads a file to a Hightail folder or shares a file with others, they are creating content in Hightail. Rock solid encryption technology protects this data during storage and transit, but an account admin has a number of other ways to control this information.
You can prescribe the use of Hightail’s sharing controls as a corporate policy. This means you can decide that all shared files must require password protection, identity confirmation or expiration dates. These policies can even be applied to specific groups within your organization, so, for example, you can ensure the legal department must employ tighter sharing controls than your marketing team.
You can also choose to whitelist or blacklist specific domains. These controls are useful for dealing with external parties, for example if you want to ensure that a trusted partner can easily receive files or you want to prevent information from being passed to a direct competitor.
Stage 2: Use and maintenance
Hightail’s online folders provide a simple way for users to continually access and update existing content. Version control makes it easy to revert to or reference previous versions of a document.
The account administrator has the ability to monitor all activity, from overall usage, via the admin dashboard, to individual file sharing, via the Usage Report. The former is useful for checking data usage and monitoring bandwidth, while the latter provides insight into which files are being shared and where the data is going. Watching this data can help identify suspicious activity and protect your business from the kind of internal information leak that led to the Wikileaks and Prism revelations.
Stage 3: Collection
It’s not uncommon for businesses, especially large organizations, to need to collect specific information quickly and efficiently for any number of reasons, from internal research to external auditing.
One, often arduous, task is the e-discovery requests that accompany a legal action like litigation. Hightail for Enterprise’s Usage Report makes it easy for an account admin to gather the right data thanks to clever filters that give you greater flexibility in your search. Not only can information be collected by filename or content, it can also be filtered by date, person or an action, such as sending a file or sharing a folder.
Once this data has been quickly collected, you have the opportunity to preserve the content if legally required to do so. Users can be disabled so that folders are no longer accessible and links to shared files can be blocked.
Hightail has recently introduced a new feature that allows you to download shared information so the files can be preserved elsewhere. Previously you would know that an action had taken place (user A sent a file) but would have to request the actual content from that person. Now you have full access to all of your company’s data, via the Hightail usage report.
Stage 4: Disposal
When a user leaves a company, the admin needs to decide what to do with all their business data. With Hightail, it’s easy to disable the user’s account so they can no longer access the files, then transfer all the information to another user or delete it. If the user has shared files or folders with others, you can choose to block their access.
Hightail for Enterprise plays a hugely important role in the management of a company’s content. From creation to use and maintenance, through collection and final disposal, Hightail gives you full command of your company’s information, while also providing the controls that help protect its value.
To learn more about new ways to monitor user activity from your Hightail usage report, check out our dedicated Higher Learning page.
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