10 Easy Steps to Comply with Secure File Transfer Mandates

by | Feb 28, 2022

File transfers are a critical part of doing business these days. Doesn’t matter what line of business you happen to be in, there’s some aspect of your administrative or financial operation that involves sending or receiving data to or from a third party. Often that information contains information that you need to keep private. In such cases, there’s a likelihood that you have to answer to one or more data security or privacy mandates.

Do you handle credit card transactional data? Then you need to follow the Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI DSS). Are you a medical, dental, or other service provider sending or receiving files containing protected health information (PHI)? Then you need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Do you have employees and manage information related to their payroll, benefits, and other sensitive personal data? There are fifty different states with fifty different privacy laws, and chances are you’ve got to comply with more than one of them. If you do business overseas there are different mandates for different countries and regions, like the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)… even China has its new Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL).

Data Protection Image

When protected information needs to leave your organization, that’s when it is most prone to being mishandled and mistakenly exposed to unauthorized individuals or intercepted by threat actors. That’s because in too many cases, the method of transfer is one that is not secure, and subject to the likelihood of human error. In fact, human error is said to be a factor in as many as 95% of all data breaches. Someone made a mistake that gave a hacker the opportunity to access data, or someone simply sent information, unprotected, to the wrong recipient.

Secure, managed file transfer software isn’t a panacea to all your data security problems, but it can be a vital ingredient to a data security and management program that minimizes the risk of error in everyday data transfers. And if you average even one data transfer a day, that’s 365 fewer chances of a costly mistake.

Good News!

The good news is, with a reputable managed file transfer product like Diplomat MFT), it’s an easy tool to add to your processes. And with Diplomat MFT, the better news is that it’s easier and more cost-efficient than you might think. In fact, there are ten simple steps to complying with secure file transfer mandates (and fewer than ten if you consider that some are automated). that might otherwise

  1. Create a secure configuration

Secure file transfer typically includes moving files outside your firewall. Encrypted files are secure on an FTP server outside your firewall, but your Managed File Transfer software processing those files should sit securely inside your firewall.

  1. Control access

Control access by limiting which users can set up and execute file transfers. Set up access controls to encrypt access data (e.g., passwords and pass-phrases), limit privileges based on the needs of each user, and terminate inactive sessions.

  1. Automate secure file transfers

Automate secure file transfers to reduce errors and limit access to sensitive information. Running jobs automatically means that users do not need access to sensitive information, such as user names, passwords, and pass-phrases.

  1. Authenticate users and processes

Require user authentication to ensure only known users with unique privileges can access your Managed File Transfer software. Then, track all user activity by capturing data each time file transfer set-up data is changed.

  1. Encrypt files with PGP

Encrypt all files in a secure area before they are transferred to an FTP, web or email server in the DMZ. Using secure transmission protocols only protects data in transit. As soon as files are at rest on a server in the DMZ, they are vulnerable to attack.

  1. Sign and verify files

Sign and verify files to ensure integrity and non-repudiation. Verifying signatures on every file ensures files have not been altered during transit and confirms the identity of the sender. In other words, the decrypted file is safe to be processed.

  1. Use secure protocols

Use secure protocols to protect logon data and add extra protection to encrypted files being transferred. Without secure transmission protocols, an encrypted file can be captured intact during transit and attackers can work on decrypting the file at their leisure.

  1. Archive encrypted files

Encrypt data files with your own master key before archiving. Encrypting archival copies of files with your own master key before storing in a secure location creates a repository of secure files that are safe and meet your business needs.

  1. Capture audit data

Capture audit data to demonstrate regulatory and internal audit compliance. You can demonstrate regulatory compliance or confirm to a business partner the encryption key and destination location used by a specific file transfer job.

  1. Monitor file transfers

Monitor file transfer jobs to rapidly identify potential security risks. If a security breach occurs, you need visibility of the specific file transfer jobs affected and the ability to suspend them until the security breach has been corrected.

If you want to add a managed file transfer solution to bolster your data security and management program, we’d love to answer whatever questions you have, demonstrate Diplomat MFT for you, or you can download a free 15-day trial of Diplomat MFT and see for yourself how easy it is.

Request a demo that fits your needs!