Three Simple Steps for Preventing SharePoint Data Leaks

Three Simple Steps for Preventing SharePoint Data Leaks

Three Simple Steps for Preventing SharePoint Data Leaks

By Micheal Mullen | March 24, 2015

Recently, Steve Marsh, Director of Product Marketing, spoke with Clark Buckner at TechnologyAdvice about the rise of data breaches and how Metalogix’ free Insider Threat Index could help. TechnologyAdvice helps buyers compare business technologies that store data, like CRM software and project management software. Marsh has been a long-time advocate for better compliance and governance within SharePoint environments. During the interview, he focused on three specific tips for improving how SharePoint professionals can bolster their governance.

1) Permissions and access to content: SharePoint is a living, breathing thing and over time people start making shortcuts when they want to grant access to content. Admins should think about controlling permissions via groups and not individuals. “So say I have a piece of content in SharePoint, and someone asked me for access to it, it's easy for me to say, ‘OK no problem, Clark. I'm going to give you read permission directly’ without thinking about what group should I assign Clark to. Should I request to add him to the Metalogix Insider Threat Index reader group? That path of least resistance isn't aligned with what we should be doing from a security and compliance perspective.”

2) Auditing and monitoring: Admins need to watch their environments over a longer period of time and the right auditing and monitoring tools can help find those changes as they happen, not after they happen. “If we can start monitoring in a better way ahead of time and start to be warned when something has changed when it comes to a security setting, something has changed in the number of people looking at a certain document or site. It could be that we have inadvertently given permission to a great new project that we're working on. Then all of a sudden, instead of the 10 person project team looking at that document, the whole company is looking at that content.”

3) Separation of duties: SharePoint environments can be complex places, especially when it comes to managing who has higher level permission to view content. “We have different levels of authority in SharePoint such as farm admins and site admins. We need to separate out what the permissions are. So we shouldn’t have site administrators with all the access to all the content in the same account. Even with the IT department, should they have access to all the company's salary information? Probably not. I'm sure there's be a policy against that. The ITI can help you find a lack of separation of duties where these high level accounts have permission to content within SharePoint, which potentially puts you at risk. Not from a security breach but from a compliance breach. Think about this in the business context of expenses. Say that the team goes out for a meal, who pays the check? The most senior person at the table, the manager. We do this with business processes, we should be doing it with business processes as well.”

Insider threats can happen to any business and the effects can be devastating for any company. Not knowing your company’s risk for potential data breaches is no longer an answer when a breach occurs. The Insider Threat Index is a free and simple tool that gives SharePoint 2013 administrators a new look at their security protocols to see how they meet, exceed or miss today’s best practices.


Micheal Mullen

currently serves as Senior Content Manager at Metalogix. Previously, he's authored or edited content on sites including ZD Net, Deltek, The Washington Post and L-3 Communications. Hunt him down @metalogix and on Facebook.

Written By: Micheal Mullen

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