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Marketing departments have been adopting information technology (IT) at a furious rate—to the point where IT analyst firm Gartner predicted that CMOs would be spending more on technology than chief information officers (CIOs) by 2017.

With this investment, Marketing departments are generating and storing vast amounts of data, such as product designs, customer data, and early drafts of financial results.

Moreover, Marketing departments have become the buyer of many different IT solutions to handle all the data, such as mobile marketing, marketing automation solutions, CRM, content management, file sync, and share and analysis tools.

Marketing also tends to be populated by highly creative people who enjoy the free flow of ideas, and they are often under the gun to meet oppressively tight deadlines.

When one combines this panoply of technology and sensitive data, with the general work ethos of creative marketers, corporations create a risk.

Oversharing and Data Security Concerns

We've all been guilty of the following from time to time: In a rush to finish a project, we send out a flurry of business documents in unencrypted email or upload them to a consumer-grade collaboration tool—only to later realize that it might not have been appropriate to expose the content in question to some of the recipients.

That kind of "oversharing" is a common problem, and though it may seem like a harmless "bending of the rules," it actually jeopardizes corporate data security and compliance posture.

The balance between security and productivity has been a tradeoff in business since the advent of the first locked file cabinet. And though the ease and speed of free file sharing and unencrypted email may seem irresistible, more secure options are available to people today that can deliver fully compliant security provisions without impairing productivity.

These three tips can help you eliminate the risk of oversharing by embracing safe and secure content collaboration.

1. Identify the appropriate medium for sharing sensitive information

Email is great but only appropriate for certain business processes.

Unfortunately, in many organizations today, email is being used for all business processes. The gating factor on email use is often the sharing of large files—and in many cases, workers are turning to free file-sharing services to do so.

If you work in an organization with any security or regulatory concerns, chances are you have access to secure communications and file-sharing technologies, such as encrypted email, or secure file-sharing applications.

You should get into the habit of integrating these technologies into your daily activities. Forming new habits requires a little effort, but in doing so, you will spare yourself the consequences that could stem from bad habits.

2. Steer clear of free personal productivity and content collaboration tools

There is no such thing as "free" in regarding security.

You may enjoy the convenience of a "free" cloud file-sharing service, but you may not realize that when you use these services, you lose control of your documents as you load them into an insecure cloud. And in regulated industries, there is the added problem that these services do not provide an easy audit trail—so your easy sharing could be causing onerous security and regulatory problems for your company.

So, if you're sharing photos with Grandma, fine—use that freemium service. If you're doing business, talk to your IT department about acceptable approaches for secure file sharing.

3. Maintain control of your content—wherever it goes

In today's era of mobility and collaboration, workers and partners are often operating beyond the reach of corporate security infrastructure. In this environment, security provisions must be embedded into the content you are sharing, so you can maintain control over documents even when they are outside your organization's IT infrastructure.

Document collaboration technologies that provide integrated information rights management capabilities can deliver this kind of control, even when the documents are downloaded and taken offline.

* * *

We live in amazing times, in which sharing any piece of information with any person at any time is easy.

Marketers, however, need to be aware that they often work with highly sensitive and even regulated content, so they need to share information in the right way.

If you are not aware of the tools at your disposal for secure collaboration, a good first step is to ask your IT department what tools are available for you to use.

By integrating those tools into your daily activities, you can keep your creative mojo going, without creating a security nightmare for your company.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister is field chief technology officer at Intralinks, a global provider of secure enterprise content collaboration solutions.

LinkedIn: Daren Glenister  

Twitter: @DarenGlenister