ShareFile Blog

Sharing the wrong way: Tales of the worst document breaches in 2016

We all do our best to protect our data, but good intentions don’t protect documents. Over the years, we have seen and heard some pretty hairy situations that could have been prevented with tools like ShareFile. While we think about healthcare and financial companies having the most to lose, any business can suffer from a breach. Regardless of industry, these breaches resulted in lost information and revenue with the occasional lawsuit.

So in the name of document security and preventing a breach in your business, we are sharing some of the scariest document breaches in 2016. If you feel like you need therapy after reading this, just give us a call. We’re here for you.

Beware the risks of thumb drives

Passing sensitive documents with thumb drives and external hard drives leaves a lot of room for human error. Within the past six months, a school district misplaced a thumb drive that included information on all of the active employees in the full name, address, and Social Security number of its employee. The school district has no leads on who might have taken it, and how it escaped the sight of the district office, but that information is now vulnerable.

ShareFile eliminates the need for a hard drive, as data can be stored – and shared – in a secure cloud. Administrators can limit access to those files and monitor views and downloads.

An ex-employee takes more than just his severance package

Even some of the companies we consider most secure make mistakes. The FDIC announced a data breach in April 2016 that affected 44,000 customers when an outgoing employee inadvertently downloaded sensitive information onto a portable hard drive device. The FDIC has not provided the specific information that was compromised but did state that the employee had authority to access personal information “for bank resolution and receivership purposes.”

Tools like ShareFile allow you to remove file permissions when an employee leaves your company, ensuring information is never accidentally taken outside your organization.

Oops…wrong client

We’ve all been there. We sent an email to the wrong person. Unfortunately for Google, its third-party benefits management company accidentally sent a big email to the wrong person when it shared employee information with a different company. The information included the employees’ names and Social Security numbers.

We recognize that accidents like this happen, so it’s important to have a tool that helps limit risk when they do. ShareFile helps you revoke access to documents if they’re sent to the wrong person and helps you confirm you get the right person in the first place. For our enterprise customers, we recently released new Information Rights Management (IRM) that helps you customize permissions even more. Learn more about enterprise IRM here.

Fear not, there is good news

You’re probably now noticing vulnerabilities in your own business and contemplating how you can tighten document security. Don’t fear! Our US-based Customer Care organization is happy to help you learn more about document protection with our SmartStart service.

Ready to learn more? Sign up for a free trial now.


*Some business names have been removed for privacy. Learn more about data breaches like these on and