There appears to be a void in security around companies' Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure even though SharePoint usage is on the rise. This puts SharePoint servers and employee PCs at risk for data-stealing malware; outside customers, clients, partners, and remote employees who share the same collaboration platform also become vulnerable to the growing complexity of Web threats that can spread silently, but destructively.
A survey conducted by Osterman Research and commissioned by Trend Micro of 269 IT managers involved in overseeing the messaging and collaboration infrastructure of their organizations found that only 60 percent have currently deployed security, leaving 40 percent unprotected. Of those with security, many organizations are still vulnerable -- they are relying upon file server antivirus products, which fail to adequately protect SharePoint content and users.
The survey, which involved companies from North America, France, Germany, Sweden and the U.K., also found that many of these organizations allow external users to access their SharePoint systems: 48 percent of these outside users are contractors, 38 percent are business partners, 30 percent are affiliates, and 20 percent are customers. This leaves endpoint security outside a company's control and increases the potential impact of data loss and compromise.
The survey showed that approximately seventy-two percent of SharePoint users surveyed cite protecting business-sensitive information as the biggest need for SharePoint security, and 43 percent cite preventing malware as their top concern.
Web threats have increased by nearly 2000 percent since 2005 and collaboration systems like SharePoint that enable real-time interaction and information sharing are more vulnerable than ever to cybercriminals who target business-critical information. The sophistication of these threats, many of which are executed through social engineering tactics, demand security that keeps SharePoint repositories free of viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware, as well as protect against data loss.
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