People increasingly rely on their ability to access and share data in order to get their jobs done and to enrich their personal lives. Yet, corporate security policies around sharing are rarely effective in enabling their users to achieve their goals. We wanted to understand how users are sharing information, and how their needs are or are not met by current tools, policies and practices. We performed an ethnographic field study, interviewing a selected group of subjects about their practices around access control, security and file sharing. Our intent was to understand three things: under what circumstances to people or companies share or restrict access to files, what tools or behavioral practices do they use to accomplish that, and how are peoples experiences, problems and needs changing in regard to secure file sharing and access control, especially as they deal with geographically dispersed colleagues, clients, friends and family members?
Smetters, D. K.; Dalal, B.; Nelson, L.; Good, N.; Elliott, A. Ad-hoc guesting: when exceptions are the rule. ;login: the USENIX Magazine. 2008 August; 33 (4).