How File Sanitization Enables Productivity Without Sacrificing Security

File Sanitization & Productivity

File sanitization declaws any file-based malware – preventing it from unleashing a cyberattack even if downloaded by a user. Before examining its impact on productivity, a short overview on what file sanitization actually is:

Malware analysis and sanitization begins with a thorough inspection of the file to understand its structure and content. This involves parsing the file to identify its various components and detect any embedded scripts, macros, or other executable content that might pose a threat.

Next, the process moves to disarmament, where potentially harmful elements such as macros, embedded scripts, and active content are targeted. These elements are either completely removed or neutralized, ensuring that any code that could be executed maliciously is rendered harmless. The legitimate pieces of data are reconstructed into a new file, retaining the original’s format and functionality – just without the malicious components. 

This ensures that users receive a file that behaves like the original, without the associated security risks. Finally, a quick verification process ensures that it functions correctly and contains no remnants of malicious content. 

Quick Takeaways

  • File sanitization saves time: Rather than manually verifying a file’s authenticity, this automated process analyzes every instance of file sharing across an enterprise.
  • File sanitization prevents attacks: Instead of leaving vulnerable departments open to attack, it can cut and alter files to remove the malicious components. 
  • There are two types of analysis: Static and dynamic take different approaches, with the former analyzing code from a distance and the other running it in a secure sandbox.
  • It secures every avenue of communication: Rather than focusing solely on email, file sanitization can be implemented across Teams, Outlook, Slack – any place where employees and customers share files.

How File Sanitization Benefits Productivity

File sanitization significantly enhances productivity by allowing employees to crack on with day-to-day tasks, without worrying about the integrity of every file shared. This can make noticeable differences within sales and finance teams, which are uniquely dependent on the fast and easy transfer of files. 

Eliminate Manual Security Checks

By automatically inspecting and cleaning files before they are accessed, it’s possible to significantly lessen the burden of endless manual security checks – or even worse, the aftermath of genuine security incidents. By seamlessly integrating into your employees’ native workflows, it offers security enhancements at no cost to time-sensitive work processes.

Removing Friction

Today’s workplaces demand fast and fluid information transfer: files need to be frequently exchanged, and these avenues of collaboration can happen between employees, departments, third-party suppliers, and recruitment suppliers – to name a few. 

Removing the friction caused by security fears allows employees to adopt digital tools and resources at an improved pace. 

More likely to embrace new technologies and platforms, employees that know they’re protected trust their tools much more. 

Staying Compliant

Last but not least, file sanitization contributes to regulatory compliance. 

Crucial for avoiding legal complications, an overwhelming number of international regulations now demand comprehensive data protection measures. 

How File Sanitization Maintains Security

Over three quarters of malware spread happens employee-to-employee. This is thanks to the – almost inevitable – higher level of trust between employees. Once upon a time, this was preventable through a firewall that protected a company’s internal networks from those on the outside. 

Nowadays, however, employees and their devices are spread far and wide. 

File sanitization allows your security to reach the very edge of your organization’s networks. Eliminating the embedded scripts, macros, and other executable content cuts off some of the worst avenues of attack when deploying trojans.

Zero-Day Attacks Prevention

It’s not just known malware that sanitization prevents: by analyzing the predicted behavior of a file, zero-day attacks are significantly more likely to be prevented. 

Proactively identifying and removing active content in a file – rather than relying solely on signatures – keeps your organization safe from otherwise unpreventable zero-day attacks. After it’s removed, files are prevented from losing critical data, ending in a clean yet essentially original file version. 

Improving Employee Protection

Another major component is the ability for file sanitization to keep employees protected across all communication channels. Rather than protecting just email inboxes, file sanitization protects users across Teams, Slack, and other messaging apps.

Choosing the Right Sanitization Tool

To make the best decision for your enterprise, consider the two types of analysis, and how it fits into your wider defenses:

Static Analysis

Static analysis scrutinizes the file for indications of malicious intentions. This method can effectively identify malicious infrastructure, and packed files. Static analysis relies primarily on technical indicators – including hashes, file header data, and domains – by tools like disassemblers and network-focused analyzers. 

This allows analysts to gather information on its functionality without risking running it.

Dynamic Analysis

Dynamic malware analysis involves running suspected malicious code in a secure environment known as a sandbox. 

This isolated system allows security professionals to observe the malware’s behavior without risking infection to their systems or the broader enterprise network.

However, note the drawbacks of each: static analysis only looks for generic signs of potential malware, and dynamic analysis relies on a sandbox. Sophisticated malware strains can be built-in to evade these kinds of detection: either by detecting the signs of a sandbox and not running, or obfuscating the specific macros that cause harm. 

To manage this risk, file sanitization needs to play a single role within your wider security strategy.

Secure a Wider Security Strategy with Perimeter81

Your multi-layered security strategy should include strong password policies, regular software updates, and employee education on security best practices. Support a culture of security with robust solutions like Perimeter81’s Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). This grants a new degree of security to remote access, helping cut off chains of attack even in the event of a successful trojan.

 See how Perimeter81 can bolster every area of your network and access security today.



What is file sanitization, and why is it important?
File sanitization is the process of cleaning files to remove potential cyber threats like malware or malicious scripts. It’s important for protecting systems and data from cyber attacks.
How does file sanitization work?
File sanitization involves analyzing files to detect harmful content, removing or neutralizing it, and then reconstructing the file to ensure it’s safe to use.
What types of threats can file sanitization prevent?
File sanitization can prevent threats such as malware, viruses, embedded scripts, and malicious macros that could exploit vulnerabilities within files.
Can file sanitization impact the usability of my files?
No, file sanitization aims to preserve the original format and functionality of your files while removing any malicious content.
Why should businesses incorporate file sanitization into their security strategy?
Incorporating file sanitization enhances overall security by proactively removing threats from files, reducing the risk of cyber attacks and protecting sensitive information.

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