Ignoring Contrary IT Policy, One Fifth of Corporate Employees Share Files on Dropbox


Do the companies use the storage service in the cloud? The vast majority of IT experts considered it as risk factor. IT has spent years working on desktop security and trying to prevent data loss over web and e-mail channels—but mobile devices are radically changing the game.

Take for example, cloud computing storage pioneer Dropbox is frequently used in business. This is not particularly surprising, because now more than 100 million people use the service. Now, a new study by Nasuni, specializing in the management of enterprise storage, shows that more and more employees are using Dropbox in their work to store and share documents–even when their IT department requested they eschew the cloud-service for a more secure managed service.

According to the company report, which interviewed 1300 employees in the United States, half of respondents know that storing business information in Dropbox is against the rules of their business. Still, one in five corporate professional stored documents in cloud services like Dropbox.

The survey also revealed that the vice presidents and directors are more likely to use 3rd party cloud services, despite the risks. The executive leadership positions were the first to bring their iPads and iPhones to offices and therefore also adopted applications that facilitate their work.

IT Polices Often Go Ignored

Tablets and iOS devices are replacing corporate laptops as employees bring-their-own-devices to work and access corporate information. These devices open the door to unprecedented loss of sensitive data. IT needs to be concerned about the data that mobile devices access and not the device itself.

More than 58 percent of employees in the survey with a personal smartphone or tablet access work files from that device. This increase in corporate documents in personal cloud services may draw the attention of hackers. Sensitive data stored on Dropbox are unsafe and, worse, are not controlled by the IT department, said the report.

The department that uses Dropbox the most is marketing (43%), followed by engineering (34%) and IT department (25%). The study also notes that three quarters of respondents on the verge of acquiring a new mobile device (smartphone or tablet) and will use to access business documents.

“Consumer file sharing services and mobile devices have introduced enterprise employees to a new world of powerful, easy to use capabilities,” said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni, in a statement. “And, as our survey demonstrates, because the enterprise has been very slow to roll out services with a comparable value, their employees are using the same services at work that they use to share photos and documents with their friends. As a result, enterprise IT is rapidly losing control of corporate data. It’s a risky proposition that IT needs to be in front of, and not behind.”

The results of a separate study by Websense showed that 78 percent of people interviewed believe that their mission critical BYOD devices place the organization at risk.

Similarly Ponemon Institute survey found that mobile devices put organizations at risk—risks that they do not have the necessary security controls and enforceable policies to address. It’s also clear that employees are deliberately disabling security controls, which is a serious concern

Last year, an employee at the cloud locker got hacked and customer e-mails were flooded with spam after using the Dropbox service.

As per the report, IT departments in companies are required to develop appropriate safety measures, or the employee to provide suitable alternatives. ShareFile is one alternative that provides both enterprise-level customer service as well as enterprise-level IT supports (although the service is not that widely used). ShareFile, managed by Citrix, can be integrated with an enterprise directory provides single sign on capability and a centralized security policy offering.