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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Overcoming 'the Dropbox problem'

To avoid the Dropbox problem, it is imperative that business decision-makers ensure that workers have secure file transfer solutions readily available.

Category:   Secure File Transfer

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As the consumerization of IT has gathered speed in recent years, businesses have both gained tremendous opportunities and encountered new challenges. Take, for example, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. By allowing workers to use their personal devices for work-related purposes, businesses will typically see significant productivity gains. Additionally, because employees prefer their own smartphones and tablets over company-issued ones, job satisfaction also frequently improves.

But BYOD also poses risks for companies. One of the most critical and dangerous of these is "the Dropbox problem," as Ian Story, an IBM senior product manager, recently highlighted in an interview with Bank Systems & Technology. In order to reduce the risk of experiencing data loss or exposure due to this issue, it is imperative that business decision-makers ensure that workers have secure file transfer solutions readily available.

The Dropbox problem
As the source explained, the Dropbox problem occurs when employees use Dropbox or other, similar consumer-grade box file sharing solutions to access, distribute or view corporate data on their mobile devices.

This tendency is understandable. After all, workers need access to company-owned files in order to conduct their job responsibilities. If they cannot retrieve these files as needed, they will struggle to perform effectively.

The problem is that Dropbox and other consumer-focused solutions are not secure enough to be entrusted with valuable, sensitive corporate data. Yet as Story explained, many employees are doing exactly this, due to the fact that their companies do not have better, more secure tools in place that can fill this need.

"This means [the content] is detached, and the enterprise no longer in control of the content," Story said, according to the news source. "This introduces enterprise risk … You don't want to put [customer] information on Dropbox, but every day people do this."

When employees resort to Dropbox or other consumer-grade file sharing options, the risk of a data breach occurring increases dramatically. These offerings are simply not designed to offer a sufficient level of data protection. Whereas their inherent security may be sufficient for individuals' personal information, they cannot hold up against cyberattackers focused on stealing valuable corporate data.

Better solutions needed
As Story noted, businesses frequently fail to provide employees with tools for sharing data, leading to the Dropbox problem. By investing in more secure solutions, firms can avoid this issue.

However, it is imperative that businesses choose carefully when evaluating potential secure file transfer solutions for their employees. Obviously, the quality of the security offered and cost are two of the most significant factors to take into account. Unfortunately, though, many business leaders only focus on these elements, and overlook a third crucial consideration: ease of use. This is critical because if a secure file transfer solution is unwieldy or time-consuming, employees will look to more convenient options, such as Dropbox, for their file sharing needs. It does not matter how advanced a security tool is if no one uses it.