Feb 14th, 2013
There once was a time when cloud computing was seen as an advanced, intimidating technology, utilized only by sophisticated startups and major corporations. This is no longer the case. Now, the cloud is largely seen as a basic business tool, used by firms of all sizes and from every industry. With the cloud, a company can increase collaboration and flexibility while cutting costs.
However, for all its benefits, the cloud is not without risks. By increasing data accessibility for employees, the cloud also increases the risk that an unauthorized user will gain access to sensitive corporate information. Only by taking proactive steps to improve security can firms embark upon a new strategy in the cloud with minimal risk.
Unfortunately, many firms are coming up short in this regard. As a recent Varonis Systems study revealed, companies frequently utilize the cloud without sufficient protection, leading to high-risk situations, Automotive International reported.
The study found that many companies upload a wide range of files into cloud-based environments on a regular basis, without reservations on the part of corporate leaders. These files include emails, spreadsheets and customer relationship management (CRM) databases, the news source noted.
Making matters worse, the executives and managers in these organizations often do not have a complete understanding of how this data is handled once it reaches the cloud. Sixty-seven percent of IT managers polled by Varonis Systems did not know where corporate data was stored, and nearly three-fourths did not have processes in place to keep track of which files had been transferred to the cloud and which had not.
This lack of oversight and security measures can create risk for such companies.
"The biggest consequence of file synchronization services is that security is breached. Private data can become public property, which means that all kinds of rules have been broken," the report stated, according to the news source.
These rules include numerous industry-specific regulations concerning corporate responsibility for protecting client data. If a firm does not take adequate steps to provide this protection, it may face fines and other sanctions from regulatory bodies. Failure to invest in sufficient cloud data-protection tools or to develop strategies for these behaviors would likely lead to such charges.
The report noted that this trend of cloud-based data sharing without corporate oversight is being driven primarily by employees. As workers increasingly work from home and while traveling, they inevitably need to access and distribute corporate data from outside the office.
"So naturally, they are turning to consumer friendly tools to help them coordinate all their work environments," the report stated, according to the news source.
Programs such as Dropbox, while very useful for an individual's private use, simply lack the necessary security features to meet corporate standards.
To use the cloud with a reduced risk of experiencing a data breach, firms need to leverage data sharing solutions that are easy for employees to use but also secure. For example, Globalscape's cloud FTP tool is a convenient, cost-efficient resource that allows for data transfers in the cloud without the need for a clunky, inconvenient protection process, as competing products typically require. This means employees can use the more secure solution without any additional effort, which greatly incentivizes usage.