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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dropbox usage widespread among SMBs, study finds

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Today's small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are evolving as technology comes to play an increasingly important role for firms in every industry. SMBs that fail to leverage emerging IT resources will struggle to remain competitive in their fields as their rivals are able to offer better products and services while operating more efficiently.

However, in their rush to embrace new technologies and tools, some SMBs are failing to focus sufficiently on the importance of ensuring the security of their organizations. Even the most advanced, powerful IT tools are only useful if they can be utilized without compromising the integrity of the organization's files and other data resources.

Unfortunately, many SMBs are not following this guidance when it comes to file sharing. As a recent study revealed, many SMB employees now rely on consumer-grade solutions, rather than professional, secure file sharing tools, thereby putting their organizations at risk of data breaches.

Risky habits
The survey, conducted by Spiceworks, included responses from more than 500 professionals from around the world. The study found that SMBs are increasingly relying on cloud-based solutions for a variety of business uses. Once seen as a relatively uncommon, unreliable technology, the cloud has quickly established itself as a basic, mainstream business tool.

"The survey results show that cloud-based services continue to be an integral way employees access information, communicate, and collaborate during their work day," said Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT program manager for Spiceworks.

However, not all of these IT services are secure. The survey found that half of participating IT professionals' employees are now using file-sharing services of their own, a 17 percent increase relative to last year. Critically, 93 percent of these respondents stated that their workers are using Dropbox for these purposes.

The problem with this situation is that Dropbox, while ideal for many individuals' personal use, is simply not secure enough to adequately protect company data. Ironically, despite the widespread use of this consumer-grade solution, the study found that security and compliance were among the most significant factors SMBs considered when choosing file sharing services.

These firms would be better protected if they chose instead to rely on dedicated secure file sharing solutions. Such options are just as easy to use as Dropbox, but are not nearly as susceptible to cyberattacks or inadvertent exposure.