Dave Kinsey 2014-09-03 01:24:26
From Consumer-Grade File Sync Services Consumer-grade file sync solutions (referred to as CGFS solutions) pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility of their company data. Below are seven of the biggest risks that these services pose to your firm and your clients. Data Theft Most of the problems with CGFS solutions emanate from a lack of oversight. The firm has no visibility or control of how the data is being handled through CGFS. Additionally, use of CGFS solutions can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. These personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increase the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties. Data Loss Lacking visibility over the movement of files or file versions across end points, CGFS solutions improperly backup (or do not backup at all) files that were modified on an employee device. If an end point is compromised or lost, this lack of visibility can result in the inability to restore the most current version of a file or any version for that matter. Corrupted Data In a study by CERN, silent data corruption was observed in one out of every 1500 files. While many businesses trust their cloud solution providers to make sure that stored data maintains its integrity year after year, many CGFS solutions don't implement data integrity assurance systems to ensure that any bit rot or corrupted data is replaced with a redundant copy of the original. Improper Data Handling CGFS solutions give carte blanche power to end-users over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information that can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third parties. Compliance Violations Since CGFS solutions have loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, you could be setting yourself up for a compliance violation. Some regulations require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict controls over how long files are kept and who can access them. Loss of Accountability & Data Ownership If employees are using their own personal CGFS accounts, you run the risk of client confidential information being casually synched along with the employee’s family photos in an account entirely out of your firm’s control. Even worse, when the employee leaves your firm, there is absolutely no realistic way to revoke access to data already stored in their individual account. Loss of File Access Consumer-grade solutions don't track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you're trying to determine the events leading up to a file's creation, modification or deletion. Additionally, many solutions track and associate a small set of file events which can result in a broken access trail if a file is renamed, for example. CGFS solutions pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Allowing employees to utilize CGFS solutions can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches. Many companies have formal policies or discourage employees from using their own accounts. But while blacklisting CGFS solutions may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees will ultimately find ways to get around company firewalls. The best way for business to handle this is to deploy a firm-approved application that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they feel they need to be productive.
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