Free file storage is a clear and present threat to the enterprise

Survey reveals that decision makers are concerned about unauthorised cloud storage solutions

While the cloud’s praises continue to be sung from every enterprise rooftop, a new report has highlighted that IT decision makers remain very wary of free file storage solutions.

The likes of Dropbox have become hugely pervasive at the consumer end of the market and as is so often the case these days, the concept has crept silently into the enterprise sphere. While these solutions are incredibly valuable to the single user, they are less welcome once they make their way behind the firewall of an organisation.

Shadow IT has been an issue in enterprise IT since the dawn of the Computer Age; however, cloud and mobile technologies have made it infinitely more difficult to control. It is perhaps no surprise then that a recent survey from Harris Interactive found that the majority of IT decision makers saw these services as a direct threat to security.

Of the 308 senior decision makers that were surveyed, 86 per cent said that free file storage solutions were creating a security problem for their businesses.

GigaOM, which analysed the results of the research, labelled it ‘the Dropbox problem’; and it wasn’t just low and mid-level staff that were causing issues, but senior executives too.

The truth is that there is only so much that can be done to physically prevent shadow IT and data leakage. The rest comes down to having appropriate policies in place, educating staff on the risks of unauthorised services and, at the same time, ensuring that the needs of employees are met.