Dropbox is recognized as the company that has introduced file sharing and cloud to the public, by proposing a solution that is simple to use, and free. In May last year, the service had 300 million users and is still one of the fastest growing in the world. Business owners and IT administrators are forced to address the subject. Understanding the risks is important, but to solve the problem we need to understand why employees use the solution in the first place.
Why do employees use Dropbox?
1. “Dropbox is easy to use”
2. “Dropbox is free”
3. “Because I use Dropbox at home”
These reasons explain why Dropbox is popular among consumers. For businesses, these reasons do not justify the security risks that Dropbox creates. But employees have different priorities; productivity affects the employee more than the potential hazard of using an “unsafe application”.
So there are two more, indirect, reasons why employees use Dropbox:
4. Because organizations are too slow to adapt and propose an alternative
5. Because approved alternatives are often functionally inferior or time-consuming
Take the corporation informing their employee to use web-based Sharepoint and upload files manually instead of using Dropbox. It won’t happen – unless it is rewarded with a performance bonus, maybe?
So, employees like Dropbox. Why don’t employers?
The free version of Dropbox lacks the security, oversight and accountability that a business requires. If you frequently share files with contractors or collaborators – Dropbox does not allow secure sharing via logins and setting expiration dates or download limits. Therefore, any files that are shared using Dropbox are publicly available using the share link. Or, using Dropbox basic, the stolen or discarded laptop of any employee cannot be remote wiped – so the risk that sensitive files or folders fall in the wrong hands are many times higher than by using and promoting a business solution. And, using Dropbox means replicating your sensitive data to unknown data centers worldwide.
Any organization that turns a blind eye when employees use services like Dropbox, accepts an increase of the risks of data being lost, stolen, deleted by accident or shared with the wrong parties.
Differences between personal and business needs
Personal needs are very different from business needs, especially when data and security are involved. Businesses run on information and knowledge – it is generally easy to identify business information that would allow competitors to approach or steal customers and to endanger the company’s position. But the needs of employees are often identical to personal needs.
Business solutions that will succeed copy the features that make Dropbox a success, but address the issues that make Dropbox a risk.
So what are the exact security risks of Dropbox or similar consumer-grade file sync services? And how can these issues be addressed?
Continue reading here – or read about how vBoxxCloud solves typical Dropbox issues here.