A recent survey by WinMagic, a UK-based storage security firm, highlights some interesting, if not disturbing, information about employee use of cloud file and storage services. Speaking with over 1,000 employees at companies with at least 50 employees, the survey found that both users and businesses appear to be unclear about the need to protect cloud data, and how to do it.
Key findings of the survey:
- Only 35% use a service sanctioned by their employer
- 50% use personal equipment to access work information and services at least once a week
- 65% of employees don’t have or don’t know the company policy on cloud storage
- 5% use cloud services knowing that the service has been restricted by the company
The disparity between IT policies regarding the use of cloud storage and employees habits is troubling, particularly given the risk of data corruption, loss, and breaches.
The solution is not to avoid the cloud. Nor should you create a draconian culture around technology and cloud usage.
- Create and share a clear, concise policy on the use of cloud services, and IT in general, for your company
- Clearly require that work related to data to be stored only in sanctioned systems and services, and the work and personal applications and data be completely separate.
- Provide a suite of services that meet users’ needs
- Ask users which tools help their productivity and evaluate the secure, business versions. Remember that one size does not fit all and you may need or want multiple options.
- Monitor and manage access, security, and privacy
- Deploy systems that let you monitor and manage access to company data, the security of the data, and your data privacy compliance. In addition to user identity and access controls, monitor and manage file permissions based on content along with 3rd party application (especially mobile app) access to your data.
- Inform and educate your team
- You do not need a series of boring lectures and meetings to indoctrinate your team into the new world order. A clear, concise discussion regarding appropriate use policies gets the message across.
- Be nimble and communicate
- Cloud is still fairly new and services are constantly evolving and launching. Users’ needs are changing constantly as well. If you can respond to your users with tools and services that meet their needs, you eliminate their “need” to circumvent the official tools. Communication about why certain
A balance of useful and secure cloud services, clear policies that promote responsible use, and tools that monitor and mitigate risks will improve not just your security profile, but your efficiency as a business.