Early last month, Forbes.com shared the results of a CDW survey that asked 1,242 IT professionals about their companies’ use of cloud apps and mobile devices. Not surprisingly, the push to move organizations to the cloud is highly employee-driven. Seventy-three percent of respondents indicated that employees’ usage of cloud apps and mobile devices had “significantly influenced their organization’s decisions to adopt cloud computing.”
That’s because cloud services, and in particular cloud storage, offer employees many benefits, but topmost amongst them are remote access, the ability to easily share large files with coworkers and the capability to streamline processes by going from print and paper to digital.
Remote Access: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 24 percent of employed Americans work from home at least some hours each week; cloud storage offers employees access to the documents they need to do their jobs even when they’re not in the office.
Shared Access: As we shared in a recent post on managing document overload, responses to an Accenture study indicated many middle managers spend up to 2 hours a day simply trying to locate information they need to do their job, likely due to information stored on individual computers rather than in a location where multiple employees have access.
Easy to Access: Even with the best filing system, it’s easy to drown in the amount of paperwork the average employee has to deal with. Going digital streamlines this process, eliminating the clutter while streamlining processes and making it easier than ever to find the right document precisely when it’s needed.
The same survey, however, also found something alarming: 27 percent of respondents shared that people in their organizations are buying cloud services without involving IT. While file storage and file sharing services are exceptionally convenient, without carefully researching the services used and working internally to educate employees on proper usage, companies often put their secure data at risk.
How The Wrong Cloud Services Option Puts Your Business At Risk
Take the spam attacks against Dropbox last year as an example. In August 2012 Dropbox users were subject to a flood of email spam after a document containing their names and email addresses was taken from a hacked Dropbox employee’s account (granted, the results could have been much worse).
It turns out he had made one of the most common security mistakes: he used the same password for multiple accounts. Hackers often try username and password combinations from breaches of other web services in hopes people use the same combination on multiple sites.
2 Strategies to Prevent Cloud Storage Hacks
Despite this example, cloud storage IS safe—when used correctly.
1. Choose a More Secure Option.
Many of the cloud storage options that are popular among employees for personal use are not appropriate for business. Essentially, these services were developed as collaboration tools. However, more secure options, such as secure virtual data rooms, exist that were designed to offer the benefits of cloud storage without sacrificing security.
Secure virtual data rooms often come with built in tools to help ensure security—things like audit logs, encryption features, multi-factor authentication, and permission-based user access.
2. Teach Employees Proper Usage.
Choosing a secure virtual data room instead of a collaboration storage tool is a great first step for a company. However, if an organization doesn’t take the time to share with employees why it made that choice (and to educate them on some general best practices, such as using unique username/password combinations), then secure information may still be put at risk.
Organizations should teach employees how to use any system they implement and review with them the types of information that needs to be kept secure, including customer data.
Many companies are at a crossroads; their employees are demanding the ease of use that cloud services offer, yet the businesses themselves worry about the potential security threats such services often entail.
Fortunately, secure virtual data rooms offer the convenience of cloud storage without the need for security concerns.