The move towards remote working and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) computing has brought major benefits for businesses in terms of improved efficiency and productivity. But with employees having greater control over how they work and the tools they use, businesses also face a new problem – ‘Shadow IT’.
Shadow IT refers to the collective apps, tools and devices that employees use for work, but which have never been officially sanctioned. In many cases this may not be a problem – for instance, choosing to use the built-in Apple Mail app on the iPhone rather than the official Microsoft Office 365 version.
But other apps present significant challenges when handling sensitive corporate data, even if they are well-known, well-regarded tools. Your business has a duty to protect information from loss, accidental exposure or theft. But if you don’t know where that data is being stored, how can you carry out that responsibility?
Why incorrect Cloud usage can be a problem for corporate IT
The beauty of tools like Google Drive and Dropbox are that they are so simple to set up and use. Sensible, then, for your employees are probably already using such apps to access data they need as they work remotely. However, this ease of use masks several problems:
- Employees will have their own personal Cloud storage accounts, often mixing their personal data in with your corporate files, increasing the likelihood of unintended exposure.
- With accounts being set up on a personal or departmental level, there could be hundreds of places where sensitive information is stored online, making management of those files almost impossible.
- Data stored in unauthorised accounts may not be backed up according to your company’s policies. What happens when a file is overwritten or deleted in error?
- As consumer-level services, there are virtually no guarantees about data backup, retrieval or availability.
- Some personal services, notably Google Drive, grant the provider a perpetual license to access and retain any data stored. This may not be a problem for personal shopping lists or holiday photographs, but it may breach non-disclosure agreements (NDA) and other compliancy regulations when company files are involved.
Each of these issues is a real and present problem for almost every business today.
Getting Cloud file storage right
However, the answer to this problem is not to issue an outright ban on Cloud storage services. Instead, you need to identify a trusted solution, with secure encryption, like the CloudDrive service from Broadband Cloud Solutions, which can be set as the company-wide standard.
Employees often adopt apps to solve an immediate problem: in this case, the need for easy access to information any time, any place from any device. Using CloudDrive, your IT department can solve the problem immediately and avoid the issues outlined above, without hindering productivity or efficiency.
The problem of Shadow IT is not going to go away, but businesses need to be proactive in identifying reputable solutions that they can recommend to staff. And in the case of file storage, the answer is CloudDrive – contact our team today if you’d like more details.
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