Using services like Dropbox and Google Drive to store sensitive customer information, personnel files, financial data, and strategic planning data, does come with a few risks.
Unlike storing photos and music files or even business data such as marketing materials, collateral, etc. security is paramount when storing sensitive data.
Here are 4 things you should know about before using cloud storage for your business:
#1 Most cloud services aren’t going to claim an ownership interest in your data but…
Their privacy policies require you give them permission to access your data in order to control it. Also if their security is breached, someone else might very well steal and use sensitive information.
#2 Your data is only as secure as the personal cloud vendor makes it.
The reality is that anytime you store data in a cloud storage solution, you hand over a large degree of control over that data.
Data moving from repository to repository could be at risk if it is not properly encrypted while in transmission. The security of whatever repository it is ultimately stored in matters as well. It’s important to know where these services are located and hosted from to make sure they have to and do comply with US laws.
As the Dropbox security breach last summer showed, these systems are not infallible. The fact that the data is sitting in an archive doesn’t matter if you suddenly don’t need a password or other credentials to get into that archive.
#3 BYOD has proved to be a significant security challenge for businesses over the past five years.
Any time you move corporate data outside the firewall, be it tax records, financial info, or client data, you are giving some control over how that data is transmitted and stored, as well as who can access, copy, and delete information.
When you (knowingly or unknowingly) allow your employees to store enterprise data in a personal cloud solution, you give up even the right to make procurement decisions. With these services, you give up control over data security in particular.
#4 Personal cloud is on the brink of being the next major consumerization of IT issue
As employees have taken control of their own mobility with the BYOD trend, it seems inevitable that they would seek to control how they accessed data remotely and via their mobile device, and personal cloud vendors are enabling this demand.
The risks with BYOD now aren’t just that employees are bringing security threats into the enterprise network, but that employees are exposing corporate data outside the firewall.
Bottom line, individuals need to be aware of how they use these services, and businesses need to recognize that, just as with BYOD, it’s only a matter of time before they enter the business environment.
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