Morgan Stanley Latest to Announce It Blocks Dropbox

Investment bank Morgan Stanley's Laszlo Kollar said they routinely block employee access to cloud services, like Dropbox.

20 June 2014


It’s becoming a familiar refrain: To protect the network, a major company must restrict employee access to cloud services, including Dropbox. Investment bank Morgan Stanley has just revealed it has joined the chorus, as well. The company now restricts access to Dropbox and other cloud providers, according to Laszlo Kollar, Morgan’s Stanley’s executive director of global cloud.

Kollar shared this fact at a presentation at the World Cloud Forum, held this past week in London.

With over 60,000 employees worldwide, Kollar acknowledged a problem with “rogue IT.” There are departments contracting their own IT services with cloud computing companies, potentially exposing the bank to security issues and data loss, as well as risking regulatory noncompliance. In response, Morgan Stanley has blocked access to certain cloud providers, at the network layer, rendering them invisible.

It’s common for banks and others companies in regulated industries to block access to consumer-grade file sync and share applications. During research we conducted last year, we found that among the 200 companies we surveyed, 49 percent blocked access to Dropbox. In research we conducted this year with Harris Interactive, we learned over 80 percent of the IT decision makers surveyed thought the adoption of “freemium” file sync and share products by employees created potential security problems.

But let’s be honest: Dropbox and other consumer file sharing apps are popular for good reason. They make it vastly simple to share information, or keep that one important file at your fingertips, no matter what device you’re using. There are huge productivity gains available through the adoption of file sharing technology. But just remember to keep your personal and professional lives separated.

That is why we argue that merely blocking access to these applications isn’t always enough. You must provide a sensible alternative that meets users’ needs, but keeps your company on the right side of regulatory requirements and data privacy laws.

For more information on how you can avoid legal risk in file sharing, check out these four recommendations by law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse.