Sharing is caring, unless it's careless sharing

11 November 2015

cloud in hand

Do you remember the old adage you learned way back in grade school: "sharing is caring"? Let's see how that axiom applies in a business context.

Statistics show that workers are doing a lot of sharing—of information, ideas and files.

It seems the average enterprise organization these days uses 171 different collaboration cloud services and 57 cloud-based file sharing services. Also, on average, individual workers use 4 file sharing services and 7 collaboration services in their day-to-day routines.

This level of "sharing" might make people "caring", but certainly not very careful.

These statistics aren't survey numbers where respondents guesstimate what apps they use. The figures come from the Q2 2015 Skyhigh Cloud Adoption & Risk Report published by Skyhigh Networks in Q3. Skyhigh gathered the data from actual traffic that many millions of users are sending to various cloud applications through its security gateway.

Granted, many cloud services are company-sanctioned tools that employees are encouraged – even mandated – to use. Perhaps Office 365, Google Docs, Workday, and so on. But surely many of these cloud services are tools that workers or departments choose on their own (i.e., without IT's knowledge or support) as a means to get their work done.

That would be just fine, if workers chose their collaboration and file sharing tools with the due diligence required for data security and confidentiality. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case when someone needs to share something quickly and can't be bothered to evaluate tools for their security controls. All too often they choose a cloud service that they use at home, or that a colleague uses, one where they can set up an account in minutes and move on.

For example, let's say an organization’s marketing department is collaborating externally with its PR agency on the launch of its next big campaign. These files represent the company's confidential intellectual property (IP) — the crown jewels of the company, if you will, and it could be detrimental if that information were to ever leak, especially if it fell into a competitor’s hands.

A problem with many cloud-based files sharing and collaboration sites is that they are not "enterprise-ready." The very reason that companies like Skyhigh Networks and other cloud security access brokers are proliferating is that so many cloud services aren't designed with security at top of mind. Security has to be "bolted on" through an additional gateway. While "bolts" may have a place in the enterprise, they add cost and complexity.

We believe the better approach to a cloud-based collaboration and file sharing service is to design the solution from the ground up with data security as an integral feature. In this way, sensitive or confidential information is protected every step of the way—when it is uploaded to the cloud, when it's stored in the cloud for an indefinite or a specified time, when it's retrieved by authorized and authenticated recipients, if and when attempts to access it are made by unauthorized people, etc.

If you care about how your files are shared, don't get careless. Come talk to us instead.

Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister is the Field CTO for Intralinks. In his role, he acts as a customer advocate, working with enterprise organizations to evangelize data collaboration solutions and translate customer business challenges into product requirements, helping to steer Intralinks’ product road map and the evolving secure collaboration market. Daren brings over 20 years of industry experience and leadership in security, compliance, secure collaboration and enterprise software having worked with many of the Fortune 1000 companies helping to turn business challenges into real world solutions.