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Safe Sharing: A Survey of Enterprise IT Decision Makers on Best Practices for Adopting File Sync and Share Applications

A Survey of Enterprise IT Decision Makers on Best Practices for Adopting File Sync and Share Applications

New research conducted with Harris Interactive reveals growing concerns about stealth adoption of consumer file sharing solutions. 

In a Harris Interactive survey sponsored by Intralinks, we found that nearly half of IT managers blame file sharing software for data leaks. The research was carried out amongst 308 IT professionals who identified themselves as sole decision makers or major influencers of IT budget spend. Intralinks supported this research in an effort to better understand how enterprises are reacting to ‘shadow IT’ and the ungoverned adoption of consumer FSS products with a freemium business model. The file sync and share (FSS) market has generated tremendous momentum, with an estimated 300 million-plus global users.

The main reason for this broad-based adoption is that FSS fills a basic need for almost anyone – they make personal files available anytime you need them, from any device. Another cause of the rapid growth of FSS users has been the “freemium” business model adopted by some of the leading vendors. While this approach has been successful at encouraging millions of consumers to subscribe to these services, it has introduced a new problem for many enterprises. That’s because the use of free FSS services by employees represents an unmanaged channel for potential information leaks. Subsequently, many enterprises put consumer FSS services on their “black list” of forbidden applications.

Freemium FSS has written a new chapter in the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) saga, one that we can title: “Bring-your-own-Cloud (BYOC).” Personal cloud services, such as FSS, give employees an easy way to store business documents beyond the confines of corporate IT — raising obvious security and compliance challenges. This is compounded by the sync function, where files stored in the cloud may be synced to any number of personal employee devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.).

To understand the impact of a freemium FSS business model on enterprise IT departments, Intralinks sponsored an online survey conducted on their behalf by Harris Poll in April among 308 IT professionals. All of them indicated that they are either the sole IT decision makers in their organizations, or hold major influence over IT decision-making. The survey sought to understand current opinions about freemium FSS services, and the technical requirements for deploying FSS in the enterprise.