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How Big is The BYOD File-Sharing Target on Your Corporate Back?

Colored files with arrows to and from the Cloud.

If yours is like most businesses these days, many of your employees use their own smartphones, tablets and/or laptops to do their jobs — and the numbers are climbing fast as more people go mobile. Pew Research Center reports that as of May 2013, 56% of American adults have a smartphone and as of September 2013, 35% own a tablet.

Some 62% of U.S. employees use their own smartphone for work every day according to a recent Cisco study. Take a look at the percentages by industry of employees using their smartphones for work:

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Why This is Very Dangerous
The Cisco study reveals that 52% of BYODers access unsecured wifi networks, while 39% don’t password-protect.

Meanwhile, in another survey of employed individuals, 51% erroneously believe that collaborating on consumer-grade cloud file-sharing services (such as Dropbox) is secure for business documents. What’s more…

  • 46% agree that it’s “easy” to take sensitive business documents to another employer and 41% say they could easily transfer business-sensitive data outside their company using a file-sharing service
  • 31% agree they’d share large documents that are too big for email through a file-sharing service without checking with their IT departments
  • 38% of those who have used file-sharing services have transferred sensitive files on an unapproved service to someone else at least once, while 10% have done it six or more times
  • 27% report still having access to documents from a previous employer

Time For New File-Sharing/Syncing Capabilities
Clearly, organizations doing BYOD need to deploy a secure enterprise-grade solution that meets employees’ file-sharing needs while also protecting sensitive corporate data from risky cloud file-sharing behavior. Here’s what such solutions look like:

Business-class capabilities with the right range of options. There’s no one-size-fits-all file-sharing/syncing anytime, anywhere, on any device. Look for options that include…

  • Cloud-only — securely upload files from any computer/mobile device to the cloud
  • Sync storage to the cloud — virtual appliance installed alongside local storage so files sync to the cloud for mobile device access and sharing
  • Private file-sharing/syncing — virtual appliance installed alongside local storage so remote/mobile access without any files/metadata passing through a cloud
  • Cross-office collaboration — virtual appliances installed across multiple storage devices in all offices so users directly access local files at LAN speeds and file changes are automatically synced between all storage devices

Strong security controls. Consumer-grade file-sharing/syncing allows employees to roam beyond the reach of your admins — no corporate authentication mechanisms, no remote wipe of stolen or lost devices and generally few business-required encryption processes. At minimum, you need secure file-syncing with remote wipe, military-grade data encryption (both in transit and at rest) and fine-grained user/group access control and permissions.

Support for regulatory compliance. Depending on your industry’s compliance regulations (e.g., HIPAA), your employees may need to avoid public clouds altogether. In any case, if your business deals with any sensitive data you’ll need a file-sharing/syncing solution able to provide data privacy sufficient to meet relevant regulatory standards, and you may need to find a file-sharing/syncing provider that has been certified as compliant by a qualified third party.

Fortunately, an experienced service provider with solid credentials in cloud computing, BYOD and file-serving/syncing solutions can help you match up your needs with today’s quickly evolving solutions.

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