The risks of freemium file sync and share applications

Intralinks and Gigaom Research today announced new research that reveals that IT departments are fighting the unsanctioned and ungoverned use of file sync and share (FSS) applications and services originally designed for consumers, as they can put a business and its valuable information at risk.

'The characteristics that make consumer file sharing services attractive to employees can spawn governance, risk and compliance nightmares for senior executives,' said Larry Hawes, principal and founder of Dow Brook Advisory Services and internationally-recognised analyst with Gigaom Research.

'Most companies, especially those in regulated industries, need to increase their visibility and control over file sharing policies, practices and technologies, while finding a way to maintain employee productivity and satisfaction.'

> See also: Mobile content management and BYOD: the Dropbox catch-22

The research offers insight into what file sharing services organisations are using, how employees get around IT restrictions and what IT managers can do about it without getting stuck in the middle. It also provides a framework to determine what enterprise file activities occur at an organisation and then how to use that information to make decisions about file sharing policies, including what to look for in a secure solution.

In addition, the report cites the results of a Harris Interactive survey sponsored by Intralinks that 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.

> See also: The dangers of shadow IT

'Most organisations have poor visibility into which file sharing applications are in use, and haven’t come to terms with the threats posed by ungoverned use of file sharing apps,” said Sri Chilukuri, vice president of product marketing at Intralinks. 'Enterprise IT needs to take immediate strategic action to prevent risky behaviour, while providing employees with a trusted collaboration solution that keeps the organisation productive.'

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...