Dropbox and Other Consumer Grade File Sharing

“We live in a world where information equals power. With the influx of online file-sharing solutions, distributing information has become easier than ever. As a result, it is now easier for information to fall into the wrong hands intentionally or unintentionally.”

– Enterprise file sync-and-share, Terri McClure, Kristine Kao, TechTarget

A more mobile business environment and the evolution of technology has created a tremendous demand for accessibility of corporate data. With over 300 million users, Dropbox has become the predominant leader for mobile file access. Unfortunately, what works well for family pictures and personal data does not work with corporate files. Dropbox and other consumer-grade services may be quick to install and easy to use, but they present unacceptable security, legal, and compliance risks in a business environment.

Seven Major Risks Dropbox (and others) Pose to your Business Data

1. Inadequate Support

Need assistance now? Be prepared to fill out a form and have someone get back to you because Dropbox does not offer live support. In addition, Dropbox has experienced outages, downtime, and security breaches over the years, causing business users to reconsider the reliability of the service.

2. Data Theft

Dropbox and other consumer grade systems make file sharing easy, and file protecting difficult. When a user shares a file or folder, Dropbox generates a public URL that can be accessed by anyone, without any password enforcement. This opens wide the door of opportunity for your business’s proprietary information being stolen or shared with competitors.

3. Data Loss

When administrators cannot manage and monitor file sync activities across the organization, they risk the loss of data. Consumer grade systems allow file sharing on any device. If an employee loses or has a device stolen, administrators are not able to remotely wipe out data on that devices.

4. Corrupted Data

A study by CERN the European Organization of Nuclear Research, showed that silent data corruption was observed in 1 of 1500 files. Dropbox and other consumer grade devices do not disclose the details of how they prevent this common problem. Don’t you want to know?

5. Potential Lawsuits

Dropbox gives employees carte blanche power to delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical documents or the breaking of privacy agreements with clients and third parties.

6. Compliance Violations

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, tax laws, and other federal and local statues have distinct requirements for the retention of data. Dropbox’s decision to permanently remove deleted files and revisions after 30 days is inconvenient and puts businesses at risk of legal and compliant disputes.

7. Loss of Accountability

Administrators who allow the use of Dropbox do not have control of or visibility into how files have been shared, edited, or deleted. There is no audit trail to track down when and where things went wrong.

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