Unauthorized file-sharing applications that let employees distribute documents to co-workers may be putting firms at risk for data breaches.
The fact that most employees (81%, according to a recent study) access work documents on the go is far from shocking. Unfortunately, most companies don’t provide a properly secured, business-caliber file sharing alternative, so 72% of those workers use unauthorized services.
Experts point out there are several risks in using consumer-quality file-sharing services. For starters, they’re insecure by nature. They’re also known hotbeds for malware. And if you cause a company data breach by using one, you may be on the hook legally.
Researchers say users are increasingly circumventing policies set by IT departments and using unsanctioned applications to share large files and collaborate on documents outside the office. That in turn raises major concerns over the security of corporate documents and personal information, and highlights the challenges facing IT when it comes to enabling mobility while managing risk.
Perhaps the study’s most alarming news is that trends are running in the wrong direction too. The 72% who haven’t received authorization from their IT department to use a consumer-based file sharing application is up from 66% in 2012. The trend has snowballed in the financial and healthcare industries, where 91% and 80% of employees, respectively, access documents on the move.
The majority (69%) of mobile file-sharers also use free services to collaborate and access shared documents, which is a 3% increase over the last year. Employees working in legal and professional services (88%) and financial services (78%) report the highest usage of free services, followed by healthcare (55%), creative sectors (66%), and government (42%).
The file-sharing issue is exacerbated by the bring-your-own-device movement in the workplace; today, 62% of knowledge workers use their personal devices for work.