Reclaim Control Of Your Organization’s Files

Oct 13, 2015

Reclaim Control Of Your Organization’s Files

BY Andy Wolber

Cybersecurity

People in your organization—possibly including you—might store files on a cloud service. As the glib phrase goes: because convenience.

Blame it on smartphones, tablets, and fast mobile internet connections.

The story typically goes like this. Someone wanted to get work done out of the office. So they installed a cool new app on a phone (or tablet). The cool new app supported files saved on a cloud service, like, say, Dropbox. So someone moved a few files to Dropbox. Someone may even have shared a few files from Dropbox with a customer or co-worker. Because convenience. The end.

Except… it isn’t the end. Cloud storage and mobile apps do offer convenience and the chance to work on-the-go. But not everyone lives happily ever after in this story.

Ad hoc consumer cloud storage may prompt a few concerns:

Connected apps: Dropbox connects to hundreds of third-party apps. That’s a strength and weakness. It’s good news if you want to try a different app. But it’s a potential security concern when you allow an app access to company files or folders. App developers and Dropbox both have an incentive to keep data secure, but the more apps you connect the more likely unintended leaks become.

Compliance: Highly regulated companies must protect personal customer data on their systems, and when an employee stores that data elsewhere, they’re still responsible. For example, Box, Google, and Microsoft all offer to sign business associates agreements to protect your organization’s data and achieve HIPAA compliance. Of course, Datto will too.

Variable Cost: If the number of people changes often in your organization, a cloud solution works well. But each account you add increases your cost. However, if you use a solution such as ownCloud on SIRIS, you just add the account and keep going: your cost doesn’t change.

Combined files and apps: Not integrated- combined (i.e. You can’t really do anything with your data outside of the cloud service). Apps like Google Docs or Salesforce are powerful and useful, but they have a downside. Want to edit a Google Doc with anything other than Google Docs? You’ll need to export your file into another format. The same is true of Salesforce. A combined file and app makes it more difficult to switch to a different provider. (However, a system like ownCloud, allows you to collaboratively edit a file with five other people—and save the file either in .odt or .doc format. Both give you a file you can edit with lots of other tools.)

The four concerns—connected apps, cloud compliance, cost, and combined apps-and-files—highlight the reasons many companies consider a cloud solution only to solve a specific problem. Cloud apps undoubtedly improve collaboration—especially from smartphones, tablets, and connected mobile devices, but your organization’s files shouldn’t be scattered all over. Storing your files in as few places as possible make it easier for you to protect, monitor, and backup your data. So if you see that you have files scattered across multiple cloud providers, now would be a great time to re-think your approach to file storage, security, and backup. Because control.

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