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Grow Your Business Technology

Are Cloud Sharing Services Safe for Businesses?

Are Cloud Sharing Services Safe for Businesses?
Credit: Cloud image via Shutterstock

About half of IT professionals think public cloud sharing services are one of the biggest security risks companies face, new research finds.

Indeed, 50 percent of the IT leaders surveyed said popular cloud sharing services — such as Dropbox, Google Docs and Box — are not suitable for business use, according to a study by global software company Axway and the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm.

Specifically, 89 percent of the people who expressed concerns about these services worry about their inability to know if sensitive or confidential data was lost or stolen due to a data breach in the public cloud. Moreover, 80 percent are afraid these services could lead to the loss of intellectual property.

"In recent years, employees have been increasingly adopting public cloud tools — such as Dropbox, Box and Google Docs — to exchange and share documents and company information in the workplace," said Dave Butcher, senior director of product portfolio management at Axway. "These tools provide a great user experience, but there are serious question marks about their enterprise-class security credentials, illustrated by the fact that many financial and health care organizations block their use."

The research shows that 66 percent of businessesrank file sharing as a high or very high risk. Another concern is that many businesses don't even know if their employees are using public cloud services. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they are not likely to know whether employees are using unapproved and risky file-sharing tools.

"The results of this study definitively illustrate that organizations are highly concerned about the security risks posed by both public cloud and on-premise file-sharing tools, and they're absolutely right to be wary of them," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "We're acutely aware of the potentially catastrophic consequences that can occur as a result of security breaches of these tools."

The study was based on surveys of 621 IT and IT security practitioners with involvement in setting IT security priorities, managing IT security budgets, selecting vendors and contractors, and evaluating program performance.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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