It's been said that cloud storage and online collaboration are exploding, driven by the influx of multiple employee-owned mobile devices and the impacts of the consumerization of IT. In the age of bring your own device (BYOD), how can organizations shield corporate data from consumer-facing storage services?
Of course, organizations could issue corporate policies forbidding employees from using popular services. IBM has banned Dropbox and other file-sharing and storage apps because of security vulnerabilities. Whether that proves to be the right way to go remains to be seen.
In any event, the popularity of Dropbox and similar services simply highlights the rising demand for a simple, accessible, user-friendly storage and collaboration product that enterprises and their users will embrace.
"Over the past few months, we've been seeing a lot of demand for what's been coined an 'enterprise Dropbox' application from enterprise customers," says Rani Osnat, VP of marketing at CTERA Networks. "File sharing is nothing new … what people realize, though, is there is an easier way to do so, and Dropbox has showed them the way and now they want this."
Corporate IT was caught unprepared, he says--Dropbox is an external service that the IT department has no control over.
"Part of the problem is how any [corporate] data leaves your device, whether it's a laptop or mobile device, because they don't have client-side encryption," says Osnat. "It's encrypted when it gets to the cloud, but once it leaves your device, it's open. That's perfectly acceptable for family holiday photos but not for enterprise data."
Another area of concern with services such as Dropbox, he adds, is that the encryption keys for the data stored in the cloud are held by the service provider and not by the user. That, too, doesn't sit well with enterprise IT.
CTERA Networks offers an enterprise cloud storage enablement product that allows organizations to access mobile devices for storage, backup, and file sharing. "We built these capabilities based on specific customer demands and requirements, and not on hope that they will come," says Osnat.
Next: Are Cloud Storage Services Insecure?