The benefits of cloud computing are becoming increasingly recognized, and with this heightened understanding comes growing numbers of UK businesses that are embracing the use of the cloud for the storage of data. As the technology continues to gather momentum on these shores, many firms and employees are likely to consider utilizing popular free services such as Dropbox and Box. Such storage solutions have already been widely adopted by consumers and SMEs alike; however, these solutions are not without their risks.
While there is no inherent flaw with free file storage services such as Dropbox, these services cannot be trusted to actually secure files. As such, any firm looking to make use of such solutions should first carefully consider the associated risk of storing sensitive data in an insecure environment and the detrimental effect that this could have on the organization in the long term. In addition, the terms of service of such solutions usually also specify that data integrity and availability are not guaranteed either.
Consider the impact of adopting insecure solutions:
Given the growing popularity and awareness of these services, it is only natural that firms would consider solutions such as Dropbox as a flexible and convenient answer to the issue of data storage. It also follows that employees would also be encouraged to utilize these solutions to share corporate information: after all, if a business cheerfully entrusts all of its data to public cloud services, why not let individual employees do the same?
The answer is that there are obvious differences between the two. On the one hand, you have professionally managed and centrally controlled services under a strict service-license agreement, while on the other there is just a simple end-user license agreement that generally can be summarized as “the provider assumes no responsibility for anything ever”.
Combine this with the technical and security expertise of the employee itself – which will vary widely depending on the individual’s job role and the sector that they operate in – and this is not exactly good news for the security of corporate information.
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