More than a third of companies have suffered data leaks because of public file sync and share (FSS) applications — and three out of four enterprises are now looking to replace those applications.

That's the dismal news CTERA Networks revealed yesterday in its 2015 Enterprise Cloud Storage Report, the second annual report from the cloud storage and data protection compsny.

CTERA contracted Research Now to survey 300 IT professionals to see how they were managing file sharing in light of evidence that more and more workers are using consumer-grade FSS. The research found 35 percent of organizations lost corporate data in 2014 from often-unsanctioned FSS services, up four percent from 2013.

Sharing and Share-Alike

Rani Osnat, VP of strategic marketing at CTERA Networks, called unsanctioned use of FSS "an increasingly visible problem" in the enterprise. "According to our research 73 percent of enterprises have implemented or considered implementing a public file sync and share service but most of them would prefer a virtual private solution,” he said.

Virtual private solutions can be hosted on-premises in the enterprise data center or controlled by a third party. But either way, the enterprise controls the full stack rather than subscribes to a service.

And this is a trend that is likely to continue, he said — particularly as enterprises begin to realize they don’t have the visibility and control over information stored in the cloud that they need to secure their data.

“If you have employees who are constantly sharing files between these services and you have no visibility over what they are doing, this is a cause for worry," he said, adding that the 35 percent estimate of companies that have suffered data loss could actually be much higher.

Cloud Storage Gateways

About 83 percent of organizations have established corporate policies that either sanction the use of specific SaaS-based file sharing solutions or forbid their use entirely. Is it realistic to expect this to work? Probably not.

So what do you do? He added:

“If you educate your employees and give them tools that are more secure, they will use them. But if you don’t, then they’ll just ignore you. Productivity always wins. If I’m travelling and I using my tablet at the airport and I get an email and I want to respond to it, I probably will. And it’s good for the company. It’s probably better than waiting a few hours to get to a laptop and opening that up and then responding.”

Other Options

Cloud storage gateways, one of CTERA’s specialties, are an option (and the reason behind its interest in this problem). They are applications that serve as a bridge between local applications and remote cloud-based storage.

The appliance is located on the customer’s premises. These gateways, the research showed, are replacing and augmenting traditional file servers and tape storage, particularly in remote or branch offices (ROBO).

  • One third (33 percent) of organizations with more than 50 ROBOs have implemented on premise cloud storage gateways that support both the private cloud and public cloud, and 27 percent of all companies have implemented them.
  • A further percentage of all organizations are currently considering implementing cloud storage gateways. 
Ctera cloud storage infographic

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Tim Green.

Simpler Media Group, 2015