CIOs: Living in Fear?


These days, companies increasingly demand more flexibility from their employees when working in the office, from home, and on the road. But they offer little tool support to help them get the job done. So it’s no wonder that more and more employees are turning to user-friendly, cloud-based storage services. The most familiar of these is Dropbox, which boasts over 50 million users. The service allows you to store data in the cloud and synchronize that data across multiple computers.

Dropbox accounts publicly accessible for four hours

IDG Connect and Varonis Systems, a provider of data governance solutions, surveyed 100 decision-makers at companies with more than 100 employees. Their study found that 70% of all companies recognize the benefits of cloud-based data synchronization services and would like to offer these services to their employees.

Sadly, the greatest strengths of these services – user-friendliness and practicality – are also their greatest weaknesses. They pose a security risk and, in the worst case, make confidential information available to anyone and everyone. This is just what happened in June 2011, when all Dropbox accounts were publicly available for four hours.

Against this background, it is even more astonishing to see how little those responsible seem to care about security: Sixty-one percent admitted that they were not worried about authentication for cloud services. Only 51% were concerned about the correct allocation of access rights.

Thirty-one percent plan to use cloud services

Of the companies surveyed, 31% plan to enable the use of cloud-based services for data synchronization. That is in stark contrast to the 69% that do not, despite the potential advantages.

They fear that if their data is stored externally, they will no longer be able to subject that data to their specifications and guidelines. As a result, almost 60% of all companies have set up policies preventing the use of cloud services, or block such services outright. In particular, the companies said they wished to be connected to directory services and be able to monitor and control access to data. If this were possible with cloud services, 70% would use them.

Good news for fans of Dropbox and company: Twenty percent of all companies said they are not daunted by the myriad of offerings out there and already plan to use the tools now. The remaining 80% will wait and see how they fare before moving forward.