Business executives use Dropbox despite security risks

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 07, 2013

cloud security

For CIOs who believe their employees are not using file-sharing apps Dropbox to store and share business documents, it’s time for a rethink! According to a recent survey from SafeNet Labs, nearly 40% of executives use Dropbox to store and share documents, fully knowing it is against their company policy. Dropbox that lets users store, sync and share documents easily online continues to experience significant security breaches in its service in recent times.

The survey further reveals those at the top of the corporate layer — VPs and directors are most likely to use Dropbox for unauthorized access, despite the documented risks and corporate edicts. In fact it is the C-level and other senior executives who bring their personal iPads and iPhones into the office more frequently. Thirty nine percent of C-level executives are found to be less concerned about security in the cloud than their subordinates, as more than 54% middle management and junior level staff said that cloud security is certainly something to worry about, according to the survey.

However, Safenet Labs research shows despite some level of concern on cloud security, business professionals, irrespective of their corporate designation continue to store their personal and professional data and information in the cloud. As far as Dropbox users are concerned, many of them use the app fully knowing it is against the company rule.

Dropbox’s popularity is driven by the exploding use of smart phones and tablets to send, sync and share documents. According to analysts, the problem with many corporate file-share-and-sync solutions is they aren’t as easy to use as Dropbox and do not necessarily support personal smartphones or tablets. Unfortunately, Dropbox has become the proxy for “shadow IT” which means that the technology comes inside a corporation but is beyond the control and tracking of corporate IT departments. They are no longer suitable for the accelerating BYOD environment.

“The sensitive data stored in Dropbox is not secure or to word it more professionally controlled by IT. This means that if an employee leaves the company, the information the user has stored goes with them, creating a significant risk of data loss or exposure,” says Kaushik Thakkar, CEO and Co-Founder at Nevales Networks. He believes as the amount of sensitive corporate data stored in Dropbox increases, the online file-sharing service becomes a more attractive target for hackers and other malicious groups.

“What this survey suggests is that cloud app usage and document storage continue to proliferate, and that organizations should re-examine antiquated attitudes towards usage of these apps across the enterprise,” said Tsion Gonen, Chief Strategy Officer, SafeNet. “It’s clear that top-level executives understand the advantages of cloud app usage, and therefore they should enable their companies to leverage these advantages by adopting contemporary security tools and practices,” he said.