New Survey Finds Over Half of Employees Use Unauthorized Consumer Based File-Sharing Apps at Work

June 7, 2012

A new study released today by SkyDox finds that while bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and free, cloud-based file-sharing is on the rise, IT administrators are largely unable to police the use of these tools within their organizations. The study surveyed more than 4,000 employees who handle or distribute information in the United States and the United Kingdom, in a wide array of work environments, vertical sectors and job functions.

The survey revealed that while employees have embraced free file-sharing platforms to store or share documents, IT administrators overwhelmingly haven’t been able to provide viable alternatives to free, unauthorized applications and prevent the adoption of unsecure applications. Sixty-six percent of those polled use free file-sharing platforms and, among these, 55 percent do so without alerting their IT departments. Without knowing which tools are being deployed within their organizations, IT administrators risk corporate assets, sensitive information and intellectual property being distributed, modified and stored without authorization. In some cases, this can result in violations of national and international laws regarding data security, transparency and privacy.

Among the survey’s notable findings:

• A positive correlation exists between how transparent employees are with IT administrators regarding their use of file-sharing tools and their job function. Only 29 percent of those working in sales functions reported their use of free file-sharing platforms to IT, whereas 95 percent of those working in financial positions; 53 percent working in marketing functions; and 62 percent who work in administrative functions, report this information to IT.

• BYOD has solidified its standing as workplace protocol. The survey finds that 77 percent of information workers use their personal mobile devices or tablets for work. Those working in professional services (92 percent), financial services (86 percent) and healthcare (84 percent) sectors report the highest BYOD use, while those in government (38 percent) report the lowest. All companies, ranging from 200 to 2,000+ employees, report BYOD use at over 50 percent.

Mobility is a reality of today’s workforce. Eighty-percent of employees report needing access to work documents from outside the office. Among those who work in legal job functions, 100 percent report requiring access to documents outside of the office, followed by 97 percent in marketing; 92 percent in finance; and 80 percent in sales job functions. Only 35 percent of those working in administrative job functions report needing remote access.

• Sixty-six percent use free file-sharing platforms to share corporate documents. Those working in professional services (87 percent) and financial services (84 percent) report the highest usage of free file-sharing platforms, followed by healthcare (57 percent), creative sectors (55 percent) and government (54 percent). Yet, among those working specifically in a financial job function only 39 percent use file-sharing platforms, with those whose function falls in sales (81 percent), legal (77 percent) or marketing (70 percent) most frequently using free file-sharing.

“The results of this survey give us a more accurate glimpse into the ways in which today’s employees are communicating and collaborating with each other, while also serving as a warning for IT administrators to take greater control of how these trends unfold within their organizations,” said Ali Moinuddin, CMO of SkyDox. “There is an increasing need for workers to share information seamlessly and efficiently beyond the corporate firewall, with distributed teams and while one the move. There is also, however, an increasing proclivity for those same workers not to realize the potential dangers they are putting their company in by doing so with tools not sanctioned by their IT department. The burden now falls on IT departments to provide tools to enable collaboration and file-sharing, without compromising corporate and legal policies surrounding data security.”

The survey reveals that mobile working has become an inevitable reality, further reinforced by industry indications that, to varying degrees, more than 60 percent of employees work from locations other than the office. By enabling BYOD, companies are taking advantage of the productivity boons that comes from mobile working, yet there are other considerations to take into account. As the survey shows, cloud-enabled file-sharing platforms are now widely used within the workplace to, not only foster mobile working, but also improve collaboration beyond the walls of the corporate office. Amid the promise of this technology, however, lies the real risk of IT administrations losing oversight of their corporate assets and data, unless they find a way to provide more controlled and secure platforms to foster efficient and effective file-sharing and collaboration.

Built from the ground up as an enterprise-grade collaboration platform, SkyDox remedies many of the concerns raised in the survey. The platform enables users to continue to work with familiar tools – including Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Adobe – while still enjoying the benefits of cloud-enabled collaboration. SkyDox also ensures that the organization is able to fulfill compliance mandates and adhere to internal data security measures and policies.

To meet enterprise availability requirements, SkyDox’s data centers provide the latest secure, scalable infrastructure for its cloud platform. SkyDox data centers in Europe, North America and Asia are ASHRAY, ISO 27001 certified for Information Security Management System (ISMS), and/or SAS70 audited. Data center sites are also Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) accredited, meeting US government security standard 140-2 for cryptographic modules protecting sensitive information, load balancing, and use of FIPS 140-2 validated hardware. In addition, the platform is healthcare application compliant with HIPPA’s Security and Privacy Rules accreditation.

This survey, conducted April 16-30, 2012, was prompted by a webinar conducted jointly with SkyDox and AIIM, a global association of information professionals, that explored similar trends of BYOD, mobility, free file-sharing and IT oversight. The total number of responses received from the SkyDox survey was 4,199 with partial responses excluded from the results. Respondents include representatives from financial services, government, healthcare professional services and creative, within which employees at multiple departments had been surveyed. The full results of the SkyDox survey can be found on SkyDox’s website, located here and infographic is available here.

Resources

• Locate the full results of the survey here.
• Download an infographic of the results here.
• Set up a briefing with Ali Moinuddin, Chief Marketing Officer SkyDox.
• Learn more about SkyDox and why it is the only cloud-enabled platform designed for the enterprise that integrates with the components and policies inherent in existing collaborative ecosystems.
• Connect with SkyDox on its blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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