Finding the consumer clouds in business

26th February 2014

Open office door

When employees start using their consumer cloud services, such as DropBox, Google Drive or OneDrive, in a work environment it creates potential security holes. For employers and IT departments the challenge is in finding those users with consumer clouds.

A 2013 survey by Skyhigh Networks found the average Enterprise company had 545 consumer cloud services being used by staff, showing the scale of the problem.

Searching for the cloud

The easiest way to find unauthorised cloud is to inspect the web traffic through the company network. Various tools exist to identify what kind of traffic is passing through the network and IT Departments should be tasked with monitoring traffic to identify the services in use.

The other method of finding cloud users involves a little lateral thinking. Speaking to the finance department about expenses claims will quickly highlight which employees are putting in claims for expenditure on cloud services.

Once identified, access to those services can be blocked, or employees reminded of the security risks involved.

Providing a secure cloud

Where employees use cloud services, without company approval, it is usually because the benefits of cloud storage outweigh the risk of going behind employers backs. Benefits such as document syncing across computers, remote working and mobile access to files.

More businesses are also realising these productivity benefits are worth investing in. With the search on for business-focused cloud services that can provide the syncing and storage employees desire, in a secure and controllable way.

FutureBox is cloud storage designed for business. It gives employees the flexibility to access files from anywhere (including mobile devices and the web), provides built-in document viewing and editing functions, whilst keeping IT departments in control of who can access the service.

The service is designed to be fully secure with all files encrypted during transit, and at rest. Additionally the data centres are SAS70 Type II and Safe Harbor certified.

Migrating away from consumer clouds

Implementing FutureBox gives employees secure cloud storage, however what can companies do about data already out there on the consumer clouds? IT sections could just insist users delete the information, but some of it could be data that is no longer on company networks, so deletion means losing the documents.

Instead organisations need to migrate that data out of the employee's consumer cloud and into FutureBox. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Dropbox for Business migration — If employees are using the consumer Dropbox service, switching to Dropbox for Business means IT departments keep control and work files in consumer Dropbox accounts can be quickly moved across.
  • Manual upload — One way of adding files to FutureBox is via the web interface. Using this method employees can drag files from their consumer cloud sync folder into the web browser for upload.
  • FTP upload — FTP access is provided as standard with FutureBox, making the process of uploading simpler and easier. Just open up an FTP browser, select the files to upload and leave it working away in the background.
  • mover.ioMover is a third-party online service designed for moving files between cloud storage providers. It works with more than 20 services and automates the process of moving files. The first 10GB is moved free, so for smaller accounts it is perfect. Beyond 10GB the cost is a low $1 per GB.

Whichever option is chosen, once the data has been moved into FutureBox it is then safe to restrict access to the consumer services.

It is important organisations don't equate all cloud providers with being insecure. A cloud storage service designed for business users can deliver many benefits by giving employees more flexibility, reducing strain on internal servers and speeding up collaboration and project management.

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