Consumer cloud storage ever-present in the enterprise

The popularity of storage products such as Dropbox is infiltrating into enterprise as users go against company policy to utilise cloud-based storage.

According to a recent report from social business network Spiceworks, 33% of organisations said that their staff was using personal storage products.

The report, entitled ‘The Cloud Barometer’, aims to give insight into SMEs and their usage of cloud-based file sharing software. Spiceworks interviewed over 300 users across North America and the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region.

The IT industry appears to have a mixed view on this acceleration, with 31% of companies surveyed agreeing that employees could use any provider they wished, yet 32% discouraged the behaviour.

Spiceworks noted that despite the accessibility, collaboration and convenience associated with cloud-based storage software, employers were still wary of the risks associated with file-sharing; evidently the type of data being shared and the usual bedbug, security.

Regarding specifics, employees seemed to prefer Dropbox for their storage – 87% of those surveyed used it; however, only 28% of vendors preferred Dropbox.

“Vendors need to find the right solution that addresses companies’ concerns around security, compliance and reliability while giving them what they want: complete accessibility, collaboration and low cost,” the report said.

Elsewhere, cloud-based email services are gaining but still lack behind on-premise, according to Spiceworks. From the response of 262 IT specialists, 52% use on-premise email, 42% go hosted while the remainder plans to move to a hosted solution within six months.

Predictably, reliability is the biggest draw for any email service provider, and of course the cloud hasn’t had the best run in that department of late.

24/7 uptime is agreed as the primary consideration for three quarters of respondents, with security meeting company standards (46%) and cost per user (40%) completing the top three.

Yet it’s not all been good news.

Dropbox put the blame on a recent security leak on an unnamed employee who reused his or her Dropbox password to a third party website which was later hacked into.

According to a Dropbox blog post, security is being ramped up with two-way authentication and automated mechanisms to spot suspicious activity in the pipeline.

“Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign into a small number of Dropbox accounts,” wrote Aditya Agarwal.

The Spiceworks report concludes: “Cloud-based applications such as file sharing, email and productivity suites are proving tremendously adept at producing the tangible results desired by business, particularly by small to medium businesses and midmarket companies”.

But what do you think? Is this research more proof of the proliferation of the cloud?

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