The Dropbox problem and the manager’s dilemma

Many enterprises face the “Dropbox problem” — the unauthorized and unregulated use of consumer-grade file-sync-and-share applications. In fact, 81 percent of line-of-business employees admitted to using such unsanctioned Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

To avoid risking valuable data, organizations are blocking access to unsanctioned file-sharing services. But this can backfire: Without an alternative, employees may secretly adopt other consumer-grade file-sharing solutions and create a kind of shadow-IT private network.

Shadow IT (the use of third-party hardware without official permission from IT) is a widespread enterprise problem. Alarmingly, 84 percent of Frost & Sullivan’s respondents admitted they had “concerns about data privacy when [they] use file-sharing products like Box and Dropbox.” Yet, they still used them, anyway. Furthermore, 38 percent of respondents use unauthorized cloud apps because IT approval of requested solutions takes too long.

Unfortunately, when it comes to file-sharing requirements, managers must be middlemen between IT and employees. In-house IT wants to keep its systems under lock and key, but end users want to take the easy, if unauthorized, road to get work done.

How can managers identify and address shadow-IT systems and back channels?

Well, Gigaom Research recently published a report, underwritten by Intralinks. It provides a simple framework managers can use to enable employee freedom and impose the security that meets the standards of even regulated industries. Interested? You can download the report here today.