Preparing for ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’

BYOD1_smallIn 2015, experts expect to see more sync and sharing platforms like Google Drive, SharePoint and Dropbox offer unlimited storage to users at no cost – and an increasing number of employees will no doubt take advantage of these simple to use consumer platforms to store corporate documents, whether they are sanctioned by IT or not, turning companies into ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’ free-for-alls.

How can IT leaders prepare for this trend in enterprise?
Firstly, it’s important to realise it is going to happen. This isn’t something IT managers can stop or block – so businesses need to accept reality and plan for it.

IT leaders should: consider what’s really important to manage, and select a solution that solves the problem they need to solve. Opting for huge solutions that do everything isn’t always the best option, so teams should identify whether they need to protect data or devices.

Planning for how to communicate the new solution to users is something to consider early and partnering with the business units to deliver the message in terms that are important to them is an invaluable part of the process. The days of IT deploying solutions and expecting usage are long gone.

Using a two-pronged approach is recommended – IT managers should utilise both internal marketing and education to spread awareness about the benefits of the solution, and implement policies to set standards on what is required. Often end users aren’t aware that their organisation even has data security policies, and education can go a long way to getting compliance without being punitive.

What are the benefits of allowing employees to use these services to store corporate information?

The key benefits are mobility, increased productivity, improved user experience, and greater employee satisfaction and control.

What are the biggest implications for security?

The biggest implications for security involve the loss of valuable intellectual property and internal information such as financials and HR data, as well as data leakage, leading to privacy violations and loss of sensitive customer data. In addition, there are potential violations of regulatory policies for healthcare, financial services, and similar industries.

How can companies manage and control the use of these cloud storage apps when employees are using them in a BYOD environment?

In BYO use cases, companies should look for solutions that are focused on securing and managing data rather than devices. In a BYOD environment, IT managers can’t rely on the ability to lock down devices through traditional methods.

Instead, companies must be able to provide workspaces that have secure IT oversight, but also integrate with what is in the current environment.

Often the current environment has data in many places: file servers, private clouds, public clouds, etc. Choosing a data management solution that integrates with where the company’s data lives today will be more suitable than forcing data to be moved to a single location. This will reduce deployment time and give more flexibility later on to choose where to store the data.

How can organisations educate users and create suitable policies around the use of these tools?

Organisations should consider classifying corporate data. Does every piece of data need to be treated the same way?

Creating realistic policies that protect the company from real harm is so important, as is treating highly sensitive data differently from other data and training employees to know the difference.  Teams will also find it useful to integrate data security essentials into regular organisational onboarding and training programs, and update them as policies evolve.

How can companies find the most suitable alternatives to the free unlimited cloud storage users are turning to, and how do you convince employees to use them over consumer options?

The best solutions balance user experience for end users with robust security, management, and audit controls on the IT side. From a user experience perspective, companies should choose a solution with broad platform adoption, especially for BYOD environments. From a security perspective, choosing a solution that is flexible enough to provide secure IT oversight and that integrates with what you have today will stand the company in good stead. The last thing IT managers want to do is to manage a huge data migration project just to get a data security solution off the ground.

How can companies get around the costs and resources needed to manage their own cloud storage solutions?
Again, flexibility is key here. The best solutions will be flexible enough to integrate with what you have today, but also will allow you to use lower-cost cloud storage when you are ready.

What’s the future of the market for consumer cloud storage – can we expect their use to continue with employees?

Cloud storage in general isn’t going anywhere. The benefits and economics are just too compelling for both consumers and organisations. However, there is and has always been a need to manage corporate data — wherever it resides — in a responsible way. The best way to do this is by using solutions that deliver workspaces that are secure, manageable, and integrated with what businesses and consumers have today.


chanel chambersWritten by Chanel Chambers, Director of Product Marketing, ShareFile Enterprise, Citrix.