The majority of firms block staff access to bring your own services (BYOS) in the cloud, like Google Docs and Dropbox, because of security and compliance fears.
Remote synchronisation services over the web, including a number of free ones, have been available to PC and mobile users for years, with consumers particularly latching onto the systems, but companies aren't so keen, according to research.
The research from data governance software firm Varonis Systems, questioned 100 US IT decision makers in May 2012, and found that 80 percent of companies do not allow their employees to use cloud-based file synchronisation services.
But it also found that 70 percent of companies would use these services if they "were as robust as internal tools". For the research, decision makers were interviewed about the "emerging shift" from bring your own device (BYOD) to bring your own services (BYOS).
Despite the flexibility and ease of use promised by BYOS, only 20 percent currently allow these services due to fears of data leakage, security breaches and compliance issues. To protect themselves against these perceived threats, 59 percent of organisations use a combination of policies backed up with blocking techniques to "stem the tide of enterprise files spilling onto external servers and devices", said Varonis. A further 20 percent rely on policies alone to stop "the mass leakage of proprietary and regulated data".
In stark contrast, another 20 percent of companies have no measures in place at all to prevent their staff from accessing file synchronisation tools, leaving their employees free to take confidential data outside the company with them. Of these firms, 70 percent were not concerned about having no controls in place to defend themselves against potential critical information leakage or loss.
David Gibson, VP of strategy at Varonis, said: “As workers are increasingly required to divide their time between working on the move, at home and in the office, companies and employees yearn for the ease of use and convenience of file synch services."
He said: "Even organisations that block these services may have employees using them when they’re not connected to the corporate network, breaching the defences of a corporation and introducing a host of new vulnerabilities."
Gibson said the challenge for companies was to provide a BYOS platform to staff that had the robust controls of its internal systems while empowering staff to do their work from any location and on any device safely.
Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs