Every day, dozens of your employees are leaving the office completely naked. Yes, your busiest and most savvy employees are streaking from their cubicles. Attorneys au natural. Bond buyers in their birthday suits.
But don’t dial the HR department. Or the police. (Or a freelance photographer.)
It’s a form of nudity that relates to your business data and documents, and it’s hidden in plain view under the guise of shadow IT or public cloud cover. We’ve become accustomed to data streakers across social networks: the aunt who “likes” everything, the college buddy who checks in to every Foursquare spot and has the Vine videos of their sassy dog to prove it.
But the data “exposure” of SMB or enterprise data is less about voyeurism than it is about function. The ease and cost (read: free) of the public cloud beat the business plans to the punch. As data decision-makers sloughed through the set-up of a ghost town of a collaboration platform or built the rigid rules around a private cloud, data streakers worked together, quite literally, to pick the public cloud as their platform of choice. The biggest point of proof in this is Dropbox, the most heavily populated areas for the streakers (“nudist colonies” if we’re going to keep on the nakedness analogies at the risk of actual HR infractions).
They puts its use at approximately 95 percent among the Fortune 500. When it comes to security coverage for users, Dropbox promises their own “clothing” of sorts for customers via encryption of data as it passes through their portal. Whether you’ve accepted public cloud options like Dropbox as a cheap (or free) storage option or you’d like to snuff it out entirely, you’re met with the same threat: the data being shared in the public cloud is, at some point, insecure and out of their control.
With more data, devices and cloud adoption, it’s incumbent on business to recognize they’ve got data streakers running in and out of the office every day, from the C-suite on down. As business has led the way on using the public cloud, leading thinkers like InfoWorld’s David Linthicum say it’s incumbent on business users to make the case for broader cloud adoption, rather than IT. No matter who leads the charge, you have to first acknowledge that these streakers exist. Then, you can move forward with a plan that truly covers them – with something resembling a suit of armor that functions like the suit their used to.
Next blog, I’ll review steps businesses and professionals can use to address their data exposure problem. In the meantime, we’d love to hear more from you: Have an alarming story of data streaking? What specific problems do you see public cloud causing where you work? How are you balancing security risks and acceptance of public cloud use?
(Author Matt Little is the VP of Product Development for PKWARE. This post originally appeared under on the blog page for our parent company, PKWARE.)