Workforce mobility and cloud-based file-sharing services are keeping IT departments on their toes, a SkyDox survey finds.
With the rise of bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, initiatives and free, cloud-based file-sharing changing the way businesses are operating, IT administrators are largely unable to police the use of these tools within their organizations, according to the findings of a new survey released by SkyDox, a cloud-enabled file-sharing and collaboration company.
While employees have embraced free file-sharing platforms66 percent of those surveyed use free versions of these services to store or share documentsIT administrators overwhelmingly havent been able to provide viable alternatives to free, unauthorized applications and prevent the adoption of unsecure applications, according to the study, which is based on a survey of more than 4,000 employees who handle or distribute information in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Among those who do use file-sharing platforms, 55 percent do so without alerting their IT departments, which could pose a risk to corporate assets, sensitive information and intellectual property being distributed, modified and stored without authorization, the report said.
The dilemma is likely to persist as BYOD solidifies its standing as workplace protocol. The survey found 77 percent of information workers use their personal mobile devices or tablets for work, with the professional services (92 percent), financial services (86 percent) and health care (84 percent) sectors the most likely to adopt BYOD policies. Those working in government (38 percent) report the lowest level of BYOD adoption. The results indicate that regardless of market sector, BYOD policies continue to gain traction, with all companies ranging from 200 to 2,000+ employees reporting BYOD use at over 50 percent.
The results of this survey give us a more accurate glimpse into the ways in which todays employees are communicating and collaborating with each other, while also serving as a warning for IT administrators to take greater control of how these trends unfold within their organizations, Ali Moinuddin, chief marketing officer of SkyDox, said in a prepared statement. There is an increasing need for workers to share information seamlessly and efficiently beyond the corporate firewall, with distributed teams and while on the move.
To make matters more complicated, employees are not alerting IT administrators to their use of file-sharing tools and their job function. Although nearly all (95 percent) of those working in financial positions reported the use of file-sharing platforms, the numbers fall fast outside of that department, sinking to 62 percent among those who work in administrative functions, followed by those who work in marketing (53 percent). Only 29 percent of those working in sales functions reported their use of free file-sharing platforms to IT, according to survey results.
The results suggest that mobility is an essential element of the modern workforce, with 88 percent of employees reporting a need for access to work documents from outside the office, with those working in legal departments (100 percent) the most likely to require files. Marketing departments followed at 97 percent, finance at 92 percent and sales at 80 percent. The survey found just 35 percent of those working in administrative job functions report needing remote access.
There is also, however, an increasing proclivity for those same workers not to realize the potential dangers they are putting their company in by doing so with tools not sanctioned by their IT department, Moinuddin continued. The burden now falls on IT departments to provide tools to enable collaboration and file-sharing, without compromising corporate and legal policies surrounding data security.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.