Businesses Want More Security in Cloud Storage Platforms

Survey results indicate security and data governance concerns within the enterprise are driving enterprise file sync and share (EFFS) adoption.

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A variety of file-related needs is fueling the growing cloud storage market, according to a survey of 300 IT professionals conducted by CTERA Networks.

Security and data governance concerns within the enterprise are driving enterprise file sync and share (EFFS) adoption. In 2014, the survey found, 35 percent of organizations experienced corporate data leakage as a result of employees sharing files through often-unsanctioned FSS services -- a four percent over 2013.

"IT professionals are struggling to control and serve employees when it comes to file sharing. Employees tend to use cloud file sharing services that are unsanctioned, bringing new security and data leakage threats into the enterprise on a daily basis," Rani Osnat, vice president of strategic marketing at CTERA, told eWEEK. "By circumventing IT to use these services, employees are exposing their organization to numerous security, legal and regulatory risks. While more than a third of organizations might strictly forbid the use of file sharing applications entirely, employee preference and demand for Dropbox-like services have made FSS a requirement for most corporations."

Nearly three out of four companies (73 percent) have implemented or are considering an alternative to public FSS, and two- thirds of those favor private or "virtual private" cloud storage solutions over SaaS solutions.

Forty-two percent of enterprises in the more heavily regulated financial services, government and life sciences industries and 40 percent of organizations with 10,000 employees or more prefer a completely private cloud that does not rely on external hosted infrastructure, according to survey results.

Osnat also noted mobile phones and tablets are increasingly being used for email, file viewing and file editing, because they give users easy access on the go, while traveling or at home.

"Additionally, many users use their own devices for work purposes, the phenomenon known as BYOD," Osnat said. "Generally, businesses view these trends favorably because they increase employee productivity and satisfaction. However, as our survey demonstrates, they also bring risks of sensitive data leaking to unauthorized parties, and a degradation in data governance and control."

One-third of all organizations with more than 50 remote or branch offices said they have implemented on-premises cloud storage gateways that support both the private cloud and public cloud, and 27 percent of all companies have implemented them.

In addition, 36 percent of all organizations are currently considering implementing cloud storage gateways.

"By providing added security with full integration into organizations’ existing storage and IT infrastructure, these services are also improving the end-user experience – a combination that effectively can put an end to rogue FSS usage," Osnat said. "With enterprises already showing a nearly two-to-one preference for private or hosted private cloud storage solutions over SaaS alternatives, the market opportunity for cloud storage providers and private cloud storage tools is truly at a tipping point."