More than three-quarters of UK organisations are at risk of leaking sensitive corporate data because their employees' use of consumer file sharing services is out of control, a recent survey has found.
The global study, commissioned by software-as-a-service provider IntraLinks, found that 77 per cent of UK companies have no policy regarding the use of consumer cloud services.
Allowing users to exchange information using public file-sharing services, exposes them to the risk of inadvertent data loss, say the report's authors.
A similar proportion was using unsecured email to share large files of sensitive data with parties.
Of course, IntraLinks has an axe to grind in this respect: it supplies secure information exchange services to, among others, law firms, finance houses and life sciences companies, all of whom have a need for secure, auditable document systems.
"Law firms have come to us because they've found people storing client information on consumer file-sharing sites," Ian Turner, IntraLinks UK vice president, told Computing.
"People's expectations of what IT will do are much higher now," he added. "If the corporate tools aren't available to get the job done quickly, they'll find consumer tools that will."
IntraLinks' history lies in providing data sharing tools for due diligence where large volumes of files need to be shared securely with parties outside the firewall.
However, the answer to the problem of unsecured file sharing services isn't to issue a blanket ban, because users will find ways to use them anyway, says Turner. He encourages IT departments to be more imaginative.
For example, one of IntraLinks' customers makes sure any URLs for consumer file-sharing services default to the IntraLinks service, which provides them with the same utility in a secure environment.