Perils of Free Online Storage when Protecting Your Business Data


It’s still surprising the number of businesses today that utilize some form of online storage without the proper mechanisms to protect their information.  There’s nothing wrong with using today’s technology (like storing data in the cloud in Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive) in order to take advantage of efficiencies as well as features. However, doing so without proper safeguards in place leaves an individual and/or their organization exposed.  It seems not a day goes by without cloud storage factoring into one of our cases. Unfortunately, many times it involves smaller businesses with less experience with these types of situations and the different variables involved.

We often find for all of their diligence in retrieving the computer and possibly cell phone from the employee who abruptly left, they frequently fail to consider where much of their critical information resides.  And quite frankly, even if they are able to factor this in and restrict access, chances are good their folks are using either the free version of this online storage or a personal version rather than the business account. Most business accounts cost more and are setup to properly allocate permissions to the folks accessing the data. Without that, you’re left with a cobbled together framework of individual users who oftentimes have shared access to the files between each other, with individual accounts which are either free or limited in nature to their security permission assignments. Then, when it’s time to investigate who took what and when, what we’re left with is akin to detangling a ball of Christmas lights.  

What’s more, the business versions of these online storage systems typically have much better logging for auditing who did what and when.  This is tremendously beneficial in time and data analysis of files in terms of when they were uploaded as well as who has edited, accessed or downloaded.  The moral of this is if you knowingly choose to use online storage for your business, please think long and hard about doing it the proper way with a purpose built business platform that affords you protections.  It¹s a lot like insurance. You oftentimes don¹t know the value of what you’ve got until you really need to use it. So pay for it, or pay a little more for it, it¹ll be cheaper in the long run.

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