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Making virtualization, reality

How to Access Your Data Conveniently Without Sacrificing Security

Dropbox, which grants users access to stored data and software applications regardless of location or device, can be a handy tool for professionals. Using Dropbox enables people to alter or withdraw data from a company network, allowing them to access it from home, or on vacation. The convenience of this feature is outstanding. But, using Dropbox or any equivalent program in the corporate setting poses security risks.

Dropbox has the capacity to expose sensitive corporate data like intellectual properties to public and competitors. Because of this potential, many IT departments lockdown Dropbox, disabling it from entering the company network. This often frustrates users though, as they expect their company to provide a computing environment that helps them do their job, not one that restricts access to useful tools. The dilemma of finding a balance between security and optimal user experience can cause issues for companies and their employees, as one side is inevitably left concerned or aggravated.

There is, however, a compromise to be had, one that grants users a measure of control over the data they need without tying the IT department’s hands. This solution entails the adoption of a secured program that is operated by IT, but functions in the same way as Dropbox.

Sharefile from Citrix is one such solution. It offers Dropbox functionality to users, but is operated by IT. It grants users what they want while simultaneously reducing data leaks. Data leaks are mitigated in the following ways:

  • Authentication – To sign into Sharefile users enter their active directory credentials (the same ones that gain access to the corporate network), rather than third party credentials (like a Dropbox password).
  • Device Control – Sharefile can be assigned to specific devices, like those IT has control over. This way data stored in Sharefile can be removed remotely if a device is compromised.
  • Permission Levels – Various groups of users can be assigned various levels of access. For example, executives might have full access, while role specific employees may only have access to what is pertinent to their positions.
  • User Influence Options – IT can enable or disable downloading options, which can allow users to view information, but prevent them from saving data to their personal devices.

In some cases, control over Sharefile can be ceded by the IT department to give users more freedom. For example, a user leading a project may be given the option to oversee one folder within Sharefile, and even have the power to bring in new users. However, these invitees must still be assigned authentication credentials to the corporate network by IT before they can be brought into Sharefile, and subsequently the folder operated by a user. In all regards, IT is a checkpoint that must be crossed for access to the program.

Adopting a program like Sharefile isn’t necessary to stop Dropbox data leaks; this can be achieved by simply disabling its introduction to a network. But, to ignore the usefulness and convenience of a tool like Dropbox can be harmful, both to user experience and user performance. That is why finding a compromise – one that retains tight security but offers functionality – is beneficial to companies as a whole. Users get what they want directly from their company and have no need to circumvent security measures in order to enjoy the Dropbox convenience.

Louis Le

Louis Le

As a key member of the Gibraltar Leadership Team, Louis specializes in initiating meaningful engagements with employees, customers and vendors. With skills ranging from marketing, to sales, to pricing analyst, Louis tackles challenges with an unwavering positive attitude. Louis Le brings a wealth of experience to his role as Director of Marketing for Gibraltar Solutions Inc. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Honours Business Administration program, Louis has built a lengthy career working in marketing, sales and financial roles for some of Canada’s best known technology companies.