When we think about remote file sharing, there are usually one or 2 of the big brands that pop into our heads. While these systems might be great for sharing some holiday snaps or managing budget spreadsheets for the home, there are some serious concerns when it comes to security from a business point of view.
The first thing you should think when looking at sharing and data storage, and that is ‘where does it go?’ How safe is your data when you plonk it into Dropbox, and where is it actually being stored? While it is Dropbox’s interest to keep your data secure, there are a few weaknesses that might compromise that security, and if you are looking for somewhere to store and collaborate on your highly sensitive data, you might want to look elsewhere.
Trust Based Security: A big part of choosing any software for our business is deciding who we trust the most with our data. Having peace of mind about how secure your data is demands a lot of companies like Dropbox. The primary weakness of Dropbox is that it relies on your trust. While Dropbox does encrypt your data once it is stored, it also owns the keys to the encrypted information. This means that Dropbox, or any successful hackers, could use that key to unlock and read your information. The only way to be sure your data won’t be read is to encrypt it before you give it to Dropbox. That way if they are compromised and your files are hacked, they will still be unreadable.
No Granular Security: Just like businesses, not all data is created equally, and so it shouldn’t all be treated the same way. Some files might be more sensitive than others, and require more protection. If you are using Dropbox to store all of your files and backups, you will run into problems here, as Dropbox has no granular storage capability. This basically means that you can’t drill down into different security levels for different files and folders, and all data from every Dropbox customer is treated equally. Being able to isolate more sensitive data is an important step in ensuring it’s security, but with Dropbox your data sits on their servers, side by side with their millions of other customers, regardless of whether it’s sensitive customer data or a picture from your last holiday.
User Errors Endanger Your Data: This unfortunately is something that Dropbox can’t be held wholly accountable for. The most common cause of data loss in business is not through hacking (despite it’s increased publicity) but instead from basic human error. Dropbox only encrypts your data server side, so once it has been downloaded to your device it is no longer secure. This means that mobile devices are a very easy route to your data – and the risk largely lies in your devices being stolen, lost or access being granted to an unauthorized source.
To summarise our above points, Dropbox has it’s uses, and as long as you’re not using it to store sensitive information, you should be fine. But when it comes to our business, our client data or our own financials, how careful is too careful? We have spent a lot of time researching some easy and secure alternatives to using services like Dropbox and Google Drive for company files, and here are our 2 personal favourites:
Nomadesk: The thing that puts Nomadesk above Dropbox in a heartbeat is that it was designed specifically for businesses in mind, so they understand what your security needs are. As well as storing your data in encrypted form on their secure servers they also provide you with an encrypted local drive. That means any data you store with them is encrypted on download, so there is no risk of intrusion. And if your devices are stolen and you are worried about your data, they have implemented a unique remote wipe system, so that you can delete any sensitive data before it can be read. You then get all of your standard file sharing, collaboration and folder sharing facilities, all with granular storage and security protocols attached. It’s the more cost effective of the services, and perfect for smaller businesses.
SafeSync: SafeSync is a brand of Trend Micro – the folks responsible for some of the best antivirus and security in the industry. It allows you access to files anywhere, anytime from any device, all encrypted server side and across the Internet. The interface is very slick and for larger businesses, or those with a lot of data to store but not necessarily access on a day-to-day basis, it’s a fantastic product. It offers a solid platform for access, sharing, syncing, management and protection of your data, with the team folders feature included as a bonus. It’s a bit pricier, but if you are moving towards the larger enterprise end of the scale, it is worth the investment.
As with everything, it’s a personal preference that will help you make the decision, and which software you get on with best. If you need help with your security and data storage, why not call for a free security consultation today?