Employees keep using personal cloud services to store work documents

Nearly 30% of employees are using personal cloud services to store work-related documents, according to a survey conducted at recent technology trade shows in which 5% of respondents also admitted to uploading confidential data to their personal cloud accounts.

The survey of over 120 companies was conducted by Varonis at Microsoft TechEd events in June. It was aimed at uncovering how much confidential information is being leaked beyond corporate walls. One of the leading causes for data leakage is from employees who upload sensitive, work-related data to their personal cloud accounts.

The survey found that a small percentage of employees are uploading a large number of files containing confidential work-related data. Additionally, the survey sought to find out what measures companies are taking to deter employees from absconding with this sensitive data as they leave the company.

The survey indicates that having an NDA in place can help reduce the number of employees who upload sensitive data to their cloud accounts without company approval to 13% from a current average of 18%. The data may be showing that those employees who say they signed an NDA are in organizations that have such IP programs and therefore have greater awareness of their legal risks in uploading sensitive data to the cloud.

In the survey, 44% of employees claim to have not signed NDAs. This is a sign that companies have significant room for improvement in communicating the value and importance of their IP to their workers.

Another way to significantly reduce IP leakage is to simply ask employees during an exit interview to return or delete any data that belongs to the organization. However, results from the survey indicated that only 46% of respondents were asked to return digital content when leaving their last position.

In addition to the best practices listed in the report, organizations can further protect themselves against sensitive data leakage by blocking public cloud services and offering a sanctioned alternative to public cloud-based lockers that offer the same user experience while keeping data under the organization’s control.

The full report is available here.

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