Over recent years, the popularity of the web’s foremost cloud storage systems and services has grown exponentially. From Box to Dropbox to Google Drive and so on, there are literally hundreds of services up and running right now that offer near-limitless storage for private and business use alike. Best of all, many of these services tend to be 100% free of charge to use and really couldn’t be easier to set up – a few basic details and you’re up and running. And with the option of synching accounts to desktops, laptops and mobile devices alike, convenience really can be quite fantastic.
However, there’s one rather glaring downside that comes with pretty much every single one of these free cloud storage services – security tends to be remedial to say the least. This is for two very clear reasons – the first being that they’re largely designed for personal use and the second being that they’re on offer free of charge. The simple truth is that in order to keep tabs on cloud storage security around the clock without fail, it takes a crack team of dedicated professionals who aren’t likely to work for free or offer their services without a fee.
As such, Generic File Sharing Programs (GFS) are slowly but surely becoming a way of life for most people, but when it comes to businesses there tend to be way too many risks attached. At the other end of the spectrum come the virtual data rooms, which for a monthly subscription fee take everything that’s offered by a GFS and bolster it with outstanding security. They’re not free, but they’re also not punctuated with the same holes and security issues that often plague standard public cloud storage systems.
Here’s a quick overview of just a few of the most pressing GFS security concerns to illustrate the point:
Sensitive Data Loss Risk
First of all, when a business uses a GFS for any kind of data storage or file sharing, there’s always the chance that any given employee may upload or share data of an unacceptably sensitive nature. The simple fact of the matter is that when using a GFS there really is no room for sharing anything that’s likely to cause a problem if accessed or hijacked by unauthorised parties – any employee may however accidentally or purposefully share such data.
Any decent cloud storage system that allows multiple persons to access the same data will at least monitor and track certain movements – the last time any given person logged in for example. However, where sensitive and important data is concerned this really isn’t sufficient. Instead, every single move from the point of logging on needs to be monitored and stored in order to be accessed by way of comprehensive reports. This way, any data that’s altered, moved, deleted, added or accessed in any way can be tracked back to the exact time, place and person that did it.
Limited Options and Interface
It’s unrealistic to expect any system that’s being offered 100% free of charge to offer a world-class user-interface that’s not only easy to use, but is also rich in features the likes of which can genuinely help the business run more smoothly. From navigation to search systems to the general quality of the UI in general, free cloud storage systems cover the basics, but are generally not in the same league as the quality virtual data room.
No or Limited Data Recovery
In the vast majority of instances when data is deleted from a GFS, it is gone for good. There may be instances in which a long-winded process of dealing with technical support might allow for some of the data to be recovered, but in most cases it really is history. By contrast, with a good virtual data room there will always be safeguards and security systems in place which allow members – or at least account administrators – to restore any deleted files or data for at least a specific set period after the time of loss/deletion.
Last but not least, one of the worst eventualities any business can face these days is that of catastrophic data loss – a reality that a surprising number of business owners encounter every day. Reliance on data means heavy damage when and where any given data is lost, which in the case of free GFS is something that cannot be ruled out of the equation. Sure, they claim to have backups in place, but as you aren’t paying them a penny and have no contract with them, they have no obligation to make sure you’re covered and no liability in the event of an outright disaster.
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