Are your employees storing company data in personal cloud storage space? If so, what happens if they leave your company?

If staff are actively syncing or copying data to cloud services that are on their own personal accounts like DropBox, Google Docs and OneDrive to name a few, they are storing your company’s proprietary or sensitive data outside your view. There’s no way to identify what files have been copied.

Bring your own application (BYOA)

BYOA has become very common in today’s small businesses where employees choose the apps with which they are most comfortable and proficient. This practice can provide organizations with significant benefits, including lower expenses for software and licensing purchases as well as training.

With these pros comes some cons—data security and regulatory compliance are two big ones. The next largest risk to consider is the potential increase for viruses and malware to be introduced into your business network.

What’s on your network?

Applications installed on networks also include remote control applications that allow users access to desktops over the Internet. This may not seem to be a major issue on the surface, however; there are risks involved with this software being present. Software deployed onto your network, without your IT team’s knowledge, can linger before the threat is even discovered.

According to a new survey by LogMeIn and researcher Edge Strategies, only 45 percent of non-IT professionals indicated that they asked for any assistance from their IT staff before they downloaded software onto their work’s network. That is a large percentage of applications being deployed directly by end users.

Policing starts with a policy

There is a fine line between data security and employee productivity that must be addressed within your business. Often companies have found an increase in productivity from users having access to cloud sources. At minimum, you should have a company policy that addresses what employees can and cannot do with your systems and your data.

I explained some of these same risks when I blogged about the bring your own device (BYOD) explosion, but the BYOA world is much more complicated for small businesses, non-profits and associations. Are you prepared for the risk of employee misuse, lost or stolen devices or if the employee suddenly leaves the company?

What apps are your staff using on your network and what are your concerns about them?

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