The growing popularity of file sharing services is clear. In a recent Cloud Security Alliance survey, IT reported that cloud file-sharing services were, by far, the most-requested. Below is a list showing the percentage of IT professionals that have received employee requests for cloud services in particular categories.

% of IT professionals that have received employee requests for cloud services in particular categories

  • File Sharing / Collaboration – 80%
  • Communication – 41%
  • Social Media – 38%
  • Content Sharing – 27%
  • Enterprise Content Management – 20%
  • IT Development – 20%
  • Marketing – 20%
  • Sales Productivity – 18%
  • Business Intelligence – 16%

In addition, based on our usage data, the average person uses three file-sharing services regularly. This suggests that many employees are “self-enabling” when it comes to cloud file-sharing, which should come at as no surprise given the ease of adoption these services offer. Additionally, many of these cloud services offer more than just file-syncing across devices; they’re platforms for collaborating with other people.

Naturally, users share files with other people at their companies, but many IT teams are now concerned with the prevalence of files being shared via public links, which can be shared with anyone (including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail users) without restriction.

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9% of files shared externally contain sensitive or confidential data

Analyzing sharing data in corporate-sanctioned file sharing and collaboration services, we found that 11% of all documents were shared outside the company. The majority of these external collaborators turned out to be business partners, but 18% of external collaboration requests went to third party email addresses such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail.

This could raise some red flags given the sensitive information users upload to file-sharing services. We cross-referenced our analysis of sensitive and confidential data in the cloud with sharing activity and found that a small, but significant 9% of files shared externally contained sensitive or confidential information, putting these companies at risk.

Cloud file-sharing offers tremendous value in terms of productivity and collaboration, but IT teams must enforce governance policies defining what documents can be shared externally, and with whom, in order to prevent data loss from eroding the value these services deliver.

See the hard data

To see more data on how the cloud is used by enterprises and their employees today, download our latest Cloud Adoption and Risk report below.