Most employees (81%) access work documents on the go. Yet in the absence of an enterprise-grade file sharing alternative, 72% are resorting to unauthorized, free file-sharing services, according to a new report released today by Workshare. The report titled “Workforce Mobilization” is based on more than 5,000 responses from companies across the UK, EMEA, and the U.S. The findings reveal the true extent to which mobile users are increasingly circumventing policies set by IT and using unsanctioned applications to share large files and collaborate on documents outside of the office. This raises major concerns over the security of corporate documents and personal information and highlights the challenges facing IT when it comes to enabling mobility while ensuring data governance and mitigating risk.
To address these concerns, IT administrators must provide employees with an easy-to-use, secure way to share documents from mobile devices. Organizations must act quickly to regain control of their documents and corporate intellectual property, as the survey reveals:
- 72% of those questioned had not received authorization from their IT department to use their consumer-based file sharing application, up from 66% in 2012.
- Over half (62%) of knowledge workers use their personal devices for work.
- The majority (69%) of these workers also use free file sharing services to collaborate and access shared documents, which is a 3% increase over the last year.
Workshare provides a variety of IT-sanctioned apps that supports mobile sharing and allows IT administrators to centrally control and report on sharing behavior. Additionally, to address concerns around mobile file sharing, Workshare today launches a new version of Protect Server to now cover IT control over files shared via email and webmail on mobile devices. This allows employees to email documents from mobile devices, without the risk of inadvertently sharing sensitive or hidden metadata inside documents.
With Protect Server, administrators can set data governance policies for different document types, individuals, geographic regions, jurisdictions, and channels, letting people work from their mobile devices with the confidence that any hidden metadata, such as embedded graphs and track changes, will be removed before being shared.
“Businesses can no longer ignore mobility trends. Instead, they must find ways to meet their needs, while meeting strict security demands,” comments Anthony Foy, CEO of Workshare. “We’ve provided secure file sharing methods for more than 14 years, and Workshare Protect Server extends this to the cloud and mobile devices securely, enabling organizations to strike the balance between users’ wants and their demands for complete data security.”
With this release Workshare continues to pioneer more efficient and secure file sharing and web-based collaboration for desktop and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives to meet the evolving working behavior. Leading analyst firm Forrester highlights this changing behavior. “By 2015, most very large enterprises will have to provide more structured and formalized support for employees who elect to use personal mobile devices for work – including smartphones and tablet PCs,” wrote Brownlee Thomas, Forrester Research, Inc. “In a recent survey, we learned that supporting more types of mobile devices and platforms will be a critical or high priority during the next 12 months for 73% of firms with 5,000-plus employees, and also for 67% of firms with 1,000 to 4,999 employees.”
- The 2013 report builds on a 2012 survey conducted jointly with Workshare and AIIM, a global association of information professionals, and garnered more than 5,000 responses from a range of companies across EMEA and the U.S. It explored similar trends of BYOD, mobility, free file sharing and IT oversight.
- Larger companies, with over 20,000 employees, had a greater grasp of data security issues around file sharing applications. In contrast, companies with fewer than 500 employees had a much lower proportion (24%) of employees using authorized file sharing solutions. Protect Server provides full control over the corporate documents being, irrelevant of the device.
 Forrester Research, Inc., “The Global BYOD Management Services Ecosystem” by Brownlee Thomas, with Chris Andrews, Christian Kane, Ben Jennings, 3 September 2013