6 Reasons Why Dropbox Isn’t Secure Enough for Business

By Josh Topal | Small Business

When it comes to sharing photos and storing family recipes, Dropbox is wonderful. That’s why it’s so popular with consumers.

But because people are so used to using it at home, millions of users have brought Dropbox into their work environment. According to Osterman Research, Dropbox has found its way into 70% of companies.

And this is a problem. Because, when it comes to business, Dropbox’s consumer roots show through. It’s not right for business. In fact, Dropbox ended up on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s list of top banned apps because there are many file management use-cases for which Dropbox will actually leave you vulnerable.

Here are 6 reasons why Dropbox may not be suitable for your office.

1.       IT has no control or visibility.
With Dropbox, IT administrators can’t control which users are syncing files. Nor can they control who has access to shared files. Dropbox does not allow companies to view an audit log, so if sensitive data is leaked, admins have no way of knowing who may  have accessed it. What’s more, Dropbox doesn’t provide remote wipe—so if an employee’s laptop is stolen, IT can’t remotely remove Dropbox data like they can remove Exchange data.

2.       Users can’t set granular permissions.
Business users collaborate on files differently than individuals. Business collaboration requires granular control over permissions to ensure appropriate access levels for dozens of collaborators and stakeholders.  This protects against accidental overwrites or deletions, but it also preserves security and secrecy. In this regard, Dropbox falls short: it doesn’t let you customize read and write privileges for individual users.

3.       Data encryption is limited.
If you’re storing financial reports, strategy documents or competitive analyses, you want them protected. But Dropbox has limited encryption and security features that can leave customers’ data exposed. Your data is sitting on the same public cloud next to content from millions of other users, without adequate isolation.

4.       You can’t set different sharing permissions for sub-folders.
Sometimes a subfolder will contain data that shouldn’t be shared with everyone who can access the enclosing folder. But Dropbox doesn’t let you specify permissions for sub-folders. To protect your data, you’re forced to redo your entire folder structure. A business tool should  adapt to your business processes, not force you to change them.

5.       You can’t share password-protected web links.
Dropbox is great for sharing photos and videos between friends, but what if you want to share files over the web with a secure password? Or what if you want to add a password to a file you’ve already shared? When you send a business file with Dropbox, you lose control over who can access the file.

6.       You can’t lock files for collaborative editing.
There’s nothing worse than losing productivity while you try to sort out version conflicts. If you’re working on a file that’s shared with multiple people, you want to be able to lock it so nobody else can overwrite it. Dropbox doesn’t support locking files for editing—and this lack of protection risks the resiliency of your data.

Employees love Dropbox so much because it’s so simple to use. Which means an out-and-out ban on Dropbox probably won’t be effective in your organization. In fact, IT is often unaware when employees start using Dropbox, so a ban may just drive users underground and increase the risks that much more.

To get the behavior you want out of your users, you need to provide file sync and share tools that enable the exact same functionality—but without the business risk. When it comes to getting employees to drop their Dropbox, the user experience is key.

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