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February 25, 2015

Ignorance rules the workplace cloud

IT departments "losing control" of employee cloud usage

By Alexander Sword

Most British office workers either don’t know if their organisation has a cloud usage policy or believe it doesn’t, according to research from Trustmarque.

56 percent of workers surveyed stated that their organisation didn’t have a policy, while 28 percent didn’t know if one existed.

Even among those who were aware of their organisation having a policy, 48 percent claimed to have ignored it because it prevented them from doing their job properly.

1 in 5 cloud users admitted to uploading sensitive enterprise information to cloud storage applications and 28 percent stated they had used these applications to save or access data from previous jobs.

In addition, 46 percent had used cloud applications at work and 40 percent admitted they had used applications that IT had not sanctioned or provided.

Corporate IT was actually indicated to be an obstruction to work processes, with 27% of cloud users saying they had used cloud applications to get around the restrictions of the IT system such as email attachment limits and limited data storage.

According to James Butler, Cloud Services Director at Trustmarque, the findings highlighted a need for IT to be more proactive in managing employees’ use of clouds.

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"You need leadership from the top down. If they don’t get on with it, people will work around the IT department," said James Butler, Cloud Services Director at Trustmarque, in an interview with CBR. "If they don’t help people with this they are going to be seen as a ‘blocker’.

"Organisations are losing control of their data," he told CBR. "It’s almost like sticking your head in the hand and pretending there’s no problem."

Butler added: "For IT departments, the ongoing challenge is maintaining an IT environment that supports employees’ changing working practices, but at the same time is highly secure. A blanket approach towards blocking unsanctioned applications can often be unrealistic.

"IT departments need to be able to analyse the activities that pose the greatest risk (e.g. sharing data outside the company) and block them specifically to mitigate risk.

"The shift in how IT is being consumed by users requires a similar shift in the mindset of IT departments, from being the builder of IT systems to becoming a broker of cloud services."

The report surveyed 2,016 UK working adults between 16 and 64 years old. It was commissioned by Trustmarque and conducted by research company TNS.

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