6 Reasons You Should Never Use Google Drive for Business File Sharing
by Michael Fiorenza on October 17, 2016
Google Drive, as well as iCloud and other consumer-class cloud file sharing solutions, are free, easy to use, and make it fast and simple to share files with virtually anyone, anywhere. Need to collaborate with a worker at your branch office in Belfast? Want to share your marketing campaign with a channel partner in Thailand? Need to send some product specs to a prospect across the country? No problem -- just stick it in Google Drive and share it.
But before you do, you need to be aware that Google Drive and other consumer cloud products are not viable business file sharing solutions. There are many serious problems with using these tools to conduct business. Here's what you need to know.
1. You May Not Even Know When Your Data Has Been Breached
Not only do your customers not know their personal data got hacked, your own company may not realize your sensitive information wound up in the wrong hands.
As horrifying as it is to see the news on massive data breaches like those at Yahoo! and so many healthcare organizations and hospitals recently, the majority of data breaches aren't ever made known to the public. In some cases, the companies don't even know they've been hacked (it took Yahoo! two years to figure it out), and in other cases there are no laws forcing the companies to make the breach public. Mum's the word.
You could be putting your customers' sensitive information at risk, as well as your own proprietary secrets and valuable intellectual properties, without even realizing it. Even if the documents tucked away in Google Drive show that your company hasn't been able to achieve a breakthrough in a particular area of testing and research -- do you want your competitors to get wind of that failure? Likely not. Especially if the data includes key points about why you haven't been successful. They may use that data to piece together a solution, without having to invest in the research. Then you're trumped twice -- they capitalize on your research funding plus beat you to the market. If the hack was secret and the information sold on the black market, you may never even know what's happened. With a business file sharing tool that provides enterprise-grade security, that won't ever be an issue.
2. It Can Put You Out of Compliance With Consumer Data Regulations
Lawmakers have been relatively slow to take on legislation to protect consumer data in the U.S., but those in Europe and a few other nations have enacted quite strict laws governing consumer data protection. If your company does business in countries or jurisdictions with stricter laws, allowing employees to store customer data in Google Drive or other consumer cloud accounts could be a violation of the law.
Within the U.S., you could still get in trouble for being blatantly careless with customer data, which would include not securing it with an encrypted, secure business file sharing solution. Additionally, some industry regulations (such as those governing data held by healthcare organizations, law practices, financial institutions, and others that store highly sensitive and protected data) also prevent storing certain data in Google Drive or other consumer cloud repositories.
3. Data is Inaccessible During an Audit
If you have an unknown number of employees storing and sharing sensitive documents and files in Google Drive or other insecure cloud resources, and then have to go through an audit, it's unlikely the auditors will ever find all of the relevant data. This could cause problems, whether the audit is an internal one or an external one. In some cases, the data hidden in Google Drive could be your saving grace in a matter of litigation -- but you'll never know it, because it is squirreled away in someone's personal Google Drive account and can't be discovered.
4. Data Won't be Included in Your Data Analytics Operations
Almost all businesses are either involved in a big data analytics initiative or have one on the horizon. Big data projects always begin with a process of data discovery. This is the process in which companies search for data that holds valuable information on customers, business processes, the market, and other avenues of information that can be analyzed for insight and business intelligence.
Any data that's hidden in Google Drive is unlikely to be uncovered during the data discovery process, handicapping the company in terms of the insight they can derive from their data analytics operations (which are not cheap!). With a business file sharing tool, all of the data is kept in a central location, making data discovery (as well as auditing) a simple, straightforward process.
5. If the Employee With the Google Account Leaves You May Lose Access to Your Data
Even the best employees can leave suddenly, giving you no clue that they've stored valuable and sensitive data in Google Drive.
What if Wanda in marketing needs to leave suddenly to care for a sick family member? What if Alex in production is in a serious car accident? What if Chris in finance is caught embezzling money? Even the best of employees under the best of circumstances can leave the company suddenly. If they've been keeping Google Drive accounts that nobody else knows about, you could lose years' worth of valuable data on your finances, customers, products, and more -- with no way to recover that information.
Now, consider the damage that could be done by those who aren't the best of workers under the best of circumstances. Google Drive and other freebie cloud offerings can become a safe haven for their nefarious activities. When the company establishes a secure, traceable business file sharing tool and enforces its use, it makes hiding sneaky activities much more difficult (and more likely to be found out by your company before it's too late).
6. Data in Google Drive Isn't Included in Your Backup & DR Solutions
Enterprises spend thousands of dollars on backup and disaster recovery products and solutions. Yet anything stored in Google Drive or other secret cloud storage isn't backed up, and no one will even know to restore that data if a disaster does happen. Having a centralized data store, enabled by a smart business file sharing solution is the only way to assure your data is backed up properly and that it will be recoverable in case of an emergency.
Would you like to learn more about how an enterprise-class business file sharing solution can put an end to Google Drive and shadow IT for the betterment of your business? Download the Talon FAST™ solution overview now.