Huddle: Consumer cloud services causing 'security time-bomb' for enterprises

Summary:The enterprise world is sitting on a disaster waiting to explode, based on a new survey from the U.K. cloud company.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- As more employees continue to access consumer cloud accounts at work (regardless of IT rules), the enterprise world is about to reach a breaking point, based on a new report.

Quite simply, U.K. cloud collaboration company Huddle described the trend as a "security time-bomb."

At least 38 percent of U.S. office workers are said to have admitted to storing work documents on personal cloud tools and services, while a whopping 91 percent of workers added they use personal devices (i.e. USB drives) to store and share sensitive company documents.

Huddle argued that this means enterprise and government organizations are at severe risk of losing both data intellectual property forever as this fragmentation continues.

The London-headquartered company published its first State of the Enterprise assessment report amid the official opening of its San Francisco offices on Thursday morning as Huddle branches out to attract a U.S. customer base.

"Legacy technologies create barriers to how we want to work," said Mitchell.

Huddle produces a team-based collaboration platform designed for large teams within enterprises storing content securely and individually. The idea behind Huddle is to replace personal USB drives and "dumb file storage" platforms with open-security models and folder-based content.

As the cloud-based storage and collaboration market grows, it looks like Huddle will be aiming to take on the likes of Box, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Dropbox, among others.

Huddle is framing itself as different in that it constructs a single network for working and collaborating beyond a firewall, removing VPN complexities with single, company-wide login.

Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell described during an inaugural media presentation that its customers are replacing legacy technologies, calling out SharePoint and Outlook in particular as users move content collaboration out of email.

"Legacy technologies create barriers to how we want to work," said Mitchell. Pointing toward mobile workforce trends, Mitchell followed up that at least half of U.S. employees surveyed in the study want to be able to work from anywhere.

Here are some more highlights from the report:

  • Men are the worst offenders being that they are 30 percent more likely to use personal cloud storage at work than women.
  • By age, the worst demographic is the youngest generation in the workforce as 89 percent of employees between the ages of 18 and 24 use personal devices for work purposes.
  • Email is still the dominant collaboration tool as 65 percent of employees use attachments to share files outside the company. However, 31 percent lamented they are not able to send large files via email. Another 18 percent said they couldn't use email to get their work approved by co-workers.
  • Couriers still have a niche market as 15 percent said they still send hard-copy documents through in-person delivery.

"We're not alone in seeing that people want to make sense of all this influx," Mitchell remarked.

The Huddle co-founder predicted that the trend this year will be acknowledging the existence of BYOD ("bring your own device") and 2014 will be the turning point when enterprises (and their IT departments) will answer employee demands.

For reference, Huddle commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the study. The market research firm surveyed 2,000 U.S. office employees between the ages of 18 and 65 during the week of April 2, 2013.

Huddle plans to publish a follow up to its State of the Enterprise report series this September, with annual updates thereafter.

Image via Huddle

Topics: Cloud, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Software, Security, Storage

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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