The complex issue of taming employee content and devices in the enterprise

Not All Content Is Created Equal
Staff workarounds and bad practices can put company data in danger

We've heard time and time again that employees are taking IT decision making into their own hands, and unsurprisingly the rate at which employees are using their own personal collaboration tools is on the rise in 70% of global businesses, a figure which will undoubtedly grow further as our lives become more interconnected through technology.

Popular file sync and share solutions can provide immediate productivity relief, but also simply further individual silos and content chaos. What happens if an employee leaves? The content they shared using their own consumer drive in the cloud is never recovered.

What happens if the shared Dropbox account gets compromised? Losing a customer, facing a fine or even a prison term for being careless with customer data is a legitimate concern and demands more attention with productive solutions.

Employee workarounds

In today's complex IT environment an employee looks for a workaround for one reason or another, which involves sending company content to a personal email account or moving it to a consumer cloud storage repository before downloading it to mobile devices.

While seemingly harmless, your organisation's data has now been released into the wild and your company's intellectual property is at risk, potentially costing IT and the company millions in time, money and brand reputation. Without any tracking by IT, these rogue pieces of content have become a ticking content time bomb.

Right now we're in a highly fragmented environment as the effects of consumerisation hit the enterprise, but ultimately, enterprise customers will force vendors to work together and solve this problem so data can be controlled, even if the applications and devices can't.

Retain control

If recent headlines have taught us anything, it's essential for enterprise IT to retain controls of users, content and devices, ensuring the data stays where it's meant to be – within the confines of the business, which now means beyond the firewall and while employees are on the go.

Many IT departments try to rein in the content chaos and manage security by blocking access. However, not all content is created equal and no one policy will apply to all content.

Deploying the right solutions is only half the battle. Enterprises need to first understand how their content is classified, either as public, confidential or restricted content, in order to manage content chaos with the relevant policies in place.

Solutions with these advanced security and administration features will empower employees to put their content to work, because it will be readily available no matter where it's stored without any risk factor.

Content complexity

The complexity of managing corporate content has never been greater. New tablet and mobile devices, BYOD policies, the proliferation of cloud and mobile productivity apps and flexible, mobile working styles are just a few of the challenges.

Where content lives and how it is used is changing the way your organisation creates, shares and manages files – in short, how your business works.

With the ability to access, browse and share business content on either side of the enterprise walls, content chaos doesn't have to keep you chained to your desk.

Employees no longer have to resort to risky workarounds giving IT the added reward of a highly productive and secure workforce. So what are you waiting for?

  • Paul Hampton is Director of Product Marketing at Alfresco, the second largest open source company in the world.