The cloud is getting a lot of press lately - some good, some bad and some that has gone largely unnoticed. In this post, we highlight three important cloud stories you might have missed.

January 13, 2014

3 Min Read
3 Cloud-Based File Sharing Stories You May Have Missed

By Michael Brown 1

Have you heard the story of the NSA’s snooping making businesses uneasy about the cloud? What about the big Dropbox outage, which was either routine maintenance or the result of anynonmous hackers? Of course you did, these stories have dominated headlines the last few weeks and days, respectively.

But flying under the radar were four cloud-based file sharing stories that didn’t get as much mainstream attention, but which are highly significant to the greater MSP population. To make sure you’re aware of them (and their significance) I wanted to offer a quick recap. Let’s take a look:

Top Three Security Priorities for Cloud File Sharing – Of all the enterprise-grade file sharing security features, encryption tends to get all of the attention, but as the folks over at CloudTimes.com remind us, key management is just (if not more) as important. Here they explain some of the more technical details on how federated key management works:

In this model, the central cloud service provider serves only as a “mediator” to facilitate secure document collaboration, but does not have the necessary data access privileges or keys to actually decrypt files or access them in an unencrypted form. Here’s how it works:

The central (cloud-based) mediator receives enrollment requests from various users who want to collaborate. No distinction is made between the users based on location – they can be anywhere.

The meditator enrolls these users into a cryptographically protected group and establishes a data repository for the documents that will be shared. Using advanced, but standard-based, cryptographic techniques, the relevant key material is fragmented, re-encrypted, and distributed. As a result, the mediator does not have enough key material to decrypt anything. Meanwhile, each user must have the “approval” of the mediator to decrypt documents in the group repository.

The End Of The Line For Freemium File Sharing?Freeloaders beware, the freemium model you’ve grown so accustomed to might – just might – be disappearing. As Forbes explains, this shift is closing doors for some and opening them for others:

The fact is that simple file sharing is rapidly becoming a commoditized service – users have gown far too accustomed to the idea of simple storage being free. They’re storing ever-increasing amounts of digital stuff for free – and that’s fine if you’re an existing large player or a new entrant scaling rapidly, but not so great if you’re a small startup. With the high profile vendors pushing customers to their cloud backup services, and the larger disruptors such as Dropbox gaining widespread usage, there is no feasible opportunity for smaller vendors to differentiate based on the price (or lack of price) for their service. Everyone else in the space can beat the little guys on price – which is why people are starting to realize that niche customer sectors, specific functionality or strong ties to an ecosystem are where the value really lies.

The Case for Cloud-Based File Sharing – Here’s a scary thought: The vast majority of IT administrators know or suspect employees of going rouge:  

Overall, 70 percent of IT professionals know or suspect rogue online file sharing in their organizations, according to Terri McClure, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group. That's a big problem because use of non-approved technology puts data at risk…

…An abundance of options requires IT leaders to carefully consider which solutions best meet their organization's needs. Clearly, the team must find the delicate balance between ease-of-use and security. After all, IT departments must choose a cloud file-sharing service that employees will actually use.

Those were the cloud stories you might have missed. Which ones did we miss? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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