7 Security Risks from Consumer-Grade File Sync Services
By Steven Hsu • NIRIX
Posted: Jan. 16, 2023, 9:45 AM MT
|Without detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity, CGFS solutions can result in loss of accountability over changes to user accounts, organizations, passwords, and other entities.|
Most of the problems with CGFS solutions emanate from a lack of oversight. Business owners are not privy to when an instance is installed and are unable to control which employee devices can or cannot sync with a corporate PC. The use of CFGS solutions can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. These personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increase the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties.
Lacking visibility over the movement of files or file versions across endpoints, CFGS solutions improperly backup (or do not backup at all) files that were modified on an employee device. If an endpoint is compromised or lost, this lack of visibility can result in the inability to restore the most current version of a file or any version for that matter.
In a study by CERN, silent data corruption was observed in 1 out of every 1500 files. While many businesses trust their cloud solution providers to make sure that stored data maintains its integrity year after year, most CGFS solutions don’t implement data integrity assurance systems to ensure that any bit-rotor corrupted data is replaced with a redundant copy of the original.
CGFS solutions give carte blanche power to end-users over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information that can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third parties.
Since CGFS solutions have loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, you could be setting yourself up for a compliance violation. Many compliance policies require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict controls over how long files are kept and who can access them.
Loss of Accountability
Without detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity, CGFS solutions can result in loss of accountability over changes to user accounts, organizations, passwords, and other entities. If a malicious admin gains access to the system, hundreds of hours of configuration time can be undone if no alerting system is in place to notify other admins of these changes.
Loss of File Access
Consumer-grade solutions don’t track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to determine the events leading up to a file’s creation, modification, or deletion. Additionally, many solutions track and associate a small set of file events which can result in a broken access trail if a file is renamed, for example.
Consumer-grade file sync solutions pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Allowing employees to utilize CFGS solutions can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches.
Many companies have formal policies or discourage employees from using their own accounts. But while blacklisting common CFGS solutions may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees will ultimately find ways to get around company firewalls.
The best way for businesses to handle this is to deploy a company-approved application that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they feel they need to be productive.
About the Author
President and CEO at NIRIX
Steven Hsu is the founder of NIRIX. In 2001, Steven started NIRIX in the true HP sense – as a “one-man shop”, out of the basement of his home. Since 2001, with his personal business philosophy acting as his driving force, Steven has worked diligently over the decade in turning his vision into reality by recruiting talented people, developing new innovative product offerings, and delivering top-notch customer service.