Read Your Cloud Storage Terms of Use and Prepare to Be Shocked


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Before you endorse an on or off-premises file collaboration solution, be sure to read the terms of use and privacy policy pages. What you find may save you time and prevent legal exposure. And if you are already aware of the potential downside to these multiplying solutions, keep in mind that your employees may not be. Check out our recent article on implementing a simple policy to reduce the use of rogue systems.

Your sensitive files are their files, too
Corporate documents willingly uploaded to an unsecured cloud environment like Dropbox will become, in part, under another company’s control. That company may choose to do a number of things with your files and often have extensive privacy and terms of use policies. For example, if a user uploads an image for a sales presentation and another user from a completely different company uploads the same image, many cloud storage providers will simply store a single copy and provide both parties access. That means, essentially, two competitors could be sharing the exact same file and not even know it.

Welcome to the Nanny State
Policies vary, but in many cases your files are subject to storage only if they meet certain criteria. In the case of Microsoft’s OneDrive, your files may be reviewed (even if by an automated system) and removed if they’re deemed inappropriate. This exposes company data to prying eyes or even unwarranted deletion at critical moments.

Not so secure
Accidentally uncheck the “Private” option on your account? You just opened up your sensitive documents to the entire web. In some cases, users may not realize they have done so for days, weeks, or even months.

Acquisition mania
Tech companies frequently go through mergers and acquisitions. Cloud computing and cloud storage companies are no different. But what happens when one company acquires a cloud storage company? Read those terms of use because in many cases all client files are then subject to the rules and regulations of the acquiring company.

Demand more and risk less
The risks of utilizing unsecured cloud storage for corporate documents are significant. A company can easily evaluate the risks by reviewing the terms of use and privacy policies of a vendor before uploading files. Better yet, make sure your company uses a secure cloud storage and collaboration system, eliminating the risk of human or computer error.

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