Enterprises across the globe are sitting on a time bomb. It has been ticking away for years, but over the next twelve months disaster will strike. Organisations that have turned a blind eye to employees using consumer file sharing tools for enterprise content will experience damaging and costly - in terms of both money and brand - data losses.

And don’t just take my word for it. Analyst house Gartner has stated that by 2014, “a worm exploiting cloud-based personal file synchronisation services will cause massive, costly enterprise data loss and service disruption.”

The security risks around personal file stores being used in the enterprise have been well documented, but the point often overlooked is the fact they have helped turn the enterprise content store into a giant, unruly jigsaw puzzle. And this is an issue that keeps IT departments at government and enterprise organisations worldwide awake at night.

Thanks to personal cloud tools that enable us to simply transfer and access information across all of the devices we have, enterprise content has been removed from corporate drives, fragmented and distributed across thousands of personal laptops, tablets and smartphones. To return to the analogy, it’s akin to someone breaking up a perfectly formed jigsaw puzzle and scattering bits across the room.

And let’s not forget those annoying pieces that simply disappear, never to be seen again. By ignoring the fact that consumer cloud tools are being used to share, store and sync content, IT departments have placed control of enterprise data into the hands of the workforce. There’s no 360° view of where enterprise content is stored. There is no way of tracking it, keeping audit trails or retaining version controls, and this poses a significant challenge when it comes to gathering records for compliance or auditing purposes. The enterprise data that the IT department is responsible for is now completely out of its control.

The content that we work on with our colleagues and extended enterprise ecosystem of customers, partners and contractors is part of the collective IP of the company we work for. This information is vital and needs to be stored long after we have actually finished working on it or have left the company. What is stopping an ex-employee or contractor walking out of the office doors with valuable company IP? While the workforce has the simple tools in place to help them get their job done - there is a time bomb of lost IP, data leakage and misuse of enterprise information waiting to happen. 

However like all big problems, the answer is actually pretty simple. The answer is not to simply replace consumer tools with a corporate version of personal storage. It’s to give users Dropbox-style simplicity with mobile and cloud access. This easy-to-use functionality then needs to be combined with a tool that replaces an enterprise shared drive and consolidates all content in one central place. This is ultimately about placing control of enterprise data - shared within and across the firewall - firmly back in the hands of IT, without compromising usability for employees.

It is also about delivering the relevant content that the team is working on directly to their devices without having to search through masses of fragmented data stores and drives. This will give users what they want and ensures that content is stored, owned and managed centrally. And not only does it avert a potential disaster, it also dramatically increases the value and usability of the content that is created every day.

Once it is stored centrally you can start to analyse the content and recommend useful files to people even before they know that they need them. Rather than emailing someone to ask them to share files they have stored somewhere on a personal file store, the system is intelligent enough to recommend interesting content for you. 
That is intelligent collaboration, and this is what we do at Huddle. It’s not enterprise file storage, it’s about teams sharing and working on content securely from there device of choice, wherever they are. Don’t let your enterprise content store become a broken puzzle - the risk is too great.