CIOs need to put an end to Bring Your Own Collaboration

There has been much talk about how the consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device initiatives will create more police-work for IT professionals.

Last week’s indictment of Megaupload underscores the real danger behind these buzzwords and should generate even more hesitation among CIOs to allow employees to BYOC (bring their own collaboration).

According to Palo Alto Networks, a network security company, that hesitation is well justified.

Megaupload drew traffic from 57 per cent of corporate networks that participated in Palo Alto Networks’ most recent study of network traffic over the last six months.

Other consumer-grade file sharing sites were trafficked by 76 percent of participants.

The proliferation of personal mobile devices and tablets in the workplace has the ability to deliver cost savings to organizations, allowing employees to incorporate consumer-grade collaboration tools into their daily workflow. But, it also presents tremendous risk and virtually no reward.

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IT decision makers and CIO’s need to understand how important it is to allow employees to share content outside the firewall and make the necessary adjustments in regards to consumer-grade collaboration platforms in order to adhere to legal and business requirements.

There is no question that these platforms provide excellent file-sharing options for consumers (when not in the activity of illegally sharing copyright-protected files), it is impossible to meet security and regulatory requirements without a standard method of approved collaboration capabilities.

Taking advantage of cloud-based technology to gain the flexibility and agility to work with complex networks of partners, reap the rewards of seamless collaboration and faster time-to-market for products and services, remains the best option for those who operate in the extended enterprise.

The introduction of technologies flows both ways (remember the introduction of email, Facebook and mobile devices), but CIOs will likely draw a line in the sand in 2012 by implementing customized and secure cloud-based file sharing platforms.

This is a much more managable way for employees to safely share business critical information and their holiday photos (because the blurring between home and work life won’t completely disappear), outside the firewall.

Ian Turner is UK country manager for IntraLinks