Why Can't I Use My Personal Software at Work?

Because I said so.
 
Or, if that answer doesn’t satisfy you (and I can't imagine why not...), because consumer-grade solutions are very rarely up to corporate snuff with regard to security, standardization, and manageability.
 
When a program is designed for use by a single user at their home, the security measures are typically only as good as that one user password (which is perfectly reasonable in the home scenario, unless of course you’re rooming with a crook).  When you pull this kind of solution into a corporate setting with networking and sensitive data and fluid workforces, though, you’re asking for some serious trouble.
 
Perhaps the biggest offender these days is Dropbox, the cloud storage and file sync solution that is creeping up on 300 million users worldwide.
 
Say one of your staff members is working on an important document at the office.  It’s Friday at 4:59, and she really needs to have this ready for Monday. She takes the document and drags it into the Dropbox folder that syncs to her tablet and personal computer at home. She finishes the document over the weekend, and all runs smoothly come Monday morning.
 
What’s so bad about all that?
 
Well, the document she carried over is riddled with personally identifiable information for your top 5 clients. At the ground level, you’ve breached your compliance regulations.
 
Now imagine if this person leaves your organization on hostile terms. You have no way of getting this document away from her, or preventing her from disseminating it as she pleases.
 
So, what are you to do to prevent this dangerous data sprawl?

1. Address It. Understand that this sort of thing happens at almost every level within almost every organization. Start with the assumption that you have no control, and see if you care; if your data has value to you, you have to decide what to do about protecting it.

2. Talk About It. Have a conversation with your IT provider and management team to determine what your organization needs in order to be productive and stay secure. Most people are using this software honestly, and to simply ban the use of Dropbox without providing an alternative is going to impact your workflow and send the wrong message to your team. You need to locate a new, corporate-grade solution that can be integrated into your existing IT services

3. Make a Plan. Once you determine what you need, there needs to be a plan not only to implement the solution, but to train your people so that they’re empowered to actually use it. Explore all of the features, too—it may have hidden capabilities that can also be put to use (some remote access software, for example, can be used to as vehicle for file transfer).

 
Ultimately, the key here is to always be aware of where your corporate documents are going. No matter what the motivation is for tossing work files into personal software, you must be able to keep your hands firmly around the very meat of your organization—your data.
 
You know what they say about the road to Hell, after all.
 
[xyz-ihs snippet="1"]Have you felt the pains of uncontrolled data sprawl? Do you still stand by Dropbox and other consumer-grade solutions? Email me![xyz-ihs snippet="2"]