THE BLOG
01/26/2016 01:35 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2017

Bootlegging, Piracy and the Modern Workforce Have Things in Common

No seriously, I mean it. There are serious correlations and similarities between smuggling alcohol, piracy in any form -- whether it is the real life bad guys on ghost ships in the seas or digital pirates who download stuff off the internet thinking it's all free while some artist starves to death -- or for that matter, an enterprise user. Quite specifically a certain type of workplace employee. The ones that love free applications and start using it, well and not just use them but spread it to the entire department or company.

You probably have a Bob or Sally or Travis in your department who sends you an innocent link to Dropbox or Google Drive with the excel file that was too big to send through email. How about that file from accounting that is conveniently shared on Google drive that can be accessed by everyone, including the CFO from his home? Convenient right? Well yes, convenient but also an early preparation to being sued by your customers or probably tens of other people as well.

I am really not trying to scare you off but I know this drum has been beaten too many times, yet only 19% of organizations have adopted to something that would not make their business risky, and almost illegal.

Based on Industry statistics, today, over 81% of organizations are still using methods that take your organization into risk. Ninety-five percent of employees share documents by email. Forty-two percent of employees use consumer-grade document sharing applications with Dropbox taking the first spot, followed by Google Drive and Apple iCloud and last but not least Microsoft SkyDrive.

Man in the Cloud (MITC) attacks are now common, essentially your free cloud service like a Box.net, Google Drive or Microsoft Sky drive being hacked into based on a token that was generated through the service when you connected to it first. Remember, hackers and cyber criminals are becoming more intelligent as we are. It's also very public information that Google drive as an example had a huge security flaw that enabled the bad guys to hack into your account with a public URL link.

There are many interesting blogs out there that have very good information available, including one that gathered the thoughts of 34 technology experts and their thoughts specifically on document management and sharing.

Going back to bootlegging and privacy, here is the truth of the matter. It's about the journey; the journey that all of them take to reach their destination, the sacrifices and the tradeoffs that are made during this journey. Consider bootleggers, essentially people who smuggle alcohol. They have drivers to do so, a tradeoff, an end result. They also have risks they undertake, some knowingly and some unknowingly. Their needs, drivers, end results and risk are the same as that of pirates and ultimately a typical enterprise user who values free document sharing applications. They all want to be somewhere, they all have to do something. How about the fact that in the process of going somewhere and reaching their destination, they end up destroying something. Something very valuable. How about the intellectual property rights of artists, musicians, creative people who spend a lifetime perfecting their skills, just to be downloaded without their consent and anything paid to them? Mass stealing could not get any worse. In fact, piracy is considered to be a crime that an entire generation is committing, not just pirates. Isn't that sad?

Bootleggers, pirates and the workplace employee are also placing themselves and their organizations at a very high risk. In one way or another, they are creating a highly volatile situation that can land them in a lot of trouble. This is because of desperation, a lack of direction or purely because of no proper guidance and carelessness. It is not very uncommon to hear that someone got fired from their workplace just because they shared some information or document with someone they should not have.

Today businesses are very sensitive to the information they release and many times, it can be devastating to release or share information without the right permissions. With industries such as banking, finance, mortgages and health care being extra sensitive with data and information security, it goes without saying that the stakes are high.

About Me:
I am the author of Cloud Wars, The Internet of Things & the Future of Innovation, Make Me Like You, 21 Steps, Get Ahead. I consider myself a Technology and Business enthusiast, deeply passionate about helping people and businesses simplify their understanding of technology and how it can help drive more value for the betterment of humanity. I work with organizations of all sizes, evangelizing technologies such as Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Business Intelligence and the Internet. Reach out to me to learn more about Cloud computing technologies, IoT and beyond. More than anything else I am a mentor, a business coach and a friend to many people, all of who bring enormous joy to my life. Visit me at www.iankhan.com to learn more. Follow me on Twitter Here