7 Risks Dropbox Poses to Your Company Data

7 Risks Dropbox Poses to Your Company Data

With over 300 million users, Dropbox has become the predominant leader for mobile file access. With that said, what works for family photos does not and should not work for company data. In most cases, Dropbox’s quick to install, easy-to-use, consumer-grade services present unacceptable security, legal, and business risk in a business environment.

Here are the 7 Risks Dropbox Poses to Your Company Data

  1. Data Theft – Most of the problems with Dropbox emanate from a lack of oversight. Business owners are not privy to when an instance of Dropbox is installed and are unable to control which employee devices can or cannot sync with a company PC. Use of Dropbox can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. The proliferation of these personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increases the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties.
  2. Data Loss – When administrators cannot manage and monitor file sync activities across an organization, they risk losing critical data. If an employee (or group of employees) adopts Dropbox and starts using it to sync and share sensitive files, administrators without proper oversight cannot manage data sprawl, initiate remote wipes in the case of lost devices, and are unable to guarantee that files are properly shared with the right people.
  3. Corrupted Data – In a study by CERN, the European Organization of Nuclear Research, silent data corruption was observed in 1 out of every 1500 files. Dropbox and other consumer-grade file sync services disclose few, if any, details about how they prevent data corruption from occurring. True business-grade file sync services cyptographically tag every piece of data and redundantly store data on multiple data center racks to virtually eliminate any changes of silent data corruption, which has been shown to be common in large-scale storage systems.
  4. Lawsuits – Dropbox gives carte blanche power to employees over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information, which can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third parties.
  5. Compliance Violations – Many compliance policies require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict control over how long files are kept and who can access them. Since Dropbox has loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, businesses that use Dropbox are risking compliance violation.
  6. Loss of Accountability – Managers whose employees use Dropbox do not have access to detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity. As a result, administrators do not have control of or visibility into how files have been edited, shared, or deleted. Business-grade, admin-controlled file sync services allow managers to view a comprehensive audit trail that details who touched or modified a file at any given point.
  7. Loss of File Access – Dropbox does not track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you are trying to determine the events leading up to a file’s creation, modification, or deletion. Moreover, at a moment’s notice, files and folders may not be in their proper locations or readily available to employees.


Dropbox poses many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility of company data. Allowing employees to utilize Dropbox can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches.

While blacklisting Dropbox in the workplace may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees may ultimately discover loopholes, such as circumventing company firewalls or adopting another consumer-grade file sync service.

The best way for your business to handle this is to deploy a company-approved application, such as xSync from PC Dynamix, that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they need to be productive wherever they are. Employees whose companies provide them with a secure, easy-to-use file sync service will see no need to bring Dropbox into the workplace.

If you would like more information on PC Dynamix xSync, please contact me at 978-548-6007 or gmccracken@pcdynamix.com.

George McCracken