IT departments must address mobile IT needs


A massive 80 percent of pharmaceutical and healthcare professionals now access work documents on the go. Yet in the absence of a safe file sharing alternative, 90 percent of them are resorting to unauthorised, free file sharing services, according to a new report by software development company Workshare.

The report, titled “Workforce Mobilisation”, is based on more than 5,000 responses from a range of companies across the UK, EMEA, and the US. The findings reveal the true extent to which mobile users are increasingly circumventing policies set by organisations and using unsanctioned applications to share and collaborate on documents outside the office.

The report found that 72 percent of pharmaceutical and healthcare professionals use their own mobile device or tablet to access work documents. Some 55 percent of these use a file sharing solution to store or share corporate documents; however, 90 percent of them do not have direct authorisation from their administrators to use consumer file sharing applications, up from 82 percent in 2012.

This raises major concerns over the security of personal identifiable information and sensitive documents, and highlights the challenges facing the sector when it comes to enabling mobility while ensuring data protection and mitigating risk.

 “Some clear conclusions can be drawn from this research,” states the report. “Mobile working is becoming an inevitable requirement for most businesses today. Mobility trends and initiatives around Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as well as the use of consumer-based file sharing applications have presented new opportunities for more efficient collaborations, but also introduces threats to security and control.”

It states that the main issue is that IT departments are not aware of the use of consumer file sharing tools outside of the office, as so few employees on average seek authorization from their IT department and many fail to provide a means for employees to efficiently share files and collaborate behind the office firewall.

“IT departments may need to reassess the approved tools they give users, as they may not meet user requirements,” it states. “IT departments must learn new skills and spend more time understanding the consumer technologies required to support these devices, such as administrative control over metadata (hidden data) cleaning and data policy enforcement. This will allow secure and efficient collaboration both internally and externally.”

Workshare provides a variety of sanctioned file sharing applications that support mobile sharing in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, letting administrators centrally control and report on sharing behavior.

“Pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations can no longer ignore the increasing use of mobile and tablets by employees working on the move. Instead, they must find ways to meet their needs while also meeting strict regulations surrounding protection of personal identifiable data, and auditability,” said Anthony Foy, CEO of Workshare. “We’ve provided secure file sharing methods for more than 14 years and extended this to encompass all mobile channels, enabling organisations to strike the balance between users’ demands, and their own requirements for compliance and complete data protection.”


Workshare, mobile devices, data security, file sharing