Education, education, education – solving the dropbox problem


Security firms would have you believe it, vendors tell you it in sales pitches, but the fact is the Dropbox problem isn’t anything new. In fact it’s been around since 1996. Of course back then it wasn’t called “dropbox”, no back then it was known as “Hotmail”. We could put files easily in the cloud and access them from multiple different devices anywhere in the world, oh and security wasn’t that great either (in 1999 you could get into any Hotmail account with the password “eh”).

In fact I suppose you could go back further and draw an analogy to the briefcase stuffed with paper files that you took home with you.

So what is new? Why is there all of a sudden a push to solve this problem? Is there a problem to solve technically? Or is in fact the easiest solution the same solution that has always been there? Education.

I remember visiting a law firm on the west side of the Pennines and on exit I saw signs on each exit door reminding the fee earners on what files they should not be taking away with them off premise. These signs were referring to the paper file, but isn’t the same education required for the electronic file?  We trusted lawyers with the paper file why not with the electronic file? The IT dept know the risks, so why do we think the lawyers won’t “get it”? The flipside to this is of course that the lawyers take the responsibility and not blame the CIO when things go wrong!

So we don’t need the new “dropbox” tools? Well lets look back again, when we needed to securely transport paper files we came up with the lockable briefcase, when Hotmail came about we created Outlook OWA to provide similar functionality to the corporate email. No I think there is a space for these tools providing the user experience is matched (and that means more than just an iOS client to cover mobility!).

The better the UX and the more secure the product the better it will be for the lawyer, but tech alone won’t crack the “dropbox” problem!