I’m a big fan of Live Mesh. I’ve been using it pretty much since it launched a few months ago and have a few folders which I keep synchronised between my various computers. It’s one of those things that you don’t realise you need until you have it… and then start using a computer without it. I find it invaluable, especially now the Mac client is out.
Now whilst I’m aware that Mesh is much more than the simple file synchronisation stuff that’s included in the client, over the past few week it this that has had me thinking about it’s implications.
Most of the folders that I sync in my Mesh are personal – favourites, a few pictures, maybe a tune or two. But the other week I had a huge amount of reading to do for a project so I decided that I’d leave the office early and do the reading at home. Rather than pick up my laptop I just moved the docs into a Meshed folder then went home knowing that the docs would be at home long before I was.
It’s this simplicity that I think could cause businesses a headache. It’s never been so easy to send documents to multiple computers – including a cloud desktop – than with Mesh. Just by saving a document in a Meshed folder on my laptop I send it to three other PC’s and a Mac. On my folders only I have access, but I could potentially be sharing that information with anyone.
Now as a user I find this very useful, but as an enterprise IT guy it’s kinda scary. Whilst you’ve always been able email documents home, or use a USB stick to carry documents, Mesh takes this to a whole new level. As a business I no longer have control over where my information goes or who can access it – my workers now control this. Hopefully they’ll be responsible and make the right decisions… but all the recent news stories about data loss would suggest that isn’t always the case.
I suppose we could be draconian and just stop people using tools like Mesh, but in truth if it’s not Mesh, it’ll be email or some other media that will catch us out. If you can’t fully control where your information is going, perhaps your best bet is to protect the information itself.
That’s where Information Rights Management may be useful. It’s been around as a concept and a product for years, but in my experience it’s always had a limited uptake. In a world where information and data is flowing beyond the reach of traditional network boundaries IRM and other de-perimeterisation solutions may soon become a necessity.