In our content updates over the last two weeks, we included App-IDs for 8 new applications – 3 of which are very interesting to me, as evidence for the continued movement towards browser-based filesharing, and another as proof of the increasingly common user expectation that personal digital content should be available everywhere – including at the office.
Browser-based filesharing, as a category, is something we’ve been tracking for a couple of years, and have noted its rapid rise in popularity (see Matt’s post on the popularity and the different use cases of browser-based filesharing here).
The new browser-based filesharing App-IDs, FileServe, FuFox, and Filesonic, suggest that we’re still seeing the proliferation of applications for Matt’s third use case – those applications that appear to be primarily targeted at the sharing of media files. Searchable, shareable, easy access. Supporting the trend towards monetizing uploads, FileServe and Filesonic will pay you for popular downloaded files.
Homepipe, on the other hand, is another in a growing set of applications designed to serve personal content from a home computer to a full range of devices – other computers, mobile phones, etc. Homepipe joins other examples of this sort of application (e.g., GoToMyPC), but with a specific focus on file access, rather than a general purpose remote access facility, or a specific file synchronization purpose (e.g., Windows Live). The risks, obviously, are bi-directional depending on where the agent is installed, but the demand for such applications, and the expectations that go along with it, are the interesting bit (see Mike Rothman’s recent post on loss of control)
The bottom line is that users have both the expectation, and the means of accessing content whenever and wherever they choose. Which, in certain scenarios, is a good thing. In other scenarios – those that security folks are used to thinking about – is a risky thing. The trick is safely enabling the former, and eliminating the latter.