Employees Violate Cloud Security Rules

Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 02:04 PM gHale


Cloud usage continues its growth with organizations collaborating with an average of 865 other organizations which means internal users, collaborators and third-party apps are boosting the threat surface for new cloud cyberattacks, new research found.

After reviewing more than 750 million files, 77,500 apps and six million users in the cloud, CloudLock research found nearly one in four employees, unknowingly or not, violated corporate data security policy in public cloud applications.

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On average, each organization has 4,000 instances of exposed credentials. These usernames and passwords were either accessible across the entire company, externally, or, in the most severe cases, publicly. That ends up being low hanging fruit for a cybersecurity attack waiting to happen.

“The growth of the cloud and the corresponding expansion of the perimeter is staggering. It creates a monumental challenge for IT professionals looking to protect their enterprises from emerging cloud cyberattacks all while staying out of the way of users and allowing them to embrace the collaboration opportunities it provides,” said Ayse Kaya Firat, director of customer insights and analytics at CloudLock. “It’s only through an analysis of what data is truly important, coupled with an increase in user education and empowerment, that security can keep up with the rise of the cloud.”

Companies in the cloud:
• Have an average of 1.2 million files stored in the cloud, 10 times the volume of files stored in public cloud applications compared to last year.
• Collaborate with 865 other organizations on average. External collaboration via public cloud applications has increased four times over the previous year.
• 70 percent of cloud-based external collaboration occurs with non-corporate entities.
• Have an average of 475 unique third-party cloud applications per organization connected to corporate systems, a 300 percent increase over the past year. CloudLock found over 77,500 third-party apps with more than 2.5 million installs in 2015.
• Over 50 percent of third-party apps assessed in 2015 end up banned due to security-related concerns. Of these banned apps, security professionals cite the inappropriate nature of apps in 46 percent of instances, subpar vendor trustworthiness (applications of questionable origin or intent) in 30 percent and excessive access scopes in 24 percent of instances.

Cloud cyber security risk include:
• Organizations have an average of 100,000 files that contain sensitive information stored within public cloud applications.
• One in four employees, unknowingly or not, violates corporate data security policy in public cloud applications
• On average, each organization has 4,000 instances of exposed credentials. These usernames and passwords were either accessible across the entire company, externally, or, in the most severe cases, publicly.
• More than 45,000 installs of third-party cloud applications by privileged users ended up discovered by CloudLock. Since privileged users are often super administrators with an extensive access scope, they represent a heightened cyber security risk and as such no third-party applications should connect to these accounts.
• 24,000 files per organization are publicly accessible, i.e. they are indexable by search engines, creating another risk vector.

Corporate cloud cyber security defense strategies show sixty-five percent of organizations worry primarily about what type of sensitive data ends up exposed while 35 percent fear information exposure as a starting point for the data security and cyber defense strategy.

Information organizations worry most about including intellectual property and confidential information (59 percent), PCI data (19 percent), PII data (13 percent), objectionable content (5 percent) and PHI data (4 percent).

Once a more insecure platform, cloud application providers are making great strides in securing access at the infrastructure layer and have never been more secure. Risk, instead, stems from how cloud applications end up used.



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