infoTECH Feature

May 12, 2014

With Increased Cloud Service Adoption Comes Greater Potential for Security Risks

The adoption of cloud services is on the rise, but with it is the potential for risk, with malware posing an increasing problem for organizations using cloud services. Skyhigh Networks has released its latest quarterly Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, which puts into perspective the amount of risk that comes with skyrocketing levels of cloud adoption.

That cloud services are accelerating is no surprise, and Skyhigh found the number of services in use has grown 33 percent from last quarter, with 3,571 services utilized by more than 8.3 million users across the 250-plus organizations surveyed. Each organization queried uses an average of 759 cloud services, up from 626 in the last quarter.

The number of services in use presents complications; however, as is the case with file sharing. Of those surveyed, each organization is using an average of 24 different file sharing services and an astonishing 91 different collaboration services. This of course poses interoperability issues that can actually impede collaboration and frustrate employees. But even worse, it increases the security risk factor with 60 percent of those file sharing services used being labeled “high risk.”

Along the same lines, 33 percent of cloud services in use were vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, which leaves user data, private keys and passwords vulnerable to theft. The good news is that a majority of cloud service providers have been proactive about protecting customers, making the actual number of reported Heartbleed bug cases less than one percent.

“With this report, we uncovered trends beyond the presence of shadow IT in the enterprise," said Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh Networks. "We provide real data around cloud usage, adoption of enterprise-ready services, the category of services demanded by employees, as well as malware and other vulnerabilities from these cloud services."

According to Skyhigh’s standards, only seven percent of the cloud services in use are “Skyhigh Enterprise-Ready.” The company uses that standard to describe requirements for data protection, identity verification, service security, business practices and legal protection.

Malware is always a threat as well, with 29 percent of those queried using anomalous cloud access, which could be indicative of malware. Another 16 percent of organizations had access to services for storing business critical data, which opens them up to higher levels of risk. And although Windows XP is not being supported by Microsoft (News - Alert) as of last month, 18 percent of those surveyed had at least 1,000 devices running XP that access pubic cloud services. Without continuing support for the operating system, these devices may be vulnerable and present a risk factor.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Subscribe to InfoTECH Spotlight eNews

InfoTECH Spotlight eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the IT industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter

infoTECH Whitepapers