Cloud Adoption On The Up But Risks Remain

Author

Ben Kepes, Contributor

February 12, 2015

It’s always interesting to read some empirical data about enterprise adoption of cloud and the impacts that adoption has. Cloud security vendor Skyhigh Networks publishes a regular enterprise adoption survey and it is always an interesting read. While Skyhigh obviously has an ulterior motive for running the report (more cloud adoption means more potential revenue for Skyhigh) the results are interesting for those who spend time thinking about what enterprises look like today, and what they’ll look like into the future. The report was garnered from Skyhigh’s customers base – this covers some 15 million enterprise employees so is a good indicator of more general trends.

Anyway, there are some positive findings from the report – in particular related to cloud vendors’ focus on providing the security features that help ensure enterprise data stays safe. In particular it is interesting that, when compared to the last survey period – more services are both encrypting data and offering multi-factor authentication. In particular, despite the numerous high-profile data breaches of 2014, cloud security capabilities provided by cloud services actually improved for 2014. Specifically, 1,082 (11% of all services) encrypt data at rest versus 470 in Q1 and 1,459 (17%) offer multi-factor authentication versus 705 in Q1 This is obviously positive in terms of an improvement – but those low absolute figures show just how far we still have to go. In terms of overall cloud adoption, this increased 18% in 2014, with the average organization using 897 cloud services in use in Q4, up from 626 in Q1.

As always, there is a dark lining to a silver cloud, and Skyhigh found some negative traits in terms of the way cloud tools are being used within enterprises. In particular:

  • 37% of users upload sensitive data to file sharing services, and 22% of all files uploaded to file sharing services contained sensitive data
  • 9% of documents shared externally contain sensitive personal or payment data
  • 18% of external collaboration requests via sanctioned IT file sharing services are to personal email address like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail
  • 92% of companies have users with compromised identities; 12% of users have at least one account that has been compromised
  • 89% of cloud services do not encrypt data stored at rest, including some of the biggest names in cloud computing which can all store sensitive information: Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and PayPal

Cloud adoption is inexorably moving forward, the genie has left the bottle and cloud will be the default way of delivering technology in the future. But this report shows us, once again that cloud adoption isn’t a case of “set and forget”. Customers need to be continually reviewing the tools they use, how employees are using them and the changing security landscape within which they operate. Cloud can absolutely be a safe choice but isn’t automatically so – enterprises need to make decisions and take actions to ensure that security.

This article was written by Ben Kepes from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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