Poor Security Practices Could Put Cloud-Driven Businesses at Risk

Research conducted by Kaspersky Lab has revealed that 35 percent of businesses globally admit that they are unsure if certain pieces of corporate information are stored on company servers or on those of their cloud providers. This makes the safeguarding and accountability of data extremely hard to achieve, putting its integrity at risk and paving the way for potentially severe security and cost implications.

With cloud services enabling companies to take advantage of key technologies to support day-to-day operations and growth plans – without worrying about maintenance or the hefty price tag – it’s no surprise that 78 percent of businesses are already using at least one Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based platform. The same number (75 percent) are also planning to move more applications to the cloud in the future. When it comes to IaaS, nearly half (49 percent) of enterprises and 45 percent of SMBs are looking to outsource IT infrastructure and processes to third parties.

However, for many organizations, the speed of adoption and lure of cost and operational savings has been to the detriment of security, with many using cloud services with no strategy in place for the security of their information. Uncertainty around who is responsible for the security of data in the cloud can often be the basis for this approach. Indeed, our research found that 7 out of 10 (70 percent) businesses using SaaS and cloud service providers have no clear plan in place to deal with security incidents which could affect their partners. A quarter admit to not even checking the compliance credentials of their service provider, suggesting an assumption that they will pick up the pieces if something goes wrong.

However, with 42 percent of businesses not feeling adequately protected from incidents affecting their cloud service provider and a quarter (24 percent) of businesses having experienced a security incident affecting the IT infrastructure hosted by a 3rd party, over the last 12 months – a reliance on cloud providers alone to provide complete protection could be a risky strategy.

This lack of planning and accountability by cloud adopters for the security of their information, could have serious consequences for companies, with enterprises suffering an average $1.2m financial impact as the result of a cloud-related security incident, compared to $100k for SMBs. Where data has been compromised as the result of a 3rd party incident, the top 3 types of data to be affected were: highly sensitive customer information (experienced by 49 percent of SMBs and 40 percent of enterprises); basic employee information (35 percent for SMBs, 36 percent for enterprises); and emails and internal communication (31 percent for SMBs, 35 percent for enterprises).

Therefore, businesses have to find ways to get the cloud zoo under control. Every package of data needs to be protected wherever it happens to be at any one time. To do so, companies need spotting anomalies within their cloud infrastructures, and that can only be achieved through a combination of techniques including machine learning and behavioral analytics. This ability to identify and defend against unknown threats is absolutely fundamental to cloud infrastructure security. Besides that, enabling visibility of the cloud ecosystem and its cybersecurity layer will give businesses a clear view on where data resides and if its current protection status meets corporate security policies. Only this way business will be able to tame the cloud zoo and have complete control – no matter how much and where data is stored.

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