Why Do Executives Think the Cloud Is Safe?

News Upcoming Webinars Trade Shows and Events Press Releases Newsletters Blog
Data Discovery and Content Optimization

Why Do Executives Think the Cloud Is Safe?

I just read a snippet that stated organizations are now trusting the cloud. Really? According to McAfee, in its Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, nearly a quarter of data stored in the cloud is considered at risk.

See if you can identify with any of the areas below.

  • 27 percent confidential
  • 20 percent email
  • 17 percent password protected
  • 16 percent personally identifiable information (PII)
  • 12 percent payment
  • 9 percent protected health information (PHI)

Some other tidbits.

  • The average enterprise experiences more than 2,200 misconfiguration incidents per month in its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) instances
  • And 22 percent of cloud users share files externally, up 21 percent year on year
  • Sharing sensitive data with an open, publicly accessible link, has increased by 23 percent year on year
  • Sensitive data sent to a personal email address also increased by 12 percent year on year

Sometimes I think people forget that the cloud service provider does not protect your data. You do. McAfee recommends that organizations continuously audit and monitor their AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and other IaaS and PaaS configurations as a standard security practice, while protecting data stored in IaaS and PaaS platforms. Seems like a reasonable idea, with those 2,200 misconfiguration incidents per month.

Now McAfee moves on to insider threats. According to the survey, “The average organization generates over 3.2 billion events per month in the cloud, of which 3,217 are anomalous behaviors and 31.3 are actual threat events.” I would be curious to know how many threat events were resolved. Probably not many. And 92 percent of all organizations have stolen cloud credentials on the dark web, which leads me to believe someone internally or externally is accessing what should be confidential information.

Other scary statistics include:

  • Threat events in the cloud, such as a compromised account, privileged user, or insider threat, have increased 27.7 percent year on year
  • And 80 percent of all organizations experience at least one compromised account threat per month
  • Threats in Office 365 have grown by 63 percent year on year
  • And 52 percent of SharePoint Online companies have experienced a data breach

McAfee’s suggestion is to get a cloud access security broker (CASB), which sits between an organization’s on-premises infrastructure and a cloud provider’s infrastructure, acting as a gatekeeper and allowing the organization to extend the reach of its security policies beyond its own infrastructure.

Well, I think that a more detailed approach would have been more appropriate. First of all, check the access rights and security of employees – all employees. These should be monitored all the time. Next, you can use technology like ours, the conceptClassifier platform, so you can find and categorize what’s really inside your content, from any repository.

The resulting taxonomies can then be used to manage and view the classified content. Since the solution generates multi-word metadata and auto-classifies, it will be very easy to see where your security holes are. You can then remediate or redact specific information at the content level. It’s also a great tool to use before migration and to clean up your file shares.

Read more about our data discovery and classification solution, and find out about cleaning up your file shares.

Concept Searching