SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Rich Waidmann, Pat Romanski, Michael Jannery, Javier Paniza

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9 Out of 10 Cloud Services Are Putting European Businesses at Risk

Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Visibility and Enablement company, today released its first European ‘Cloud Adoption and Risk Report’, to coincide with the company’s expansion into the region. The report analyses usage data from more than one million users across more than 40 companies spanning the financial services, healthcare, high technology, manufacturing, media, and professional service industries to quantify the use of cloud services and the security risk that they pose to enterprises.

A key finding was that enterprises used an average of 588 cloud services. Even if one were to ignore the EU data residency requirements, only 9% of the cloud services in use provide enterprise-grade security capabilities, while the remaining 91% (more than 9 out of 10) pose medium to high security risks to organisations. From a data privacy and data residency perspective, only 1% of the cloud services in use both offer enterprise-grade security capabilities and store data in Europe’s jurisdictional boundaries, and the remaining 99%, either store data in countries where data privacy laws are less stringent or don’t have enterprise-grade security capabilities, or both.

Shadow IT Can Be Risky Business

Much of the cloud adoption within European organisations occurs under the radar of the CIO or CISO – leading to a situation where Shadow IT is widespread and uncontrolled. The ease with which employees can now consume cloud applications means that there is often little consideration for the security implications or impact on wider business policies. When CIOs examine the use of cloud services across the organisation, they generally find Shadow IT is 10 times more prevalent than they initially assumed.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Only 5% of cloud services in Europe are ISO 27001 certified, posing compliance issues for those organisations unaware that their employees are using uncertified services.
  • 25 of the top 30 cloud services in the collaboration, content sharing, and file sharing categories were based in countries (United States, Russia, China) where the privacy laws are far less stringent compared to Europe.
  • 49 different services in use are tracking the browsing behaviour of employees on the Internet. This exposes organisations to the increasingly prevalent watering hole attack.

“Cloud services certainly enable agile, flexible, and efficient businesses, and employees should be encouraged to use services that best suit their working style and enhance their productivity,” said Rajiv Gupta, CEO Skyhigh Networks. “However, it is evident from this study that too many employees are still unaware of the risks associated with some cloud services, and could even be jeopardising the overall security position of their organisation. Of the services that we analysed, 72% stored data in the US – which could have legal and compliance implications for certain organisations in Europe. The bottom line is that businesses need to get smarter about the cloud. IT needs to develop a greater understanding of the cloud services in use and the risk they present, and play a leadership role in educating users and guiding the organisation to securely embrace the cloud.”

Skyhigh Networks in Europe

Charlie Howe, EMEA director of Skyhigh Networks, is leading the company’s expansion into Europe. He aims to help companies establish a deeper visibility into cloud usage, analyse usage to determine risks, and enable the secure and cost-effective adoption of cloud applications.

Skyhigh Networks’ technology facilitates this by supporting the entire cloud adoption lifecycle, providing unparalleled visibility, usage analytics, and policy enforcement. Skyhigh Discover enables organisations to gain a comprehensive view into their cloud usage and leverage objective risk ratings to identify services that are enterprise-ready. These risk ratings are part of Skyhigh’s CloudTrust™ program, which was developed in partnership with the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). Skyhigh Analyse identifies usage patterns to enable new cloud services, better manage subscriptions, and highlight anomalous user activity. Skyhigh Secure consistently and transparently enforces security policies such as encryption, data loss prevention, and access control on corporate data stored in the cloud.

“Europe is facing something of a crossroads with regard to cloud adoption and security,” said Howe. “The discrepancy between the perceived and actual number and risks of services in use at each organisation is worrying to say the least. CIOs need to get a better grip on this if they are to avoid the huge reputational and financial repercussions of poor data security. While blanket bans on cloud services were once the only option, CIOs now have the tools and services that will enable them to empower employees to use the cloud services that grow the business while ensuring compliance with internal and external data privacy, security, and governance policies.”

The full report, including top 10 ratings of the most popular cloud applications in each type of service, is available here: http://www.skyhighnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Skyhigh-Cloud-Adoption-Risk-Report-EU-0414.pdf

ABOUT THE CLOUD ADOPTION AND RISK REPORT

The Cloud Adoption and Risk Report is based on data from more than one million users across more than 40 companies spanning financial services, high technology, oil and gas, manufacturing, retail and utilities industries. The top 10 services are based on the number of users of the service. The risk of each service is based on Skyhigh CloudTrust™, which assigns a 1-to-10 risk rating based on detailed, objective and weighted assessment of more than 30 attributes across data risk, user risk, device risk, service risk, business risk, and legal risk.

ABOUT SKYHIGH NETWORKS

Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Visibility and Enablement Company, allows companies to embrace cloud services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, professional services, energy, healthcare, high technology, media and entertainment, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit us at http://www.skyhighnetworks.com or follow us on Twitter @skyhighnetworks.

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