Bekker's Blog

Blog archive

Report: Buyer Beware on Cloud Service Security

When it comes to the baseline security of all those cloud services companies are using for every conceivable business function, there's good news and bad news in Skyhigh Networks' latest quarterly Cloud Adoption and Risk Report.

Campbell, Calif.-based Skyhigh helps enterprise customers manage their use of cloud services with appropriate levels of security, compliance and governance. Over the last year, Skyhigh has been releasing a quarterly report based on analysis of the usage patterns of millions of employees at hundreds of enterprise companies. Skyhigh released its Q4 2014 report on Wednesday (available here, but registration required).

The good news is that more than twice as many cloud service providers (CSPs) encrypted customer data at rest in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, Skyhigh found. Skyhigh defines CSPs as the companies providing the cloud services employees are using to do their work.

"They're investing more in security," said Kamal Shah, vice president of products and marketing at Skyhigh, in an interview. "That was encouraging to see."

In raw numbers, that means 1,082 CSPs encrypted data at rest in Q4 2014, compared with 470 taking that step in the same period of 2013.

But given the massive number of cloud services in use in enterprise organizations, the services encrypting data at rest are barely in double-digit percentage territory. "Roughly 11 percent of these cloud providers now encrypt data at rest. The risks are still great because you still have 89 percent of cloud service providers who don't encrypt data at rest," Shah said.

A parallel trend is in play for multi-factor authentication -- 1,459 services used in the last quarter of 2014 compared against 705 in Q4 2013.

Use of cloud services is on an upward tear, according to Skyhigh's analysis, with the average employee using 27 of them and the average company using 897.

Shah doesn't think organizations can afford to clamp down on usage too much. "The services are faster, cheaper, better and help them get their jobs done quicker," he said. It's just a clear case of buyer beware. "As enterprises are using cloud file sharing services, it's important that they're choosing ones that are using security."

Posted by Scott Bekker on February 11, 2015