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Why most organisations fear their data is already on the ‘dark web’ for sale

Why most organisations fear their data is already on the ‘dark web’ for sale

Oversharing is a problem, more than a third of files in the cloud should not be there

Enterprises have reached a tipping point with cloud.

More than half (53 per cent) of all enterprise compute workload has been migrated to the cloud. 

However, security practices are struggling to keep up – over half (54 per cent) of enterprises indicate their organisation’s cloud security maturity is not able to keep up with the rapid expansion of cloud apps.

These are among the key findings of the latest Symantec’s Cloud Security Threat Report (CSTR), based on interviews with 1,250 security decision makers across the globe.

“The adoption of new technology has almost always led to gaps in security, but we’ve found the gap created by cloud computing poses a greater risk than we realise, given the troves of sensitive and business-critical data stored in the cloud,” says Nico Popp, senior vice president, cloud and information protection at Symantec.

“In fact, our research shows that 69 per cent of organisations believe their data is already on the dark web for sale and fear an increased risk of data breaches due to their move to cloud.”

Popp notes that data breaches can have a clear impact on enterprises’ bottom line, and security teams are desperate to prevent them.

“However, our 2019 CSTR shows it’s not the underlying cloud technology that has exacerbated the data breach problem – it’s the immature security practices, overtaxed IT staff and risky end-user behaviour surrounding cloud adoption." 

Security modernisation isn’t keeping pace with the cloud

The Symantec research finds organisations are struggling to modernise their security practices at the same pace that they adopt cloud – 73 per cent experienced a security incident due to immature practices. 

Lack of visibility into cloud workloads is the leading cause, with an overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of survey respondents reporting issues with keeping tabs on all cloud workloads. 

For example, Symantec’s research found that while companies estimate they use 452 cloud apps on average, the actual number is nearly four times higher, at 1,807. 

As a result of these immature practices, including poor configuration or failing to use encryption or multi-factor authentication (MFA), enterprises are facing an increased risk of insider threats – ranked by respondents as the third biggest threat to cloud infrastructure. 

CSTR data shows that 65 per cent of organisations fail to implement multi-factor authentication in IaaS configurations and 80 per cent don’t use encryption.

Overtaxed IT teams

With cloud adoption introducing increased complexity in how IT is deployed – now across public cloud, private cloud, hybrid, on-prem – and where data needs to be secured, IT teams are becoming overtaxed, reports Symantec. 

Given this, it’s not surprising that the CSTR revealed 25 per cent of cloud security alerts go unaddressed. 

A majority (64 per cent) of the security incidents occur at the cloud level, and more than half of the respondents admit they can’t keep up with security incidents. 

What’s more, says Symantec, the future looks foggy – 83 per cent feel they do not have processes in place to be effective in acting on cloud security incidents. 

Risky behaviours 

The report notes one of the biggest challenges for security teams attempting to get a handle on the cloud is rampant risky user behaviour. 

According to the survey respondents, nearly one in three employees exhibit risky behaviour in the cloud.

Symantec says its own data shows 85 per cent are not using best security practices. 

As a result of these behaviours, sensitive data is frequently stored improperly in the cloud, making enterprises more susceptible to breach.

Meanwhile, 93 per cent of CSTR respondents say oversharing is a problem, estimating that more than a third of files in the cloud should not be there. 

Symantec points out the  cloud is not immune to the risky behaviour that affected previous technologies.

Respondents report users with weak passwords (37per cent) using poor password hygiene (34per cent), using unauthorised cloud apps (36per cent), and connecting with personal devices (35per cent) as common risky behaviour.

"The cloud is the centre of IT and increasingly, the foundation for cyber security. Understanding how threat vectors are shifting in the cloud is fundamental to making the necessary updates to the organisation’s security programme and strategy," it further advises.

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