Three Quick Cloud Security Wins for Enterprise IT

By Krishna Narayanaswamy, Chief Scientist, Netskope

Netskope_3 quick winsToday we released our Cloud Report for Summer 2015 – global as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa versions. Whereas in prior reports, we shared our top findings about usage, activities, and policy violations across enterprises’ cloud apps, in this report (and going forward!) we are matching those findings with a set of “quick wins,” or recommendations for how to mitigate cloud risk and protect data.

This season’s report focuses heavily on cloud data loss prevention (DLP). In our cloud, we identify policy violations for DLP profiles, including personally identifiable information (PII), payment card industry information (PCI), protected health information (PHI), source code, profanity, and “confidential” or “top secret” information, both at rest in and en route to or from cloud apps.

Two of the most dramatic findings in this report were that for content at rest in sanctioned cloud storage apps, 17.9 percent violated a DLP policy. Of those files, more than one out of five, or 22.2 percent were exposed publicly, or shared with at least one person outside of the corporate domain. Those are both huge numbers, and easily fixable. This leads us to quick win #1: Discover sensitive content in your sanctioned apps and eliminate public access. Don’t forget to notify internal collaborators.

For DLP violations in content at rest and en route, we looked at category and activity. The vast majority (90 percent) of these violations occurred in the Cloud Storage category, and primarily in the activities “upload” and “download.” The other categories that have DLP violations include Webmail, Social Media, and CRM, and top DLP-violating activities vary depending on the category, e.g., “post” in social and “download” in CRM. This brings up quick win #2: Enforce your cloud DLP policies on data-compromising activities in apps containing sensitive data. Start where most violations occur: uploads and downloads in Cloud Storage.

For the first time since we’ve been releasing this report, we noticed a decline in the average apps per enterprise. They went from 730 in our last report to 715. Anecdotally, our customers are getting more serious about consolidating apps and standardizing on their corporate-sanctioned ones. They’re doing this through policy, education, and user coaching. We believe the decline is a direct result of this effort, which leads us to quick win #3: Consolidate on popular apps that are also enterprise-ready. Use app discovery as a guide, and get there with user coaching.

We also have a global and an EMEA version of our infographic available on our website.

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