Cloud

6/23/2015
08:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

3 Clues That Collaboration And File Sharing Tools Are Cloud Security's Weak Link

Cloud collaboration and file sharing applications continue to raise CISOs' blood pressure.

As many organizations still grapple with adopting and enforcing acceptable cloud use policies, shadow IT instances continue to rise. It's forcing IT security to fight risky apps like a game of whack-a-mole. Perhaps no other category of application causes quite as much heartburn and increased risk as collaboration and file sharing tools. Typically designed for the consumer market and primed for sharing information quickly and efficiently, these tools are easy to install and for the most part not ready for sensitive enterprise data. Here are three signs that these tools are the Achilles heel of cloud security programs today.

File Sharing And Collaboration Dominate User Behavior

The sheer number of these applications continues to flood into the enterprise. Overall, the average enterprise now has over 774 distinct cloud applications in use at any given time, according to research by Elastica, which also found that overall the total documents in the cloud has increased by 60 percent in the last six months. The bulk of that is funneled through collaboration and file sharing tools. According to data collected by Skyhigh Networks, data sent to file sharing and collaboration cloud services make up 63 percent of all data uploaded to the cloud.

Not Ready For Enterprise Use

Research from Netskope shows collaboration applications are second behind only marketing applications in the enterprise. For example, many of these applications such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and Slack make up the top 20 tools in the enterprise. But its study of these applications in aggregate finds that just 84 percent of these collaboration and file sharing tools are ready for the enterprise, with appropriate security, audit and certified controls in place.

Users Share Freely

Users today now share about 25 percent of their data broadly within cloud file sharing and collaboration tools, according to Elastica. Of that data, over 12 percent contain compliance data of some sort. This includes PCI data, private health information, and personally identifiable information.

Clearly, there's a need for easy ways to share data effectively in the cloud. The silver lining to all of this is that enterprise policies and consistent enforcement can reduce the risk of collaboration and sharing in the cloud by funneling that demand through enterprise-ready applications. To some degree that work is already underway. One stat to show evidence of this is that a quarter ago Office 365 Outlook and OneDrive for Business weren't in the Netskope top 20 applicaton list. Now they're in the number 8 and 18 spot respectively.

"We believe that the dramatic growth is owed to enterprise IT  directing users to corporate sanctioned apps through policy and user coaching," the recent report from Netskope surmised.

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ulf Mattsson
50%
50%
Ulf Mattsson,
User Rank: Moderator
6/23/2015 | 11:19:27 AM
Enterprise policies and consistent enforcement can reduce the risk
I agree that "there's a need for easy ways to share data effectively in the cloud. The silver lining to all of this is that enterprise policies and consistent enforcement can reduce the risk of collaboration and sharing in the cloud."

Gartner recently reviewed interesting data security approaches for existing cloud applications that can help organizations that are concerned about data security and compliance with regulations.

The first report is from June 2015 with the title "Simplify Operations and Compliance in the Cloud by Protecting Sensitive Data." Another Gartner report concluded that "Cloud Data Protection Gateways" provides a "High Benefit Rating" and "offer a way to secure sensitive enterprise data and files stored in SaaS applications".

Cloud Gateways sits between users and cloud applications, replacing sensitive data with tokens or encrypted values before it is sent to the cloud. After the data has been processed and returned by the cloud service (i.e. Salesforce, Box, Gmail, Office365, Xactly, etc), the Cloud Gateway "unlocks" the data, making it viewable by approved business users. No one outside your organization can access your data on its journey to and from the cloud.

Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity
Diversity: It's About Inclusion
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  4/25/2018
Threat Intel: Finding Balance in an Overcrowded Market
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/23/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.