Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

2/23/2018
04:35 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

93% of Cloud Applications Aren't Enterprise-Ready

The average business uses 1,181 cloud services, and most don't meet all recommended security requirements, Netskope says.

Think your company's cloud usage is secure? Think again. Data shows the average businesses has 1,181 cloud services, and nearly all of them — 92.7% — are not enterprise-ready.

This data comes from Netskope, which discovered trends around cloud service adoption and usage by analyzing anonymized data from its Netskope Active Platform. The number of cloud services ranges from a few hundred in smaller organizations to more than 3,000 in large enterprises.

To determine whether an app was "enterprise-ready," analysts used parameters from the Cloud Security Alliance's Cloud Controls Matrix. They researched more than 40 parameters from each cloud service, including business continuity, data security, access control, privacy, and auditing, and used these to rank services as low, medium, high, or excellent.

Human resources and marketing departments are major drivers of cloud adoption. The average count of HR apps across organizations is 139, the highest yet for any given department. "It just keeps rising," says Jervis Hui, senior security strategist at Netskope. "This is the highest average we've seen in the course of the four to five years Netskope has been doing this report."

Researchers are seeing a broad transition from traditionally on-premises HR services to cloud-based apps like Workday, SuccessFactors, and Ultimate Software. Most of these new apps contain sensitive data but aren't always sanctioned by IT, putting the data at risk.

"A lot of these HR apps and marketing apps have a lot of customer information and marketing information that counts as personal data under GDPR," says Hui. "And a lot of them are shadow IT; they're not necessarily brought in or vetted by the IT organization." (The EU's General Data Protection Regulation takes effect on May 25.)

However, Netskope points out, some applications are more likely to be IT-sanctioned than others. "While the aforementioned SuccessFactors, Ultimate Software, and Workday are typically sanctioned by IT, the majority of apps in this category are not, leading to concern for sensitive data leakage and security," the company reports.

When creating policies and access controls to secure information, teams should start with HR and marketing apps, the researchers reported. Many popular apps in these categories contain personal data and require data loss prevention software and access controls to ensure it's used in compliance.

Analysts compiled a list of top cloud services, which mostly consist of storage and collaboration tools and include popular offerings like Outlook, Office 365, Gmail, Facebook, Skype, Google Drive, SharePoint, Microsoft Power BI, iCloud, Twitter, LinkedIn, Box, and Salesforce.

These are common in the enterprise and most are sanctioned; however, even vetted apps can be connected to dangerous ones, Hui points out. Some workflow apps are less popular but contain sensitive data — for example, virtual signature tools that handle important files.

"Those are the apps you really want to look at," he notes. Admins can put security controls on Microsoft services and Box, for example, to prevent sharing sensitive files with non-vetted apps.

Data indicates the majority of malware detections are generic, with threats like Flash exploits and worms making up 41.6% of the total. Backdoors made up 33.6% of malware detections, followed by Microsoft Office macros (8.6%), adware (4%), and PDF exploits (3.2%), with threats like ransomware, Mac malware, JavaScript, and mobile malware falling behind. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency malware made up only 0.4% of the total, but that number is rising rapidly, says Hui.

Businesses will need to crack down on data visibility ahead of GDPR this year.

"Looking at the data … the big thing in terms of compliance is looking at which apps are in use right now in our organization and seeing what kind of big controls you need to put in place," says Hui. "Companies need visibility into which apps are being used and place control over them."

When you find applications putting data at risk, determine which groups of employees are using those apps and how many people are using them. How are they being used? Where is data flowing? Are they accessing those applications on unmanaged devices?

If the app is dangerous and not used often, one option is to block it completely and not let anyone use it. If it's a common app and personally identifiable information is flowing into it, start coaching people away from the app. Have a sanctioned, alternate app ready for a similar service and say "This app is not compliant; please use this service instead."

Related Content:

 

 

 

Black Hat Asia returns to Singapore with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 9:32:09 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
@Brian: It might be even smaller than 7%. Don't forget that studies like that often have a "don't know/aren't sure" third option.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:56:37 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
I don't get how an organization can hope to document the details of how an app does what it does. I agree, most organizations have to go through a consolidation because they start deploying the apps to cloud.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:54:51 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
You can outsource, to a degree For me that is partially what is happening in the could, Wen basically outsource the responsibilities assuming all will work out.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:52:54 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
The goal is to provide and expose data only as it is required to accomplish specific tasks, on a per instance basis. This would do be a good deal for security experts. At the end of the day we need to protect the data.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:51:31 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
the details of how each app does what it does? This is a good questions, if the are not enterprise ready maybe they are not for enterprises.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:49:33 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
I don't know how comfortable we should even be with the 7% that are deemed "enterprise ready" I am surprise with the percentages too. That may also tell us that most apps in cloud are not that useful either.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:47:48 PM
Re: 93% of cloud apps
there's an app for that" Yes. A could app to make sure cloud apps are easy to enterprise.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2018 | 7:43:06 PM
93%?
That sounds a very high number. Most of the enterprises are using cloud currently. So are they at risk?
247locksmith
50%
50%
247locksmith,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/25/2018 | 12:23:11 PM
93% of cloud apps
I completely agree! I don't get how an organization can hope to document the details of how an app does what it does. Although organizations like <a href="https://www.24-7locksmith.org/">24-7 Locksmith</a> do a really good job at stuff like this, so I don't think it's entirely futile. That's just me though!
BrianN060
50%
50%
BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2018 | 2:09:12 PM
93% of cloud apps
Concerned that so much of your organization's data and operations are dependent on services beyond your control?  Don't worry - "there's an app for that

I don't know how comfortable we should even be with the 7% that are deemed "enterprise ready".  At best, these have a good track record (up to the point when the survey was taken); but all are born of a dynamic process.  All we can say is that they've been Ok, so far - but that far might not reach the next update, compliance regulation or newly discovered vulnerability.  It's fair to credit some providers with having demonstrated effective remediation, when things have gone south, and for doing a better job of vetting their own providers and partners.  Yet, there are too many interdependencies to warrant unqualified trust.

With the quoted usage from hundreds to thousands, how can an organization hope to document, let alone comprehend, the details of how each app does what it does? 

The only viable recourse is to do a better job of data governance.  The goal is to provide and expose data only as it is required to accomplish specific tasks, on a per instance basis.  Before you can do that, you need a fact-based information system's model, at the conceptual level - one that reflects how your specific organization actually  processes data to carry out its business. 

You won't find that in a template, even one that's "customizable".  It's also not a process you can automate: it requires comprehension and judgement.  You can outsource, to a degree; but that service will have to know your business at least as well as you do - so only chose those with whom you feel comfortable being business partners, in the fullest sense.  One thing is certain - you won't find an app for that. 
Malicious USB Drive Hides Behind Gift Card Lure
Dark Reading Staff 3/27/2020
How Attackers Could Use Azure Apps to Sneak into Microsoft 365
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  3/24/2020
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
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-10940
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Local Privilege Escalation can occur in PHOENIX CONTACT PORTICO SERVER through 3.0.7 when installed to run as a service.
CVE-2020-10939
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Insecure, default path permissions in PHOENIX CONTACT PC WORX SRT through 1.14 allow for local privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-6095
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
An exploitable denial of service vulnerability exists in the GstRTSPAuth functionality of GStreamer/gst-rtsp-server 1.14.5. A specially crafted RTSP setup request can cause a null pointer deference resulting in denial-of-service. An attacker can send a malicious packet to trigger this vulnerability.
CVE-2020-10817
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
The custom-searchable-data-entry-system (aka Custom Searchable Data Entry System) plugin through 1.7.1 for WordPress allows SQL Injection. NOTE: this product is discontinued.
CVE-2020-10952
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
GitLab EE/CE 8.11 through 12.9.1 allows blocked users to pull/push docker images.