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Poor processes endanger data in the cloud

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Swift adoption of cloud-based services and a lack of well-defined security strategies is leaving organisations struggling to keep control of their data, across a sprawling number of services and applications.
According to new research from Kaspersky Lab, 35% of businesses globally admit that they are unsure if certain pieces of corporate information are stored on company servers or on those of their cloud providers.
This makes the safeguarding and accountability of data extremely hard to achieve, putting its integrity at risk and paving the way for potentially severe security and cost implications.
With cloud services enabling companies to take advantage of key technologies to support day-to-day operations and growth plans — without worrying about maintenance or the hefty price tag – it’s no surprise that 78% of businesses are already using at least one Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based platform.
The same number (75%) are also planning to move more applications to the cloud in the future. When it comes to IaaS, nearly half (49%) of enterprises and 45% of SMBs are looking to outsource IT infrastructure and processes to third parties.
However, for many organisations, the speed of adoption and lure of cost and operational savings has been to the detriment of security, with many using cloud services with no strategy in place for the security of their information. Uncertainty around who is responsible for the security of data in the cloud can often be the basis for this approach. The research found that seven out of 10 (70%) businesses using SaaS and cloud service providers have no clear plan in place to deal with security incidents which could affect their partners. A quarter admit to not even checking the compliance credentials of their service provider, suggesting an assumption that they will pick up the pieces if something goes wrong.
However, with 42% of businesses not feeling adequately protected from incidents affecting their cloud service provider and a quarter (24%) of businesses having experienced a security incident affecting the IT infrastructure hosted by a third party, over the last 12 months — a reliance on cloud providers alone to provide complete protection could be a risky strategy.
This lack of planning and accountability by cloud adopters for the security of their information, could have serious consequences for companies, with enterprises suffering an average $1,2-million financial impact as the result of a cloud-related security incident, compared to $100k for SMBs.
Where data has been compromised as the result of a third party incident, the top three types of data to be affected were: highly sensitive customer information (experienced by 49% of SMBs and 40% of enterprises); basic employee information (35% for SMBs, 36% for enterprises); and emails and internal communication (31% for SMBs, 35% for enterprises).
Businesses have to find ways to get the cloud under control. Every package of data needs to be protected wherever it happens to be at any one time. To do so, companies need spotting anomalies within their cloud infrastructures, through a combination of techniques including machine learning and behavioural analytics.