Skyhigh: Employees Continue to Place Sensitive Info in Cloud Services

Less than 10 percent of cloud services currently meet security and privacy requirements, according to Skyhigh Networks’ quarterly Cloud Adoption and Risk report.

Michael Cusanelli, Associate Editor

October 28, 2015

3 Min Read
Skyhigh: Employees Continue to Place Sensitive Info in Cloud Services

Less than 10 percent of cloud services currently meet security and privacy requirements, according to Skyhigh Networks’ Q4 2015 Cloud Adoption and Risk Report.

Despite increased cloud service usage among enterprises, only 8.1 percent of the 16,000 cloud services measured by Skyhigh meet the company’s CloudTrust Program security standards, according to the latest study. And with the average number of cloud services used per organization rising to a record high of 1,154, the lack of security and poor employee sharing habits is putting companies at a major risk of data loss and policy violation.

Skyhigh utilized data from its 23 million customers worldwide for its Q4 2015 study to help users understand the risks they take when sharing sensitive corporate and personal private information through cloud services. Although the latest report showed a smaller increase in cloud service usage in Q3 than in the company’s previous quarterly report, the number of cloud services in use by enterprise companies is higher than ever.

Despite increased cloud service usage, employees continue to jeopardize sensitive data by exhibiting unsafe sharing practices. This includes sharing documents that contain confidential company information over corporate networks as well as placing personal information such as passwords, Social Security numbers and tax ID numbers into shared accounts.

About 15.8 percent of all documents stored in cloud-based file sync and share solutions contain sensitive information, with more than half of that information being contained within Microsoft (MSFT) Office documents. Of the nearly 16 percent of documents that contain sensitive information, 7.6 percent contain confidential company data.

The amount of shared documents has also increased, with 37.2 percent of documents stored in file sharing services. This number is 10 percent higher than the same period last year, and could be a sign that users increasingly are utilizing file-sharing services to distribute data among colleagues and less for their intended purpose of syncing documents between their devices, according to Skyhigh. Alarmingly, many users often place documents containing code in their file sync and share services, despite the presence of code repositories such as GitHub.

Skyhigh found that Microsoft Windows desktop users are the most likely to share documents via cloud services, with Windows customers utilizing cloud services 77 percent more than the average Apple (AAPL) Mac desktop user. Windows users also upload the most data to their cloud services, although cloud usage on mobile devices is rising sharply with a 62.9 percent increase year over year.

Finally, Skyhigh analyzed the most popular cloud services used by its customers, and determined that Microsoft Office 365 was the most popular enterprise cloud service, followed by Salesforce and Cisco WebEx.

Consumers continue to rank Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as their top cloud services, while Google Drive is the No. 1 file-sharing service. Office 365 also topped the list of top collaboration services, followed by Gmail and Cisco WebEx.

With October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month, many companies are advocating safer web and cloud security for both enterprise users and consumers. Earlier this week, CompTIA released a new study which found that nearly one in five enterprise users are willing to insert an unmarked flash drive they found in a public space into their corporate device. Intermedia also released its 2015 Insider Risk Report, which found that people with the greatest access to company data are the most likely to engage in risky behaviors.

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About the Author(s)

Michael  Cusanelli

Associate Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Cusanelli is the associate editor for Penton Technology’s channel properties, including The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. He has written articles and produced video for and is a graduate of Stony Brook University's School of Journalism in New York. In his spare time Michael likes to play video games, watch sci-fi movies and participate in all things nerdy. He can be reached at [email protected]


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