How Prepared Are CISOs for Cloud Security Risks?

cloud services

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, remote teams have increased reliance on cloud communication and team collaboration services. Although there was interest in cloud adoption far before the pandemic hit, industry research has found that 9 out of 10 organizations have since rushed to adopt cloud services.

While this spawns tremendous scalability opportunities, cloud migration may also introduce digital risks in your organization. In today’s climate, not only is your IT team no longer on-premises, but employees have to rely on their home networks and may register unauthorized cloud services, unaware of potential risks. Additionally, depending on cloud maturity, your organization may also be struggling with limited budgets or a lack of know-how to address issues such as cloud misuse or threats.

Malicious actors have taken advantage of the increase in cloud usage over the past year to launch phishing and malware attacks. In 2020 alone, as many as 61% of malicious payloads were delivered through cloud-based applications, a cloud security provider reported.

Attackers used Microsoft Office documents to infect companies with ransomware or install backdoors. Some 36% of phishing attacks were intended for cloud-based applications to gain easier access in an organization’s network and to the information stored in the cloud. Lately, malware has also been spreading through collaboration platforms such as Discord and Slack.

Why you should immediately address cloud misconfigurations

Cloud security should not be neglected. When your employees register cloud applications of their choice, without a prior review by your security team, they may forget about changing default security settings. As a result, cloud misconfigurations could be exploited by cybercriminals to distribute malicious software, which may result in a data breach that could cost your company USD 3.86 million on average, according to IBM’s latest Cost of A Data Breach Report.

Data leaks expose sensitive information, making it accessible for malicious actors to leverage against your organization or sell it for profit on illicit markets. Not only is this a digital risk that can be prevented with the right tools, but it may also turn into a data privacy dispute that could make you liable to hefty fines and affect your reputation. Additionally, a data leak investigation could end up being very expensive on your end, as retracing the source could affect normal business operations and team productivity.

There are a few solutions to help you block malicious actors from accessing your cloud applications including adopting data encryption, establishing data access rights, and ensuring the settings are set up in line with industry benchmarks. However, what happens when confidential and sensitive data are leaked? Leaked information could go undetected for months without you being aware of it. Luckily, there are security tools available to monitor your digital footprint in real-time on the criminal underground to identify the leaked data, prioritize alerts, and help with remediation.

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