More than 1 in 4 cloud apps are high risk

Enterprise Innovation editors
Enterprise Innovation

More than a quarter (27%) of third-party apps can be classified as high risk, according to research from CloudLock Cyberlab.

Analysis conducted across 10 million users, 1 billion files, and nearly 160,000 unique applications found that cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in high-risk apps to gain programmatic access to corporate platforms impersonating end users. 

The shadow IT dilemma is meanwhile only becoming more challenging as usage is increasing exponentially year over year, the company said.

The past three years saw nearly a 30 times increase in the number of apps detected, from 5,500 to nearly 160,000. Each application instance represents a backdoor through which hackers can infiltrate and externalize sensitive corporate assets.

CloudLock Cyberlab said an organization may embrace its employees’ "shadow" exploration of innovative technology solutions and sanction a subset of these apps as Productivity IT, but it’s essential to closely monitor the connected third-party apps and identify cloud native malware in real time.

Security conscious enterprises recognize the high risk associated with connected third-party apps and take immediate action. While apps can be banned for any number of reasons, including concerns around productivity, a clear majority are banned because of the security vulnerabilities they introduce. 

The key recommendation is to reduce cloud app risk by establishing an acceptable use policy, with which organizations can significantly reduce the application risk level organization-wide. Automating whitelisting or banning of potentially risky applications is an effective strategy. 

"The shift to the cloud creates a new, virtual security perimeter that includes third-party apps granted access to corporate systems," said Ayse Kaya Firat, CloudLock director of customer insights and analytics.

"Today, most employees leverage a wide variety of apps to get their jobs done efficiently, unwittingly exposing corporate data and systems to malware and the possibility of data theft.”

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