As mobile and computing technology become more available internationally, the number of people with access to the cloud is exploding. This is great news for companies in terms of an expanding global culture, international collaboration and a heightened awareness of worldwide markets, but practices by those new to the Internet are showing troubling trends in terms of data security.
It seems that, as more people gain access to the Internet, they are also going to the cloud with enterprise data and personal files that really need more protection than they currently receive. Since they have no prior experience with online data or threats, they are less likely to take adequate precautions with personal and business information. This could also be troubling for corporations that are working with more international collaborators, as they pose more of a risk for data leaks and are appealing targets for hackers.
A password problem
Since the proliferation of mobile devices and personal computers is gaining momentum, more cloud implementation is coming hot at the heels of these developing technology markets. Since these services are affordable and easy to access, people quickly get on board before they understand exactly what the service is and how it works.
A study by Ipsos Public Affairs found that nearly half of the global computer users are currently in the cloud but have little knowledge of cloud security. These figures are even higher in Asian countries, but security measures don't appear to be any greater in areas where saturation is highest. While nearly 90 percent of users say they're only doing personal computing with this utility, one-third are already using it for enterprise information, making it a prime target for attacks.
That's because the report also uncovered that these newer users have no problem handing out account credentials. Nearly half of all respondents in fledgling Internet markets said that they would willingly give login information to a friend or a co-worker, meaning that data leaks could be more easily facilitated.
Taking a stand
In order to ensure complete data protection in the cloud, businesses need to be mindful of these statistics and understand the impact it may have on their initiatives. The Ipsos survey may have found disturbing trends in newer users, but established cloud users also responded that they would feel comfortable sharing their cloud one-third of the time.
In light of that, preparing a better security net for cloud protection should take priority among IT personnel. Ajay Chandramouly of InformationWeek recently wrote that having a completely protected online presence is unobtainable and striving for such an end will only set a company up for failure, so taking practical precautions is best.
Chandramouly recommended that more businesses use an anonymization method with files destined for the cloud. This process changes certain key elements of the information from an external viewpoint, meaning that if a hacker does access a system or someone is viewing these resources with the intent to cause harm, it will be much harder to identify the kind of data each file holds without painstakingly reviewing each one.
While measures like this won't entirely stop a thief, partnering it with other modes of IT protection can reduce data security risks while still encouraging cloud usage and international collaboration. There's no way to stop a hacker 100 percent of the time, but taking action before an attack occurs can minimize the damage without limiting a business.