How Lack of Visibility into Cloud Apps Can Increase Cyber Risks for Businesses

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How Lack of Visibility into Cloud Apps Can Increase Cyber Risks for Businesses

Organizations are increasingly using a large number of cloud apps, many of which are vulnerable to attacks or manipulation as a result of the transition to remote work. This has increased their attack surface and exposed them to a variety of new threats.

Most businesses have moved their workloads to the cloud as a result of the transition to remote employment. According to Spiceworks Ziff Davis’ State of IT report 2021, 35% of enterprises have already migrated or plan to accelerate workload migration to the cloud as a result of COVID-19. While this has aided them in surviving and growing at a difficult time, it has also resulted in a flood of malware attacks through cloud apps. Shadow IT apps, personal apps to retain work data, and third-party plugins to improve functionality are all common practices that have increased the risks in many companies.

Since cloud apps are designed to be exposed to the internet and service massive amounts of user traffic, they provide a fruitful entry point for attackers. Despite the fact that all modern cloud apps are developed with resiliency in mind, they are susceptible to a variety of vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. As a result of these risks, attackers may be able to acquire access to the cloud network and crucial company datasets.

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How cloud applications can expose sensitive information

Cybercriminals attacking cloud apps use legitimate tools in illegitimate ways like they always have. Malware-infected files and documents are some of the most common ways for malware to spread. Threat delivery avenues shrank as firms grew more cyber resilient. Some options, like email, remain available and have proven to be highly useful.

Emails can carry harmful payloads, such as attachments and files, and can communicate across organizational boundaries. Because of its unparalleled connectivity, email is an ideal logistics partner for attackers who use infected files, spreadsheets, PDFs, Word documents, and other media to transmit malware and threats. That’s one of the key reasons why this strategy still works and allows attackers to launch cyber-attacks right within the company’s perimeter.

The issue is that when an organization loses control and visibility over data shared between legitimate and shadow IT systems, it is no longer able to enforce compliance, conduct pen-testing, or deploy intrusion detection.

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What can businesses do to reduce risks?

Though cloud migration has its drawbacks, enterprises are becoming more conscious of the risks and taking steps to secure cloud apps. AppSec technologies, according to industry experts, can detect a wide range of issues, but they lack visibility into the broader infrastructure and context in which the application runs. Even if a tool is 100 percent certain that a vulnerability exists, it cannot say whether or not it can be exploited.

Before deciding whether or not a solution is required, teams should devote a significant amount of time to exploring the architectural context of a finding. The signal-to-noise ratio is too low. Teams need a better way to identify genuine problems so they don’t waste time on the noise. Implementing strong authentication and identity access controls, as well as making employees aware of the risks of utilizing cloud apps, according to some experts, can go a long way toward minimizing risks.

Access controls and monitoring should be implemented initially, followed by user awareness training and making sure all security settings are correct. To ensure that all of these precautions are properly executed, cloud apps providers should perform specific service-related security training for their clients’ technical employees.

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