Data Loss in the Cloud: Securing Information Across SaaS, On-Prem Environments

October 9, 2018 Arctic Wolf Networks

Not all cyberthreats originate from outside the organization. Sometimes, your employees are your own worst enemy and introduce threats by way of accidental missteps, resulting in data loss in the cloud. These are what we refer to as “unintentional insider threats,” and they commonly take the following forms:

  • Accidental exposure: An employee mistakenly copies the wrong contact on an email containing sensitive information, or accidentally shares a file with someone who doesn’t need that access. Another potential misstep involves creating a cloud-based file that can be accessed by anyone who has the link. Either scenario can make otherwise private information publicly accessible. This accidental exposure can have severe ramifications from a data loss standpoint.
  • External collaborator: When an administrator gives a vendor, contractor, freelancer or other external partner access to data or shared files without having any visibility into how the third-party is using that information. This could lead to improper or unsafe use of data and, ultimately, lost or stolen information.
  • Shadow IT: One or more of your employees use unsanctioned applications for work purposes. As a result, they may not be properly backing up or securing mission-critical company data. This can result in permanent data loss or potential data theft.

Malicious Insider Threats

In other cases, a business may neglect to revoke a former employee’s SaaS credentials, opening the door for a malicious insider to take advantage. They can use this access to steal data that may give their new employer an advantage. An example of this occurred June, 2018, when a former Tesla employee leaked several gigabytes of data that included detailed information about manufacturing facilities to unknown third parties.

Incidents such as this are especially disconcerting as more businesses utilize multiple SaaS applications. All it takes is one oversight to precipitate malicious data exposure. Organizations must therefore spot potential sources of insider threats that endanger important information.

Vigilance Is the Best Data Protection

Proper identity and access management (IAM) and educating employees can greatly improve security hygiene for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). Nevertheless, those are still chiefly preventative measures. SMEs also need to police network activity in their hybrid cloud environment so they can detect potential threats to data and respond to them in real time.

SMEs may not have the means to build and manage an on-premises security operations center to protect their hybrid cloud footprint. But for a predictable cost, they can gain the support, expertise and technology access of a fully functional managed SOC.

Learn more about how SOC-as-a-service protects hybrid cloud environments by clicking the banner below.


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