Cybersecurity outfit McAfee released a new research study titled Cloud Adoption & Risk Report – Work-from-Home Edition looked at the anonymized and aggregated data from more than 30 million McAfee MVISION Cloud users worldwide between January and April.
The report reveals significant and potentially long-lasting trends that include an increase in the use of cloud services, access from unmanaged devices and the rise of cloud-native threats.
It calls for new security delivery models in the distributed work-from-home environment.
In the time surveyed, overall enterprise adoption of cloud services spiked by 50 percent, including industries such as manufacturing and financial services that typically rely on legacy on-premises applications, networking and security more than others. Use of cloud collaboration tools increased by up to 600 percent, with the education sector seeing the most growth as more students are required to adopt distance learning practices.
Threat events from external actors increased by 630 percent over the same period. Most of these external attacks targeted collaboration services like Microsoft 365, and were large-scale attempts to access cloud accounts with stolen credentials.
Insider threats remained the same, indicating that working from home has not negatively influenced employee loyalty. Access to the cloud by unmanaged, personal devices doubled, adding another layer of risk for security professionals working to keep their data secure in the cloud.
McAfee Cloud Security senior vice president Rajiv Gupta said: “While we are seeing a tremendous amount of courage and global goodwill to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we also are unfortunately seeing an increase in bad actors looking to exploit the sudden uptick in cloud adoption created by an increase in working from home.
“The risk of threat actors targeting the cloud far outweighs the risk brought on by changes in employee behaviour. Mitigating this risk requires cloud-native security solutions that can detect and prevent external attacks and data loss from the cloud and from the use of unmanaged devices. Cloud-native security has to be deployed and managed remotely and can’t add any friction to employees whose work from home is essential to the health of their organisation.”
He said all industries need to evaluate their security posture to protect against account takeover and data exfiltration. Companies need to safeguard against threat actors attempting to exploit weaknesses in their cloud deployments.