How cloud sprawl is leaving organisations exposed to security risks

In part one of our blog series on cloud sprawl, we discussed how the ease of adoption of cloud services was positive but also had its potential downsides. 

Customers don’t have a grip on their licence usage which in many cases is leading to inefficient licensing and money being wasted. And as the cloud real estate grows, so does the waste. 

When it comes to security, however, the downfalls of cloud sprawl have a more existential threat – with the potential of lasting damage and significant costs to an organisation. 

Why cloud sprawl is bad for security 

It’s important to note that having a lot of cloud services is in itself not inherently a security risk. The risk comes from when IT teams have to deal with a growing number of services, each a potential risk for your organisation and a potential ball to drop. For every system brought online quickly, there’s another potential risk to consider. 

And while end users operate more and more in the cloud each day and often not in a centralised office, organisations can’t afford to take their eyes off endpoint security – with risks there potentially being a chink into a wider security breach.

Cloud Sprawl Image 1

Platform sprawl 

Every system is generating its data. Sometimes, too much data. Among the myriad dashboards and reports and alerts it’s easy for teams to not see the forest for the trees. 

With each system demanding attention in its own way for whatever it deems important, as the number of systems grows so does the noise.  

pexels-olly-3791136

Excess and unused cloud resources 

What systems are actually being used? What licences have been assigned but are just sitting idle 

Each system adds its own attack vector, so understanding what is needed – and if it is still actively used – is vital to begin to mitigate risks. This includes getting a grip on shadow IT. 

Poor or incorrect access controls 

It’s all too easy to give sign in permissions for a mailbox, or to a user for a temporary need, then for it to be forgotten about. Accounts may simply be left with access long after they are needed.  

With every single account a potential risk to your IT infrastructure, ensuring accounts are properly configured, secured and then removed when not needed is vital. 

To enable your cloud real estate, end point security still matters 

In some ways the adoption of cloud has made the end user safer and more resilient. A cloud service isn’t going to feel the pain of a local virus outbreak. If a user’s machine is compromised, they are likely to able to jump on another machine and continue where they left off.  

But with security threats becoming ever more sophisticated, and data often being the end goal of criminal enterprise, the user and their end point security is just as important as ever. A study by the Ponemon Institute indicated that 68% of organisations experienced an endpoint attack resulting in compromised data or IT infrastructure in 2023, 

So while not a cloud issue specifically, end points remain a risk – and with a dispersed workforce you can’t just rely on network security. A laptop without its firewall enabled, an out of date virus scanner… they may seem small issues in the scale of a large organisation, but it takes just one breach to ultimately lead to larger consequences.  

Lack of cybersecurity staff poses a challenge 

50% of all United Kingdom organisations lack basic cybersecurity skills and that’s exacerbated by a labour shortage. 

There is already a lot of data in your organisation, but it’s not always easily accessible or meaningful. 

Any way to float this information to the top, and make actions easier to carry out, can make your organisation more secure and free up to time for higher-priority security work. 

Cloud Sprawl Image 3

Clevr360 | Improving your security posture 

Clevr360 is not a security tool and won’t replace the tools and services that an organisation deploys to protect its IT infrastructure. But it will help provide a two-pronged approach: to ensure endpoints are secure, and keep tabs of your cloud estate. 

It brings a unified dashboard to the various technologies in use within your organisation. Your IT teams can see – in one place – required actions and quick wins to improve the security of your organisation all while deploying industry best practice. It’s even benchmarked.

 

Those areas could include: 

  • Understanding teams and how many have owners and members. 
  • Devices where MFA (multi factor authentication) are not enabled. 
  • Accounts that have been subjected to excessive levels of ailed login attempts. 
  • Shared mailboxes that have sign-in enabled. 
  • By highlighting these clearly in one place and ranked by severity, IT teams can act faster and more decisively on what needs to be done and then free up time for higher priority projects. 

After harnessing Clevr360 to tame licences and secure your IT real estate, in our next blog we discuss how to move on to a more proactive footing in building a long term roadmap. 

get Clevr360

Speak to our team

Fill out the form below and we will be in touch with the next steps.