Clouds Threaten Reign of Ransomware

According to the recently released 2023 Thales Data Threat Report, nearly half (47%) of IT professionals surveyed believe that security threats are increasing in volume or severity with 48% reporting an increase in ransomware attacks. More than a third (37%) have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months, including 22% reporting that their organisation had been a victim of a ransomware attack. Despite this rising incidence of attacks, more than half of those enterprises surveyed (51%) stated that they do not have a formal ransomware plan.

The report was compiled using research based on a global survey of nearly 3,000 respondents across 18 countries, fielded in November and December last year via web survey. This included targeted populations for each country, aimed at professionals in security and IT management, including 102 respondents in the UAE.

Respondents identified their cloud assets as the biggest targets for cyber-attacks. Over a quarter (28%) said SaaS apps and cloud-based storage were the biggest targets, followed by cloud-hosted applications (26%) and cloud infrastructure management (25%). The increase in cloud exploitation and attacks is directly due to the increase in workloads moving to the cloud as 75% of respondents said 40% of data stored in the cloud is now classified as sensitive compared to 49% of respondents in 2022.

Emmanuel De Roquefeuil, Vice-President Thales Middle East said “The security attacks and breaches are growing in line with the growing use of cloud infrastructure. Digital transformation continues to accelerate and include a wider range of industries, using a greater diversity of cloud services, technology and personnel. Multi-cloud use is the rule now, not the exception. Even organizations that employ more conservative cloud deployment strategies such as rehosting or ‘lift and shift’, now report strong multicloud adoption, with 79% of enterprises having production workloads in more than one public cloud.”

Digital transformation initiatives require changes in approach with greater security collaboration built in, but the complexity of applying this across platforms remains a top barrier to securing multicloud environments. Despite the complexity, more companies are putting more of their sensitive data in the cloud, and they have a higher proportion of sensitive data to overall data.

Emmanuel de Roquefeuil said “Human error is the number one cause of breaches, perhaps exacerbated by self-service and varying security controls across different IaaS/PaaS and SaaS providers. Multi-cloud means learning new policies and cloud- and identity-security solutions. However, vulnerabilities can also happen in software, hardware and firmware, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

With the reports finding that 62% of enterprises have at least five enterprise key management systems adding to the complexity, Emmanuel de Roquefeuil believes that organizations should begin today to inventory and simplify their encryption deployments.

He said: “The world relies on Thales to provide cloud protection solutions for both governments and private entities. The growth in private sector use of the cloud has seen our cyber security specialist divisionfinding more synergies between the expertise in the defense sector and the civilian markt ,working together on global solutions across industries.”

An access management and authentication service, such as Thales SafeNet Trusted Access, can simplify user access to cloud services and enterprise apps, streamline cloud identity management, and eliminate password hassles for IT and users, while getting a single pane view of access events across your app estate to ensure that the right user has access to the right application at the right level of trust.

“This gives IT the power to control access to all apps with the right policy, you can enforce the right authentication method for the right user.

“At Thales we believe that organizations can manage their digital transformations securely by protecting more apps and more users through better multi-factor authentication (MFA) coverage. In today’s threat environment all users and applications are targets. That’s why to ensure anywhere secure access, MFA should be expanded to cover all potential targets,” He added.