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Cloud assets as one of the biggest targets for cyberattacks in India: Thales Cloud Security Study

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Thales announced the release of the 2023 Thales Cloud Security Study, its annual assessment on the latest cloud security threats, trends and emerging risks based on a survey of nearly 3,000 IT and security professionals across 18 countries.

This year’s study found that more than a third (35%) of respondents in India have experienced a data breach in their cloud environment last year, compared to 37% in 2022. In addition, human error was reported as the leading cause of cloud data breaches by over half of those surveyed (52% in India, 55% globally).

This comes as respondents reported a dramatic increase in the level of sensitive data stored in the cloud. 68% of businesses in India and 75% globally said that more than 40% of data stored in the cloud is classified as sensitive.

More than a third (38%) respondents globally ranked Software as a Service (SaaS) applications as the leading target for hackers, closely followed by cloud-based storage (36%).

Lack of Encryption and Key Control Causes Cloud Data Concerns

Despite the reported increase in sensitive data in the cloud, the study found low levels of encryption being used. Only 19% of IT professionals in India (22% globally) reported that more than 60% of their sensitive data in the cloud is encrypted. According to the findings of the survey, on average, only 45% of cloud data is currently encrypted globally.

The study also found a lack of control over encryption keys by businesses, with only 16% of those surveyed in India and 14% globally stated that they controlled all of the keys to their encrypted data in their cloud environments. In addition, almost two thirds (62%) of respondents globally say they have five or more key management systems – creating increased complexity when securing sensitive data.

Multicloud Causing Operational Complexity

The adoption of multicloud continues to surge globally, with more than three quarters (79%) of organisations having more than one cloud provider.

Notably, it’s not just infrastructure that is experiencing this growth. The use of SaaS apps is also on the rise significantly. In 2021, 16% of respondents reported their enterprises utilising 51-100 different SaaS applications, while in 2023 this percentage increased to 22%.

Despite the expansion of cloud usage, a significant challenge remains. 44% of Indian organizations that responded to the survey, expressed that managing data in the cloud is more complex than in on-premises environments. Digital sovereignty is also front of mind for respondents. Globally, eighty three percent expressed concerns over data sovereignty, and 55% agreed that data privacy and compliance in the cloud has become more difficult.

Pathways to Better Cloud Security

Identity and access management (IAM) is a crucial measure in mitigating data breaches, emphasising the significance of strong security practices. Encouragingly, the adoption of robust multi-factor authentication (MFA) has risen to 65% globally, indicating progress in fortifying access controls.

Surprisingly, only 41% of organisations worldwide have implemented zero trust controls in their cloud infrastructure, and an even smaller percentage (38%) utilise such controls within their cloud networks. These statistics highlight the need for greater emphasis on adopting compreensive security measures to effectively safeguard sensitive data and enhance overall cybersecurity resilience.

” Considering the rising cyberthreats in India and globally, treating cloud environments as an extension of existing infrastructure while maintaining exclusive control and security of data, especially sensitive data, is key to cloud security. Another essential aspect of cyber security is customer control of encryption keys, as it allows organisations to leverage the scalability, cost efficiency, and accessibility benefits of the cloud while ensuring the utmost integrity and confidentiality of their valuable information. This becomes more critical for Indian organizations as 68% of respondents in India reported over 40% of their cloud data as sensitive,” stated Ashish Saraf, VP & Country Director – India, Thales.

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