Desk Stop: Top 5 Cloud Services Employees Can't Access5:00 PM EST Fri. Sep. 27, 2013
An analysis of cloud services used in more than 100 large businesses found most employees had the ability to access Web-based file sharing, data storage and other services that introduce serious risks to security and privacy. The company found that employees used second- or third-tier services often containing deficient security controls, said Rajiv Gupta, founder and CEO of Skyhigh Networks.
Low-risk services are blocked 40 percent more than high-risk services, according to Gupta. Skyhigh Networks also found that 19 file sharing services are used by organizations on average. CRN pulled together a list of the five most restricted cloud services and the riskier alternatives that the restrictions introduce.
Check out the rest of CRN's special report on cloud services and security, available exclusively on the CRN Tech News App.
On-demand streaming media website Netflix was the most blocked service, according to Skyhigh, blocked by 46 percent of the organizations in the company's study. Gupta told CRN that he isn't surprised that Netflix was blocked because it proves restrictions are being based on productivity and bandwidth concerns, which are outdated considerations. Netflix is a low-risk service but, according to the company's analysis, it is among the 10 percent of media sites restricted by enterprises.
Location-based social networking website Foursquare followed Netflix as the second-most-blocked service. Chinese social networking service Renren was restricted most from employees. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were the most used social networks, Skyhigh Networks found.
Apple's iCloud service was blocked by 39 percent of the firms analyzed by Skyhigh Networks. The service backs up and stores music, photos, apps, calendars, documents and other files used by Mac and iPhone owners. Carbonite was the most blocked file backup and archiving service. Gupta said users often find lesser-known file storage services, opening up the potential for data leakage.
Google's webmail service Gmail was blocked by 31 percent of the businesses analyzed by in the study. Skyhigh Networks said Gmail is a low-risk service, but businesses are fearful that employees would use it to connect to other Google services or be constantly checking for messages, causing productivity to deteriorate. Google added a variety of security improvements to the email service, including two-factor authentication, using encryption to protect messages and automated features to prevent password theft and brute-force attacks attempting to gain access to the service.
Tied with Gmail is Skype, which was blocked by 31 percent of the businesses analyzed by Skyhigh Networks. Skype was blocked most by businesses in the financial services and high-tech industries, the company said. The service, which provides free or low-cost Internet calls and messaging, was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Gupta said the service will likely be blocked less frequently if it is more closely aligned with other popular Microsoft services such as Microsoft Office 365.