Preventing Shadow IT: 8 Top High-Risk Cloud Apps To Look Out For

In The Shadows

There are an astonishing 10,000 cloud services available on the market today, which creates a growing problem for IT around Shadow IT as only 9.3 percent of those apps meet enterprise data, security and legal requirements, cloud security company Skyhigh Networks found in its Q1 2015 Cloud Adoption and Risk Report.

To protect a company's data in the cloud, IT professionals have to clamp down on Shadow IT and redirect it through authorized applications. However, to do that they have to know which applications employees are using. In its report, Skyhigh Networks analyzed which applications led the pack based on most user data uploaded. Take a look.

8. Convert JPG To PDF

Based on data uploaded, users took full advantage of free, online PDF converter Convert JPG to PDF in the first quarter. To use the product, users select JPG files, upload them to the company's website and, with the click of a button, have them converted to PDFs. However, with no oversight or restrictions, company employees could upload any JPG or company sensitive information without a clear idea of where the information travels afterward. According to the Skyhigh Networks report, only 9.3 percent of cloud services meet requirements of large enterprises for data protection, identity verification, service security, business practices and legal protection.

7. Online PDF-Converter

Similar to Convert JPG To PDF, Online PDF-Converter provides users with an online platform for converting files or URLs to PDF files. Users then enter their email to send the PDF directly to their inbox. The product also offers the reverse process, converting PDFs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and images. The Skyhigh Networks report recommended the first step a company should take to protect its data is to "restrict data uploads to the riskiest cloud services," which it said include those that lack security features, have extensive legal terms and have a known history of breaches.

6. Online-Convert

In yet another appearance for file conversion apps on the top list, Online-Convert provides users with more options, including converting audio, video, documents, archives and more. On Skyhigh Networks' ranking of cloud services based on the amount of data uploaded, Online-Convert ranked highest. For security, Online-Convert said on its FAQ page that it deletes files 24 hours after posting with the option to delete instantly.

5. FilePi

FilePi advertises itself on its main website as a totally free file hosting site with no upload or download limits and indefinite file storage. The company said it adopts "appropriate" security and storage measures around the files uploaded and does not sell user information. That being said, from a Shadow IT perspective, Skyhigh Networks said file sharing accounts for 39 percent of all possibly sensitive corporate data uploaded to the cloud across an average 49 services per organization.

4. Sendspace

For large file sharing, the Skyhigh Networks data shows that users are taking advantage of Sendspace, an online solution that allows users to upload a file and then share it via a link with their peers. While the Sendspace website said it "has security measures in place" to protect misuse of data, the Skyhigh Networks report cautioned that companies should keep an eye on this type of cloud service as an estimated 21 percent of file sharing contains sensitive data.

3. Dropmefiles

Dropmefiles is yet another file-sharing solution on the list of high-risk cloud services, offering one-click drag-and-drop file sharing to email or SMS. The platform gives the option for password protection and set time for download. To prevent against this sort of Shadow IT in the organization, the Skyhigh Networks report said many companies are turning to data loss prevention solutions, from where they can quarantine data, notify users who are inappropriately sharing data, encrypt data and modify a user's sharing capabilities.

2. FileDropper

The most simple of all the file-sharing solutions on the list, FileDropper lets users upload a file (up to 5 GB) and share with a customized link. The solution's goal is to be simple, the company said, without ads or countdown timers. The company cautioned users to avoid uploading confidential information to the site because a malicious party could guess the link and view the information. The Skyhigh Networks report offered some shocking data on how many users upload sensitive data: For example, 34 percent of file sharers have uploaded sensitive information to a file-sharing site such as PII, PHI or payment card information.

1. Mega

Finally, topping the list for most data uploaded through a cloud services app is file uploading and sharing solution Mega. The service offers free cloud hosting as well as unlimited sharing and managing of large files. On its website, the company said it is "100 percent private and secure on our cloud servers," including 256-bit SSL encryption.