The 2023 Thales Cloud Security Study: insights and risks

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The 2023 Thales Cloud Security Study: insights and risks

The rapid adoption of cloud technology has revolutionized the business landscape, offering organizations flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiency. However, as businesses increasingly rely on cloud environments, they face a growing cyberattack threat. According to the recently released 2023 Thales Cloud Security Study, nearly 39% of businesses experienced a data breach in their cloud environment last year, marking a significant increase from the previous year's figure of 35%. This article examines the study's key findings, highlighting the rising risks, the importance of encryption, and the complexities businesses face in managing cloud security.

The Thales study surveyed approximately 3,000 IT and security professionals across 18 countries, revealing a concerning trend in cloud security. The findings showed that the number of businesses reporting data breaches in their cloud environment increased by 4 percentage points, reaching 39% in the past year. The study also identified human error as the leading cause of cloud data breaches, reported by over half (55%) of the participants.

As sensitive data increasingly move to the cloud, businesses face the challenge of ensuring its security. The study found that 75% of organizations stated that more than 40% of their stored data in the cloud is classified as sensitive, a significant increase of 26% from the previous year. However, despite this surge in sensitive data, only 45% of cloud data is currently encrypted on average. Furthermore, a mere 22% of IT professionals reported that over 60% of their sensitive cloud data is encrypted.

The Thales study highlights the need for more control over encryption keys among businesses. Merely 14% of respondents claimed to have control over all their encrypted data in the cloud, while 62% reported utilizing five or more key management systems, leading to increased complexity in securing sensitive data.

The adoption of multi-cloud environments compounds the challenges faced by organizations. The study revealed that 79% of businesses have more than one cloud provider. Moreover, the use of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications has significantly increased, with 22% of respondents reporting utilization of 51-100 different SaaS applications compared to 16% in the previous year. Managing data in the cloud was deemed more complex than in on-premises environments by 55% of participants.

To mitigate data breaches and enhance cybersecurity resilience, the study emphasizes the importance of identity and access management (IAM). Encouragingly, the adoption of robust multi-factor authentication (MFA) has increased to 65%. However, the study reveals that only 41% of organizations have implemented zero trust controls in their cloud infrastructure, and an even smaller percentage (38%) utilize such controls within their cloud networks.

As businesses increasingly embrace cloud technology, the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks grows significantly. The Thales Cloud Security Study underscores the need for organizations to prioritize data encryption, establish strong access controls, and implement comprehensive security measures. By maintaining exclusive control and security over sensitive data in the cloud, businesses can leverage the benefits of cloud computing while safeguarding their valuable information and ensuring data integrity and confidentiality in a dynamic multi-cloud landscape.

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