Study Examines Government Cloud Adoption and Shadow IT

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Compromised Identities

Over the last two years, data breaches have become a fact of life. On an almost daily basis, news hits about another big breach that has potentially compromised data ranging from passwords to Social Security numbers to medical information.

According to a study by Joseph Bonneau at the University of Cambridge, 31 percent of passwords are reused in multiple places. The implication here is that, for 31 percent of compromised identities, an attacker could not only gain access to all the data in that cloud service, but potentially all the data in the other cloud ser­vices in use by that person as well.

Considering the average public sector employee uses more than 16 cloud services, and 37 percent of users upload sensitive data to cloud file-sharing services, the impact of one compromised account can be immense.

Skyhigh found that 96.2 percent of public sector organizations have users with compromised identities. At the average organization, 6.4 percent of users have at least one account that has been compromised. At the time of their analysis, they found that some accounts had been updated with new passwords, while many others remained active with compromised identities.

Federal, state and local governments are migrating to cloud services to take advantage of greater collaboration, agility and innovation at lower cost. However, despite clear benefits, 89 percent of IT professionals in government feel apprehension about migrating to the cloud.1 That being said, many public sector employees are less apprehensive and are adopting cloud services on their own, creating shadow IT. Under FITARA, U.S. federal CIOs have new obligations to not only oversee sanctioned cloud services procured by the agency, but also shadow IT, which has brought to light a great deal of uncertainty about how employees are using cloud services in government agencies.

To better understand these trends, Skyhigh Networks has published a "Cloud Adoption & Risk in Government Report." Findings were based on anonymized usage data for over 200,000 users in the public sector in the United States and Canada, rather than relying on surveys, which ask people to self-report their behavior.

1 Meritalk “The Fabric of Your Data: How to Manage Data in a Multi-Cloud, Multi-Vendor Environment”


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