Employees who depart their jobs are among the range of increasing cloud app security risk, according to new research by Netskope Threat Labs.
At the start of the pandemic, 30% of employees were working remotely and as soon as the pandemic took hold, it jumped to 70%. The number of employees working remotely has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Netskope.
As restrictions change, employees are faced with decisions on whether to stay home, return to the office or change jobs. The pandemic has changed the way people they value their time, which has contributed to why many employees are quitting, also what some are calling, “The Great Resignation.”
In the last 30 days of employment, workers upload three times more data than usual to personal cloud apps, such as Google Drive and One Drive. The most popular personal app destinations are Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, followed by other shadow IT apps, Google Gmail and Box.
Those exiting users, about 15% of them either upload files that were copied directly from the managed app or that violate corporate data policy. Files that often violate corporate data policy include personal and protected healthcare information, intellectual property, or source code.
“Regardless of whether the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ is real or perceived, it’s a fact that employees leaving an organization pose an increasingly bigger insider security threat to organizations when they take company data with them,” said Ray Canzanese, Threat Research Director at Netskope, in a statement. “That and other trends revealed in the research show that enterprises must rethink security based on the reality of cloud application use. They should favor a security architecture that provides context for apps, cloud services, and web user activity, and that applies zero trust controls to protect data wherever and however it’s accessed.”
Third-Party Apps Plugins Pose Cloud App Security Risk
The report also warns that third-party app plugins expose sensitive data to third parties.
At least 97% of Google Workspace users have authorized at least one third-party app access to their Google account potentially exposing data to third parties due to scopes like “View and manage the files in your Google Drive.”
The top five most popular Google plugins are Google Chrome, iOS Account Manager, Zoom, Android Device, and slack.
Attackers can build malicious app plugins to gain access to the victims’ environments, known as illicit consent grant.
What You Can Do To Prevent Data Risk
Some ways IT managers can prevent cloud-based data risk is to implement strong authentication and identity access controls (e.g. MFA).
Granular policies can be put into place for the movement of data between to and from apps, between company and personal instances. IT managers could employ cloud data protection for sensitive from internal and external threats across the web, email, and public cloud services.