How pervasive is the use of cloud services? What are the most widely used file sharing services? Which widely used cloud services present the greatest risk to my organization? Is the adoption of unapproved cloud services (Shadow IT) rampant among companies like mine or is it primarily a Silicon Valley phenomenon?

These are a sample of questions we hear every day from companies of all sizes and across all industries and the raison d’être of the 2013 Cloud Adoption & Risk Report.

Questions that Need Answers

The 2013 Cloud Adoption & Risk Report answers these questions and many more based on cloud service usage data analyzed from more than 3 million users. To be clear, these are not survey response or self-reported numbers provided by cloud service providers looking to inflate their adoption stats. This is real data that provides insight on real users. The report is also the first to analyze not only the actual use of 2,204 cloud services, but also the security risks to the organization from the use of these cloud services.

Sample Findings

  1. Cloud is the New Wild Wild West. Usage data shows broad and rampant use of cloud services. 2,204 cloud services are in use by more than 3 million users. Most surprising, perhaps, is the average number of cloud services in use by an organization – 545.
  2. We are making decisions based on what’s known, not based on what’s risky. Low-risk services are blocked 40% more than high-risk services. To give you a specific example, Box (a low-risk file sharing service) was blocked 35% of the time whereas RapidGator (a high-risk file sharing service) was blocked only 1% of the time.
  3. Cloud-based code repositories become mainstream. Microsoft Developer Network is #1, but open source is not far behind with GitHub and SourceForge taking #2 and #3 respectively. The shift to open source code repositories presents security challenges as some sites are known to host malicious backdoors.
  4. Too early to count Microsoft out. The software giant dominates in the collaboration category with Office 365, Skype, and Yammer all among the top 10 collaboration services used. SkyDrive is the 3rd most widely used file sharing service.
  5. File Sharing is a free-for-all. 19 file sharing cloud services are used by an organization on average, which impedes collaboration and increases security and compliance risks. Among the top 10 most widely used file sharing services, 4 are high-risk.