Inadequate cloud security practices are leaving organisations in the UAE and KSA susceptible to data breaches, according to new research from Illumio.

The Illumio Cloud Security Index found that 54% of breaches in the UAE and KSA now originate in the cloud, costing organisations $2.3 million annually.

This is particularly concerning given that over three quarters (76%) of respondents are running high-value applications in the cloud.

Sensitive data in the cloud

Some 100% of respondents admit to storing sensitive data in the cloud. 98% say a cloud breach would impact their operations, with nearly half (46%) admitting a cloud breach would make maintaining normal operations impossible.

About 70% of respondents believe that cloud security in their own company is inadequate and represents a major risk (higher than the global average (63%).

Fears about inadequate security practices are likely down to an inability to see and respond to risks in the cloud; 97% say they need better visibility of connectivity with third-party software. This lack of visibility is impacting organisations' ability to respond to attacks, with 97% saying they need to improve their reaction time to cloud breaches. 98% are also concerned that the connectivity between their cloud services and on-prem environments increases the likelihood of a breach.

Service downtime

Respondents are also concerned about the consequences of attacks via the cloud. Service downtime is deemed to be the biggest risk in the UAE (38%, a lot higher than the global average of 29%), demonstrating the criticality of the cloud for business. This was followed by a loss of productivity (35%), and lawsuits (33%, a lot higher than the global average of 21%). It is, therefore, no surprise that improving cloud security is a high priority for 89% of respondents in the coming year.

Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS) is believed to be the solution with 89% believing it has the potential to significantly improve their own cloud security, yet only 33% use ZTS across both on-prem and in cloud environments, a lot lower than the global average (48%).

“We’re seeing rapid adoption of the cloud in the UAE and KSA, but as cloud adoption increases, so do the risks,” said Ashraf Daqqa, Regional Director for META at Illumio.

“As the attack surface becomes larger and more complex, it’s critical that organisations have real-time visibility over their applications and workloads, as well as the ability to rapidly contain threats in the cloud. By introducing ZTS as a part of a proactive Zero Trust security strategy, organisations can significantly improve their cyber resilience and reduce the cost and impact of cloud breaches.”--TradeArabia News Service

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