Most cloud applications in use are not sanctioned

On average 86 percent of cloud applications used within enterprises are unsanctioned ‘shadow IT' according to a new report, the “Cloud Adoption & Risk Report in North America & Europe – 2014 Trends” from CipherCloud.

A typical North America enterprise was found to use more than 1,245 cloud applications while those in Europe used 981 applications on average, giving a global average of 1,100 cloud applications.  The figures show that enterprises vastly underestimate the extent of shadow IT cloud applications with claims that 10 percent to 50 cent of cloud apps are not visible to IT – about half or less of  the true picture. For example, a major US enterprise estimated 10 to 15 file sharing applications were in use, but discovered the true figure was almost 70.

Publishing was identified as particularly high risk at 52 percent of applications not sanctioned, with 42 percent in Social and 40 percent in Career clouds rated as high risk.

The average European organisation uses 80 percent as many cloud applications in 2014 as are used in the US, distributed across similar application categories, thus the lag in cloud adoption is not as great as had previously been suggested. Of these only nine percent of the clouds used by European enterprises were either based in Europe or in European-approved data transfer regions; 21 percent were US clouds and Safe Harbour approved. The rest, 70 percent, were US clouds without Safe Harbour certification. 

Pravin Kothari, founder and CEO, CipherCloud commented in a press statement: “This study underscores the stealthy build-up of shadow IT, an equally worrisome threat for enterprises on both sides of the Atlantic. Rampant cloud adoption has given shadow IT a far bigger footprint than previously recognised. This introduces a multi-pronged problem for companies. It is hard, if not impossible, to protect against something you cannot see. And worse, each unsanctioned application is a vehicle for introducing a host of other risks into the enterprise. Companies must address this problem in order to fully unleash the power of the cloud.”