Cyber attacks on enterprise cloud services have soared by a whopping 630 per cent during the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new study from McAfee found that the use of such cloud services grew by 50 per cent across all industries during the given period, but faced a huge increase in threats.

However popular collaboration tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype were also hit by large numbers of attacks as millions of workers adapt to a new way of working.

The study, titled ‘Cloud Adoption and Risk Report: Work from Home Edition’, is based on aggregated and anonymised usage data from more than 30 million McAfee MVISION Cloud users across the world from January to April 2020. 

Data collected during this time frame shows several significant emerging trends pertaining to enterprise cloud services, such as increased adoption across industries, cloud-native threats and access from unmanaged devices.

 Cloud security 

Many attacks targeted online collaboration tools, including large-scale attempts to access cloud accounts using stolen credentials. 

Usage of collaboration platforms such as Cisco WebEx, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom has jumped by up to 600 percent in recent months, with McAfee estimating that external attacks on cloud accounts multiplied sevenfold, and anomalous login attempts also tripled from January 2020.

“The move to widespread remote working has required many industries to adopt new cloud services …it is important to recognise the increased threat from cyber criminals who see opportunity in cloud services that are not managed securely.” said Nigel Hawthorn, data privacy expert for cloud security at McAfee. 

The study emphasises the pressing importance of cloud-centric cybersecurity solutions for enterprises. Regardless of industry, businesses need to acknowledge cloud-native threats and take steps to mitigate the risks. They must think cloud-first, both in terms of the associated security approach as well as functioning, so that their operational and cybersecurity requirements are both addressed.

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