The enterprise uses one set of cloud services tools, while employees prefer another. For the former, the cloud can be the key to mobilizing an entire organization; that is, if latter haven't already moved corporate data via their own solutions.
Employees are not thinking about the cloud at all, in the sense that, they don't care where the data is, as long as they can get to what they need.
Kamal Shah, Co-Founder of Skyhigh Networks, explained in an interview, "There are significant advantages to the cloud—business agility, employee productivity and faster time to value. Employees no longer need to wait for months to get the tools they need to get their jobs done. The challenge is that these services are being procured without the involvement of IT and, in many cases, these services can present significant risks as employees are not equipped to evaluate the risks of a cloud service."
Top 20 Enterprise
Skyhigh's Cloud Adoption & Risk (CAR) Report, takes a quarterly examination of the topic. The report is based, not on surveys, but actual usage data the company collects. Q2 2014 findings are based on anonymized data collected from over 10.5 million enterprise employees across all major verticals—education, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare, high-tech, media, oil and gas, manufacturing, retail and utilities.
From an enterprise standpoint the top 20 "enterprise cloud services" are: 1- Amazon Web Services, 2- Office 365, 3- Salesforce, 4- Cisco Webex, 5- Box, 6- Yammer, 7- ServiceNow, 8- SuccessFactors, 9- Adobe Ecosign, 10- Live Person, 11- Concur, 12- Workday, 13- MSDN, 14- SAS On Demand, 15- Github, 16- Zendesk, 17- Informatica Cloud, 18- Ariba, 19- Host Analytics, 20- Intralinks.
"The Top 20 Enterprise Cloud Services list offers insight into the cloud apps and services that business are standardizing on and provides a short-list of services that have reached mass-adoption across enterprises," the report states. The top 4 categories represented are collaboration, business intelligence development and marketing.
The data shows that 4 vendors have successfully transitioned their legacy on premise software to the cloud (Microsoft Office 365, SAS On Demand, Informatica Cloud, and Ariba – an SAP company). Three companies on the list have successfully accomplished multi-billion dollar disruptions (Salesforce, ServiceNow and SuccessFactors – an SAP company).
Top 20 Consumer
The top 20 consumer cloud services are quite different. Actually, they are totally different—dominated by content sharing, social media and collaboration. Collaboration is the top category in the enterprise, so while in some ways the company and the workers are after the same thing, they are still not on the same page.
Here are employee favorites: 1- Facebook, 2- Twitter, 3- Apple iCloud, 4- YouTube, 5- LinkedIn, 6- Dropbox, 7- Gmail, 8- Google Docs, 9- Pinterest, 10- Instagram, 11- Sina Weibo, 12- Tumblr, 13- Prezi, 14- Yahoo Mail, 15- Flickr, 16- Evernote, 17- Photobucket, 18- Myspace, 19- Shutterfly, 20- VK.
The amount of disparate services being used is clearly significant and adding to mobile management complexity. The report shows that this trend is slightly downward, but will simplification continue? Shah said yes. Many of these cloud services have mobile apps and, though access through these apps is increasing every day, the trend in average number of cloud services being used in an organization declined slightly for two reasons.
"For the first time, IT has visibility in the use and risk of cloud services and therefore they can now be proactive in educating users on the perils of high risk services. Plus, the visibility also helps IT understand which cloud services are in demand and they can now use this information to proactively standardize and consolidate services within a category," according to Shah.
For example, one high-tech company was using 27 different file sharing cloud services including Box, Dropbox, GDrive, Onedrive, Hightail, Share file, Egnyte, Zippy Share and Freakshare. This not only increased cost and risk for the organization, but had the opposite effect of the intention—the magnitude impeded collaboration.
Shah said, "By standardizing on one file sharing cloud service and making it available to all employees, IT not only reduced cost and risk, but also increased collaboration among its employees."
Speaking of Risk
There is risk alone in the fact that there is so little crossover between the top enterprise and consumer cloud services identified and that employees are bringing their own tools. But, on top of that, some of the consumer tools are considered much riskier services than enterprise options.
Shah pointed out that malware and hackers are increasingly using consumer services to exfiltrate data out of an organization. He cited one company where malware was embedding IP within a video and exfiltrating it by uploading it to YouTube.
The first step to lower risk for companies, is to gain an understanding of all the cloud services that employees are using today and their associated risks. "Armed with this information, companies can then design and implement policies to encourage employees to use low risk services," he suggested.
There risks associated with services will vary according to who is doing the assessment. Skyhigh evaluates over 50 attributes of a cloud service to determine risk rating. The attributes were developed in conjunction with the Cloud Security Alliance and capture all the critical security capabilities that are critical to protecting corporate data.
The rating is based on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is low risk and 10 is high risk. Low risk services are awarded a Skyhigh "Enterprise-Ready" designation.