The cloud is naturally disruptive, driving significant change in the way companies leverage, process and utilize data. Emerging cloud security needs have also disrupted the ways in which IT teams track and respond to potential breaches.

While cloud-based tools can help improve response times and offer increased visibility, Help Net Security noted that the rise of cloud collaboration tools such as Slack and HipChat are putting pressure on data loss prevention (DLP) policies. In fact, 10 percent of all policy problems now stem from these tools. How can enterprises account for the potential danger of collaboration violations?

Slacking Off?

According to Beta News, a new study from cloud security firm Netskope put collaboration tools into its own data loss prevention (DLP) violation category instead of lumping them in with other common types. As a result, cloud collaboration software accounts for 9.8 percent of all violations. Webmail leads the pack with 43.3 percent of violations, followed by cloud storage at just over 30 percent.

But Sanjay Beri, CEO of Netskope, noted that “collaboration services are quickly displacing more traditional ways of communication and collaboration like email, and that means that more data is being shared inside those services.”

Looking at the activity breakdown of DLP violations backs up this assertion: 65 percent stem from data uploads, while 17.5 percent are attributed to sent data. As users become more comfortable with cloud collaboration tools, they’re inclined to upload and send more information, some of which lies outside the acceptable scope of DLP policies.

The Bigger Cloud Security Picture

DLP policies are critical aspects of effective cloud security. Employees need clear direction about how data can be used, shared and modified on corporate networks. The rise of cloud collaboration tools demands a shift in these policies to account for changing employee use habits and to ensure that these tools aren’t written off as inherently secure just because they’re part of internal corporate networks.

But that’s just scratching the surface. Consider the rollout of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has a full compliance deadline less than a year away. According to eSecurity Planet, 90 percent of companies surveyed said they “anticipate challenges in complying with GDPR.” Specifically, 55 percent expect problems with Article 30, which compels companies to identify personal information on their systems, understand who has access to it and who is accessing it, and know when this data should be deleted.

Half of those surveyed, meanwhile, indicated that Article 32 presents a problem. It demands least privileged access, accountability via data owners, and regular reports that demonstrate the existence and success rate of data management policies.

Collaboration tools now play an essential role in cloud security. As cloud collaboration tools become the de facto preference for users to upload, share and modify data, enterprises must design policies to address these tools specifically and lay out clear expectations for data use. Strong DLP polices with collaboration-specific wording are now a priority for businesses, both to ensure local security and to meet evolving data protection expectations.

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