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The Power of “If:” 7 Cloud App Policies That Will Meaningfully Reduce Your Risk

Feb 04 2015
Box Security
Cloud App Security
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Dropbox Security
Google Drive Encryption
Healthcare Data Breach
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OneDrive Security

I just returned from a short trip to see a number of our east coast customers. One of the first things I ask when we sit down together is “Would you mind if we took a look at your Netskope tenant together?” (This is the best way to learn how they’re using the product, the value they’re getting, and where they’re missing out.)

Here are seven useful policies that our customers have set that have had a meaningful impact on cloud risk. Most are applicable across a broad swath of industries. The one thing these policies have in common? They each have an “if.” Here’s what I mean:

  1. Posting in social media
    A large money management firm wants to protect against fund managers touting their stocks on Twitter, as well as prevent any user from posting about the firm. Did they block access to social media? No! They want users to be able to research companies and industries, and social media is a powerful and efficient medium to do so. Since the real risk is posting, the company allows social media but blocks the “post” activity.
  2. Downloading from vulnerable apps
    Some cloud apps may take a while to remediate vulnerabilities but may be too valuable to the company to block entirely. Rather than block the app, one company blocks the “download” activity if the app is vulnerable and the file being downloaded is an executable.
  3. Sharing outside of the company
    A private equity firm is concerned about proprietary data being shared outside of the firm. The organization has hundreds of apps that enable sharing, such as cloud storage/enterprise file sync and share. Despite the risk, these apps are indispensible for users to get their jobs done. Rather than block the apps, the firm blocks the “share” activity if the recipient is outside of the corporate domain.
  4. Editing in finance apps
    One company has brought on a handful of finance and accounting apps as part of its cloud strategy but is concerned about Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. The company needs to monitor and limit privileges in those apps that are either a financial system of record or integrate with a system of record. In addition to monitoring all user and administrator activity in those apps, the company prevents “edit” and “delete” activities (those activities that modify results) in finance apps for all but a few authorized users.
  5. Uploading PHI
    A healthcare organization has deployed a few cloud apps for users across the organization to help them be more efficient and collaborative. However, to comply with HIPAA, the company needs to keep personal health information on-premises. Rather than block the cloud apps, or even block the “upload” activity, the company blocks the “upload” activity if the content matches its PHI content profile. Further more, it coaches users on why the upload was blocked, and will allow the content to be re-uploaded if the PHI is removed.
  6. Uploading to unsanctioned apps
    An insurance company has invested in and sanctioned a cloud storage app for use across the company. However, users continue to upload content to unsanctioned apps, some of which lack important enterprise security, auditability, and business continuity features. The company knows that people need to be able to use those apps to interface with partners or conduct some personal activities while at work. Rather thank block the unsanctioned apps, they block the “upload” activity for certain business content across the category, except for the sanctioned app.
  7. Preventing public access to “confidential” data
    Many organizations use Netskope Introspection to e-discover content that is “at rest” inside their sanctioned app such as Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, or Salesforce. They discover and classify sensitive content such as PHI, PCI, or even “confidential.” Of all discovered sensitive content, one-fourth of files are shared with one or more people outside of the company. Organizations can take non-mutually exclusive actions such as download, quarantine, or encrypt the sensitive content. One organization decided to keep one type of “confidential” content in the app and continue to let internal users have access to it, but revoke access to that particular content from users outside of the company.

There you have it. Seven policies that companies are using to reduce risk while still enabling people to safely use cloud apps. All because of the power of “if.”

What “if” policies are making a difference for your organization? Tell us here or on #cloudpolicy.

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