Data proliferation creates risks for organizations around the world as the use of personal applications in enterprises continues to increase

More than one in five users download, create, share or store data in unmanaged apps and personal instances

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — netscopethe leader in Security Service Edge (SSE) and Zero Trust, today released new search detailing the proliferation of cloud applications used in businesses around the world. The Netskope Cloud and Threat: Cloud Data Sprawl report found that the use of cloud applications within organizations continues to rise, having already increased by 35% since the start of 2022, with the average enterprise growing from 500 to 2 000 users downloading, creating, sharing or storing data in 138 different applications and using an average of 1,558 distinct cloud applications each month.

The report found that more than one in five users (22%) download, create, share or store data in personal apps and personal instances, with Gmail, WhatsApp, Google Drive, Facebook, WeTransfer and LinkedIn ranking among the most popular personal apps. and instances.

A personal app, such as WhatsApp, is an app that only sees personal usage of personal accounts. A personal instance is a personal account of an application that is also managed by the organization. For example, the personal Gmail account of someone in an organization that uses Google Workspaces is a personal instance.

Additionally, highlighting a continuing insider risk trend, the report found that 1 in 5 users (20%) uploaded an unusually high amount of data to these personal locations in the 30 days prior to leaving an organization, which represents a 33% increase over the same period last year.

“Cloud applications have helped increase productivity and enable hybrid working, but they have also caused ever-increasing data proliferation that puts sensitive data at risk,” said Ray Canzanese, Director of Threat Research, Netskope Threat Labs. “Personal applications and instances are of particular concern, as users retain access to data stored in these instances even long after leaving an organization. Proactive security measures – especially policy controls that limit access to data sensitive to only authorized users and devices and prevent sensitive data from being uploaded to personal applications and personal instances – can help reduce the risk of loss or exposure of sensitive data.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Use of personal apps is lowest in financial services, highest in retail: The financial services industry is the most successful in limiting the flow of data to personal apps and instances, with less than one in 10 users (9.6%) doing so, while nearly 4 in 10 users (39.1%) of the retail industry upload data to personal apps and instances.
  • More users than ever are downloading, creating, sharing or storing data in cloud applications: The percentage of users with data activity in cloud apps increased from 65% to 79% in the first five months of 2022, with Cloud Storage, Collaboration and Webmail apps ranking among the top categories of cloud apps used within organizations.
  • Organizations use many applications with overlapping functionality: Of the 138 applications for which an organization of 500 to 2,000 users uploads, creates, shares or stores data, there are on average 4 Webmail applications, 7 Cloud Storage applications and 17 Collaboration applications. This overlap can lead to security issues, such as misconfigurations, policy drift, and inconsistent access policies.

“Organizations are usually surprised when they discover the number of overlapping applications. Obtaining this visibility is an important step in helping to curb the proliferation of the cloud and reduce the risks it poses to sensitive data. “Once you know how data is accessed, you can begin to enforce policies that reduce data risk without compromising productivity. Data security and productivity don’t have to be a compromise,” Canzanese concluded. .

Netskope Cloud and Threat Spotlight is produced by Netskope Threat Labs, a team comprised of the industry’s leading cloud threat and malware researchers who discover and analyze the latest cloud threats affecting businesses. Results are based on anonymized usage data between From January 1 to May 31, 2022 and about a subset of Netskope customers with prior permission.

Get the full Netskope report on Cloud and Threats: Data Proliferation in the Cloud here.

Learn more about Netskope threat researchers and the insights the Netskope Security Cloud Platform offers on the evolving cloud threat landscape by visiting Netskope Threat Research Center.

About Netskope

Netskope, a global cybersecurity leader, is redefining cloud, data, and network security to help organizations apply Zero Trust principles to protect data. The Netskope Intelligent Security Service Edge (SSE) platform is fast, easy to use, and secures people, devices, and data wherever they go. Netskope helps customers reduce risk, accelerate performance, and gain unparalleled visibility into all cloud, web, and private app activity. Thousands of customers, including more than 25 of the Fortune 100, trust Netskope and its powerful NewEdge network to meet evolving threats, new risks, technological changes, organizational and network changes, and new requirements. regulations. Find out how Netskope helps customers be ready for anything in their SASE journey, visit

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