Office 365 users are popular ransomware targets

Google Docs, iWork, Office 365, ... The number of organizations that has made the switch from local mail servers to a cloud-based collaboration offering, is growing at an increasing pace.

steven-heydeGoogle Docs, iWork, Office 365, … The number of organizations that has made the switch from local mail servers to a cloud-based collaboration offering, is growing at an increasing pace. By Steven Heyde, Regional Director Trend Micro Benelux,

The reasons for switching are clear: no investments upfront because you pay as you add users, no personnel required for imaging your infrastructure, easier access from anywhere, …  you can probably come up with some extra reasons as well.

Cloud collaboration technologies have therefore become commonplace, and the advantages seem to outweigh the dangers and risks involved with cloud computing. But sometimes it seems that the risks are very easily overlooked and/or underestimated. This leads to astonishing incidents such as this one, where a huge amount of Office 365 users got hit by a ransomware attack.

Security remains a risk, even if your assets are being managed and secured by leading vendors such as Microsoft or Google. This has become very apparent with this cyberattack. That may seem bad news for those IT managers who were hoping to get rid of the security worries by outsourcing their collaboration platform to a trusted third party. But you can also consider it as a warning and an eye-opener: in the end, you will always be responsible for whatever happens to your data and infrastructure.

The attack landscape will continue to evolve in a fast pace, and the providers of cloud solutions will try to keep up with this pace. But you must realize that ultimately cloud solutions will require a specific security approach that goes beyond the standard security measures provided by these vendors. Next to a layered approach, you will probably also need advanced cloud security tools such as Trend Micro Cloud App Security. If you get all that right, the path to the cloud becomes a lot safer and more reliable.

For more best practices and advice on moving to Office 365, I can recommend this white paper.