Companies now have 1,555 partners in the cloud

Security does not end at the corporate perimeter. After vendors served as entry points in recent high-profile breaches, security vulnerabilities associated with partners have received increased attention.

Cloud services are rapidly becoming the primary connectors between businesses, with the average company connecting with 1,555 partners. Skyhigh Networks measured partner risk based on several security attributes and found that 8% of all partners are high-risk and that 30% of total data shared with partners is shared with high-risk partners.

8% of partners are high-risk but receive 30% of data

A number of attributes can classify a partner as high-risk, including being affected by malware of botnets, having compromised identities for sale on the Darknet, suffering from a breach, or being exposed to vulnerabilities such as POODLE. High-risk partners receive 30% of all data shared with partners – a disproportionately large amount.

58 “super partners” are connected to over 50% of enterprises

Many partners are well connected among the largest organizations, meaning a vulnerability within a single partner could have far-reaching consequences. The risk of these super partners is higher than the overall rate, with 12.5% considered high-risk. Top super partners include pest control, IT services, software, equipment manufacturing, hospitality, and consulting companies.

One partner has over 9,000 compromised identities and 200 devices with malware

The report gives the risk attributes for several example partners. One airline had 9,716 credentials for sale on the Darknet and 209 devices infected with malware. A financial services technology provider had 1,216 compromised identities across 19 Darknet sites. An advertising agency had 1,565 compromised identities for sale across 29 Darknet sites. All three partners are still vulnerable to POODLE.

Enablers of the cloud economy

Certain cloud services stand out as hyper-connectors, enabling the highest number of partner connections. The top cloud connectors in the customer support category are Zendesk, Salesforce, and GrooveHQ. For file sharing, Sharefile, Box, and Wiredrive are the top connectors. In the collaboration category, the top connectors are Cisco WebEx, Slack, and Office 365.

Highest risk partner categories

Not all partner categories are equal when it comes to risk. Telecommunications companies had the highest percentage of high-risk businesses, at 30% – double the rate of the tenth highest-risk category, Travel. Security teams should pay special attention to interactions with partners falling into the categories on this list.

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