Security Still Hindering Office 365 Adoption

2 min read MSPs
Businesses in EMEA are increasingly turning to the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite, yet with all the recent cyber attacks, security concerns remain one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption. This was one of the findings from a global study of more than 1,100 organisations conducted by Barracuda Networks.

The 2017 study, titled “Office 365 Adoption: Drivers, Risks, and Opportunities” aimed to measure trends around the adoption and use of Microsoft Office 365, including contributing factors for decisions about migration versus remaining with an existing platform. Additional information was gathered about customers’ use of third-party security and data protection solutions with Office 365, and their engagement with VARs and MSPs.

Commenting on the findings Chris Ross, Senior Sales VP, International, at Barracuda Networks said: “As year-on-year adoption of Office 365 continues to increase in EMEA it’s natural to assume that concerns over cyber threats will keep pace. What’s encouraging to see is that businesses are waking up to the importance of a layered approach, which suggests a better understanding of their liabilities when it comes to cloud adoption.”

“One area in which this trend still has some way to go to reach the levels seen in the US is when it comes to third-party solutions to add an extra layer of security against spear phishing, impersonation or social engineering attacks,” he added. “Just 14 percent of EMEA organisations had something in place, compared to 36 percent in the US. We’d expect this to change over the next year, and urge businesses in EMEA to be on alert. We’re seeing criminals change their tactics – moving from the C-suite to lower and mid-level employees, and from large organisations to smaller ones with fewer resources.”

Key findings in EMEA:

● Almost two thirds (62%) of businesses in EMEA are now using Office 365, an increase of 50 per cent from a similar Barracuda study from 2016.

● Of those not currently using Office 365, just under 40% claim that they plan to migrate in the future – this is less than in the US, where nearly 49% said they were planning to do so.

● The biggest security concern for over 90 per cent of EMEA businesses was ransomware. Nearly half (48%) admitted to having already been hit by an infection, although only 3% of organisations resorted to paying the ransom.

● Of those, email was by far the most popular attack vector for cybercriminals, with almost three quarters (70%) of ransomware attacks entering via email. Web traffic (18%) and network traffic (12%) accounted for a relatively small number of infections.

● The most common reason given for not migrating to Office 365 has changed since last year’s study, with businesses in EMEA joining those in the US in citing security concerns as the top reason (32%). Unlike the US, where this was largest by a distance, EMEA businesses still cite a “no cloud” policy as a significant reason they have not migrated (28%).

● Despite these concerns, over 85 per cent of EMEA respondents claimed not to be using Microsoft’s Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – instead relying on third party security to enhance protection of their Office 365 environments. More than two fifths (43%) are using third party security, archiving or backup solutions, with that number even higher (68%) among those planning to migrate.

● Alongside this, some 41 per cent expressed concern about phishing, spear phishing, impersonation or social engineering attacks. However, just 14 per cent of EMEA organisations claimed to have a third party solution in place to reinforce protection against these threats.