Working from Home in 2020: How Cloud Use Changed

By on May 26, 2020

2020 has been a tumultuous year, with health and economic stability shattered for most of the world in just months. For those in a fortunate position to do so, working from home has become the new norm, and will likely be for the foreseeable future. Major companies in the tech sector have cemented the practice, with Google for example announcing that its global workforce can remain home until the end of the year. Twitter was the first to announce that employees can work from home forever, if that is their preference.

It is a sign of our times and technological development that this is possible. The pace of development for cloud services met this moment near-perfectly. Over the past few years, we’ve reached a critical mass of businesses and employees who are ramped up and comfortable using collaboration services like Zoom, Webex, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. Storage apps like Box and collaboration suites like Microsoft (Office) 365 have largely replaced the software, thumb drives, and network storage we used to manage files.

All of these services made our shift to working from home possible, and seamless for many. Companies that hadn’t ramped up yet on cloud-based collaboration and productivity apps are now on their way.

As a global provider of cloud security technology, we have a unique view into the use of cloud services and threats companies face in the cloud.  Using anonymized and aggregated metadata, we can derive trends across our vase base of 30 million enterprise cloud users.  The shift to working from home was a catalyst for us to dive into this data and uncover trends in how the world changed.

All of these findings are in our new report, the Cloud Adoption and Risk Report: Work from Home Edition. Grab the full copy below if you want to skip the preview here and go straight to the full set of findings.

Cloud Adoption and Risk Report: Work From Home Edition

McAfee uncovered a new reality that security professionals must understand to protect their remote workforce.

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First, use of all cloud services from every industry grew 50% overall from the start of 2020. However, some industries had to undergo more changes than others to enable working from home:

Manufacturing and education increased their cloud use by 144% and 114% respectively. Every parent of school-aged children has felt the shift in education practices over the past few months, with much of the burden falling to them to set up virtual classrooms or even teach their kids themselves. Manufacturing may be playing catch up – with less in-person meetings requiring immediate replacement by cloud-based tools.

Of all categories, collaboration services saw the largest increase in usage, up several hundred percent across the board. We all watched as the world restructured their social lives around Zoom, while enterprises increased their use of Webex even further, and ramped up on Slack and Teams to keep collaboration alive from a distance.

This increase in cloud use, particularly collaboration directly correlates to more data being stored in the cloud. We monitored not only these increases in service use, but also a new wave of threats targeting the wave of data entering the cloud.

We’ll dive into our threat research in part 2 of this series. To see our threat analysis before that blog is released, download the full report now.


About the Author

Daniel Flaherty

Daniel Flaherty is a member of the product team for McAfee MVISION Cloud, our Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solution, focused on developing educational and product-related content. He has been with McAfee since 2010.

Read more posts from Daniel Flaherty

Categories: Cloud Security

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