EU cybersecurity agency warns about over-reliance on cloud

ENISA sees an upside to cloud usage, too

The growth in cloud computing is a double-edged sword, Europe's top cybersecurity agency warned on Thursday.

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) published a new report on the cloud from the perspective of critical information infrastructure protection, just one week after the European Commission announced its plans for a new Network and Information Security Directive.

Under that proposed new law, ENISA would play a key role in helping the European Union's member states share information about security breaches.

ENISA clearly sees the cloud as the area of most concern, given the concentration of users and data and its use in critical sectors such as finance, health, energy and transportation.

"In a few years, a large majority of organizations will be dependent on cloud computing. Large cloud services will have tens of millions of end-users. What happens if one of these cloud services fails, or gets hacked?" asks the report.

It notes that cloud services are themselves becoming a critical information infrastructure.

ENISA executive director Udo Helmbrecht welcomed plans for mandatory breach reporting in the new directive, particularly for cloud services, and dismissed claims by businesses that this would put an undue burden on them. "Companies are always complaining," he said. But he sees breach reporting as essential in protecting critical cloud-computing services.

The report also calls for better transparency regarding logical and physical dependencies -- which critical operators or services depend on which cloud computing services -- and says that governments should include large cloud services in national risk assessments as well as tracking cloud dependencies.

However, the report did find one silver lining to the cloud growing over the IT industry: Cloud computing can provide "resilience in the face of natural disasters and Distributed Denial of Service attacks," it said.

The agency plans to launch a new working group focusing on CIIP and governmental cloud security in the coming months.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags European Network and Information Security Agencyregulationsecuritydata breachgovernmentcloud computinginternet

More about European Commission

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jennifer Baker

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts