Measuring the Cloud Security Landscape

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Feb 9, 2016 2:35:39 PM

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Measuring the Cloud Security Landscape

When the cloud first became a popular option for IT infrastructure, platforms and software, many leaders in the public and private sectors were worried about the potential security implications of the technology as it related to data. Then, the solutions began to spread more quickly, and the new concerns were shared by consumers, advocacy groups and cybersecurity professionals, as fears regarding the lack of intelligent protections and diligent policies hit a peak.

Today, matters are smoothing out considerably, with businesses finally beginning to take IT security more seriously and working with a much better, more well-rounded understanding of the risks involved and what it takes to mitigate them. One of the clearest signs regarding the newfound commitment to cybersecurity is the steep rise in spending on protective solutions, which acts as factual evidence to support the idea that decision-makers are no longer allowing these matters to fall by the wayside.

TechNavio's latest research on the cloud security software market called for a compound annual growth rate of 48.46 percent in spending between 2014 and 2019, which is a massive increase to say the least. As the researchers pointed out, this market is already relatively complex and diverse, with service providers offering all different forms of protection including identity and access management, encryption, app security and much more.

A significant portion of the battle against cyberthreats is based on understanding what the company is facing. Small-business owners who want a rundown of the more prominent risks involved should check out this quick video from Microsoft Mechanics:

Perhaps the most interesting chain of events in the cloud computing arena at large has been the swift and widespread shift of mentalities toward the technology with respect to security, as companies are more than comfortable with the services today. In fact, many are beginning to use cloud solutions to improve their security performances, as studies have shown that the general attributes of the technology can indeed enhance protection against a range of threats compared to traditional IT frameworks. 

Trust is a major asset
IT Business Edge recently posted a Protegrity slide show that demonstrated organizations of all kinds are becoming far more confident in cloud security with the passing of each year, and that evidence of that is ubiquitous when looking at IT management behaviors. For example, the source pointed out that data is flooding into these environments, and that the types of information migrating into the cloud are increasingly sensitive thanks to the stronger protections now being offered by vendors. 

In that same vein, it is impossible to have this discussion without noting the rise of public cloud services spending and adoption, which was not truly expected to occur a few years back when leaders still viewed these models as inherently less secure than private options. Analysts have noted that this paradigm has been effectively flipped on its head thanks to the efforts of some of the largest public cloud service vendors in the world, which have invested immense amounts of time and budget in protecting their solutions. 

The best practices of cloud security are changing rapidly.The best practices of cloud security are changing rapidly.

In fact, it is unlikely that any small business would be able to match those investments and better protect its own private cloud at this particular juncture, which is another reason why managed services are growing so quickly. According to the IT Business Edge slides, data breaches are still rising, but rather than steering leaders away from the prospect of adopting cloud computing and migrating information into these environments, this fact is simply shifting the approach to protection. 

Now, the news provider stated that firms are increasingly likely to focus on data-centric security. This is not necessarily the best road to travel, but it does mark at least some progress with respect to best practice adherence among users. A better strategy would be to comprehensively manage cloud and IT security through the protection of networks, devices, infrastructure, platforms, software and data, rather than only one piece of the equation. 

More is still to come in the cloud security storyline. The source stated that more advanced security models are finally beginning to break through, including tokenization, and that service level agreements are placing the onus on the provider rather than the user, which is a good step in the right direction: toward trust. 

"Security will only be reliable when leaders are involved."

Leadership is critical
Dave Shackleford recently published a blog post for TechTarget to explain some of the reasons why leadership involvement is so important in the cloud security landscape. First, he pointed out that one SANS Institute study revealed that more than 80 percent of IT staff members are now in the process of crafting hybrid cloud computing environments, and that 60 percent are doing so to smooth out their companies' operational processes. 

Then, Shackleford pointed out that this is a positive trend, but that security will only be reliable when business leaders are actively engaged in the formation of policies and communication of the components therein to all employees. He affirmed that this is one of the more critical steps toward proper and proactive risk mitigation for cloud computing assets, as shadow IT is often the direct result of failure in these particular efforts. 

Small-business owners will be in a different position than executives at larger enterprises, as these individuals will tend to have far fewer resources and much smaller IT departments than their bigger counterparts. In the past, this would have made it far more difficult for entrepreneurs to introduce cloud services and other novel technologies, but managed services have helped to level the playing field in more ways than one. 

When small businesses do not have the experience and expertise necessary to properly handle the policy creation aspects of cloud security programs, the use of managed services can boost their performances almost immediately. Support and services from reliable managed solutions providers can make all of the difference in not only the protection of information and IT assets, but also the functionality and performance of cloud services across departments. 

Topics: Cloud Trends