More and more, companies look to the cloud for increased scalability, business continuity and cost-efficiency. In fact, it’s estimated that in 2021, 94% of the Internet workload will be processed in the cloud.
Moving to the cloud is driven by many goals, including security and data protection, and modernization, but cloud technology doesn’t come without concerns.
In a recent survey:
- Nearly 4 of every 5 companies experienced at least one cloud data breach between December 2018 and May 2020
- More than 2 out of 5 said they had experienced 10 or more cloud security breaches in that time
- More than 7 out of every 10 companies cited security configuration management as a top cloud security priority
Enterprises moving to the cloud from legacy data centers face many security challenges in making that transition, most notably the following:
1. Lack of Architectural and Organizational Alignment
Be prepared for a move to the cloud to impact nearly every part of your organization. Security controls, governance models, and org charts must adapt to new ways of working as enterprises move systems to the cloud. Applications suddenly operate as rapidly changing distributed systems, having little in common with the stateful nature of most legacy applications. Security teams must collaborate across organizational and functional boundaries, standing the insular nature of most security organizations on its head. These cultural and technical asymmetries undermine security posture and incident response efforts.
2. Lack of Cloud Experience
Security teams experienced in managing an internal data center usually lack the skills necessary to ensure the security around cloud systems. Cloud security assessments are very different from traditional data center assessments, for example. Organizations must also work out the specific responsibilities between the cloud provider and the organization, and inexperience often leads to fundamental misconfiguration problems that can create serious security issues. If security teams apply traditional security controls and techniques to the cloud, avoidable failures are inevitable.
3. Speed of Change
One of the primary business benefits of cloud services is the ease with which new features (including security settings) can roll out. But that benefit can put the security team behind the curve if it doesn’t have enough people to keep up with rapidly changing systems. Understanding how changing feature sets, configuration settings, and security controls affect security posture is essential.
4. Higher and New Levels of Complexity
Cloud vendors typically provide deep logging capabilities. But security teams face significant challenges getting up to speed on those logs and understanding how to monitor them in near real-time. The need to define the right queries and metrics based on the organization’s specific business lines, threat models and risk profiles is even more challenging. Integrating these functions with legacy infrastructure and an existing SOC are obstacles to a successful transition to the cloud, compromising readiness, and response.
Is Your Enterprise Prepared for Cloud Security Incidents?
If you can recognize or relate to any of these four challenges, it’s time to take action before your enterprise experiences a disabling or dangerous breach.
The transition to the cloud challenges traditional information security models in fundamental ways, compromising both readiness and response. Speedy investigation, response (including situational awareness), and recovery are crucial for returning to business as usual, particularly during incidents that require rapid response.