The paradigm shift the cloud has brought to our operational landscape is undeniable. The cloud’s inherent convenience, flexibility, and scalability compel organizations to increasingly rely on it for running important applications and storing critical data. However, the flip side of this technological advancement is a lag in cloud security, resulting in a growing number of incidents each year. Without robust modern cloud security measures, organizations face the looming (and inevitable) threat of catastrophic cyberattacks.
Recent research from Vanson Bourne shows that while 100 percent of the organizations surveyed have widely adopted cloud-based services, their efforts to secure their cloud infrastructures continue to fall behind. Rapid cloud adoption has lead to a corresponding increase in cloud-based attacks, with nearly half of all breaches originating in the cloud over the past year.
Vanson Bourne pinpointed three common weaknesses attackers most commonly exploit:
- Increased complexity: There’s an intricate overlap of applications and workloads in both on-premise and cloud environments, leading to greater risk of exposure and potential cloud compromise.
- Service sprawl: Cloud providers offer an expansive array of services, such as IaaS, PaaS, and serverless computing, which perpetuate complexity and confusion in the cloud.
- Minimal visibility: There’s an inability to identify weak points and proactively ensure protection, leaving compromised systems to be reactively locked down.
The existing arsenal of cloud security tools falls short of providing the necessary visibility, confidence, efficiency, and resilience needed to defend organizations adequately against cloud-based attacks. This vulnerability renders cloud environments particularly susceptible to the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.
Decision-makers are increasingly cognizant of this security gap, with 63 percent acknowledging that their organization’s cloud security is ill-prepared for cyberattacks. Vanson Bourne’s findings reveal misalignments in key areas:
- Visibility: 95 percent require better visibility into connectivity from third-party software.
- Reaction times: 95 percent need swifter reaction times to cloud breaches.
- Workload efficiency: 95 percent seek to reduce workloads and enhance the efficiency of their security operations (SecOps) team.
- Connectivity concerns: Over 90 percent are concerned that connectivity between cloud services and on-premises environments increases the likelihood of a breach.
- Lack of visibility: 46 percent lack full visibility into their organization’s cloud services connectivity, elevating the risk of unauthorized connections.
These statistics underscore a significant gap between organizations’ commitment to the cloud and their approach to cloud security. As they transition from on-premises data centers to the cloud, the security strategies that effectively safeguard traditional, static environments prove inadequate.
What’s needed instead is a more dynamic, proactive approach to cloud security, coupled with innovative technologies designed to automatically account for and isolate breaches, such as Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS).
By isolating attackers and containing the spread of ransomware and breaches across the hybrid attack surface, ZTS has become a vital tool in modernizing cloud security. Predicated on the Zero Trust security strategy and its core principles “least privilege” and “assume intrusion,” ZTS empowers organizations to visualize workload connectivity, implement granular security policies, and effectively contain attacks spanning the cloud, endpoints, and on-premises data centers.
While ransomware attacks are inevitable, there are tactics that organizations can implement to lower their chances of becoming another catastrophic cyberattack statistic. In light of Vanson Bourne’s research, it’s clear that ZTS is essential to addressing the complexities of cloud security. The survey highlights key challenges such as increased complexity, insufficient visibility, and slow breach reaction times. As organizations transition from traditional to cloud-based infrastructures, ZTS is necessary for building cyber resilience.
To this end, I recommend conducting thorough security audits, implementing ZTS principles, investing in continuous monitoring, and educating all employees on cloud security best practices. In an ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, staying ahead means continuously adapting and improving your security strategies to protect your cloud environments.