This is the second in a three-part series that will run monthly through the end of the year where we’ll be taking a close look at various cloud-related solutions, what’s trending, and partner expectations as we head into 2020.
It’s common knowledge that cyberattacks are increasing in frequency every year, and companies of all sizes are continuing their migration to the cloud at a record-setting pace; as a result, while these are not a new phenomenon, both cloud accounts and credentials have become the primary targets for black hat hackers.
In March of this year, for example, a database controlled by email validation company Verifications.io was discovered on an unprotected server that was accessible to anyone who knew where to look. Nearly one billion email accounts and other personal information were exposed in one of the largest single-source data breaches ever recorded. The company appears to have gone out of business following news of the breach.
By the end of the second quarter alone, more than 80 reports of breaches that exposed cloud-stored data were confirmed to have occurred in varying levels of size and severity. Compromised cloud accounts, though, are not the only threats to cloud environments. Connecting to the cloud environments can be risky too; accessing the public internet isn’t secure, which leaves people open to man in the middle (MITM) attacks. Additionally, insider threats, DDoS attacks, insufficient due diligence, identity access or credential management, unsecure application programming interfaces (APIs), crypto-jacking, and more can all put a cloud environment in danger.
Since cloud computing became a mainstay, most industry pundits such as Gartner and Forrester have reported that the biggest concerns for cloud adoption are security and compliance. By the end of the decade, it’s predicted that more than 90% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud; by 2021, enterprise spending on cloud services, software and hardware is expected to more than double to over $530B. Similarly, Gartner predicts that enterprise information security spending will reach over $2B in 2020, a 500% increase over 2019, and will skyrocket to more than $12B by 2023.
The new year will bring with it a greater focus on multi-cloud communication, integrations, and management from cloud providers. As enterprises look to secure their cloud architectures with an increasing number of access points, one of the most critical areas of focus will be multi-cloud security management. Additionally, integrating multi-cloud environments and monitoring all cloud services and solutions from a single dashboard will be mission-critical for both maintaining security as well as allocating IT resources.
Although it may seem apparent that increased cloud usage would necessitate an increase in cloud security, many organizations have unfortunately been rather slow to adapt, and approximately half of all enterprises don’t have the skills, tools or staff necessary for proper cloud security.
Luckily, SMB organizations are starting to recognize their largest blind spots when it comes to cloud security, something which their enterprise counterparts are already addressing. In the next year, cloud security will become a high priority as businesses look to secure increasingly cloud-based networks.
We’re currently seeing a large uptick in the use of proper behavioral monitoring systems that can detect malicious behavior—particularly unauthorized access—and the enforcement of strong access policies being implemented across the board, resulting in a rapid adoption of devices that no longer require passwords (as they present one of the most attack vectors). Instead, logging into applications, browsers, and operating systems will require multi-factor authentication and/or the use of identify and access management (IAM), including geofencing and biometrics.
Here are a few other advancements to be on the lookout for in the coming year:
Data Loss Prevention Capabilities
With cloud data storage still a primary element of the cloud market, securing sensitive information will remain a top priority well beyond 2020. Data loss prevention software detects potential data breaches and prevents them by monitoring, detecting and blocking sensitive data while in use, in motion, and at rest.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) Capabilities
As enterprises continue their migration to multi-cloud environments, inevitably an increased focus on identity and access management will follow to ensure cloud services and solutions don’t present an even bigger security risk. IAM is the process of identifying users based on credentials, device, and location. It can be very granular to the point of looking at memory, CPU, operating system, if the antivirus is up to date, what time of day the user is logging in, etc., and, based on the policies set, it can allow or deny access to company resources. If a user causes any flags, the IAM system can also move users into a sandbox environment to allow for a more in-depth security review.
Cloud services moving to the edge require companies to make use of end-to-end encryption to secure their data where it lives. New privacy laws, such as CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), which has inspired several other states to also create laws, all of which will require various forms of encryption and data security.
Often, safely disposing of old or unused data is a complex matter. Data sanitization is the specific way in which a file shredder or data destruction program overwrites the data on a storage device, such as a hard drive. Most programs support more than one method of data sanitization, which allows an enterprise to determine which method should be used based on the data they need to erase.
Businesses that require transparency, security and cost-effectiveness will increasingly consider blockchain as an option for data security. It offers a cost-effective way to maintain a high level of trust with customers as well as a much-needed advantage in today’s competitive marketplace.
Blockchain is highly secure because it distributes data across a large network; if someone was able to access one part of the data, it would be incomplete/meaningless without all of the other blocks. Therefore, when using blockchain, your data becomes nearly impossible to hack or maliciously tampered with because it is constantly being moved around and secured through various servers around the world rather than in one set location.
The majority of security solutions and devices create an enormous amount of data every day resulting in the need to adopt advanced analytics tools to accurately recognize a threat. On their own, security analytics tools will become critical in detecting threats as these tools offer the ability to correlate data sets for security monitoring from multiple sources to more precisely identify and fight against increasingly sophisticated and advanced threats.
Security analytics will not only reduce false positives and save IT teams countless hours in detection and remediation but will also enable smarter and faster decisions since they can interact, query, and visualize data in real-time across multiple solutions throughout an organization. This also means that these tools can help organizations meet compliance requirements.
As such, security analytics markets—including cloud threat intelligence, machine learning, and experiential analysis—will also continue to grow and evolve. The most advanced tools will employ artificial intelligence and machine learning models to work hand-in-hand with human analysts to detect advanced, persistent threats and minimize incident resolution time.
The cloud and cloud security landscapes are ripe fields of low-hanging fruit for the intrepid partner who takes a proactive approach to help customers protect their cloud environments. Being aware of the latest trends and technologies is imperative for ensuring you are the expert your customers trust to keep their businesses safe from cybercrime.
It is important to note, however, that you do not need to be a security expert! Partners simply need to have educated business conversations around redundancy and security—and ask the important how and why questions. A few examples of these important questions include:
- How are you securing your environment in AWS today?
- How do you secure the connection from your offices to Azure?
- How do you push out patches and updates to mobile devices?
- Do you know where and when your users access business-sensitive applications and data?
TBI’s solution engineers are available to help partners identify the best fit for a customer’s specific needs; these questions will help the SE’s begin to understand these needs and pinpoint the types of solutions needed to keep them safe.
There are a plethora of advancements in cloud security that are starting to make their way onto the playing field as 2019 winds down, and it's safe to say that these new technologies will only grow and become more robust in the coming years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Marketing Communications Manager, Amanda is responsible for creating content and carrying out internal and external communications programs; she also develops educational materials to enable TBI’s partners to sell emerging solutions. Amanda also contributes to ensuring consistency with branding and ensuring TBI provides useful and relevant content to our partners. You can reach Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.