The term “cloud computing” is frequently misunderstood. There is a classification of public, private, and hybrid clouds, as-a-Service delivery models for software, platform, and infrastructure, and an ever-growing list of technologies that use some variations of cloud classifications and as-a-Service delivery models.
It’s often difficult to keep up with the opportunities that come with each new and different innovation that hits the market. It’s even more difficult to stay on top of the current challenges, particularly the security issues confronting the market’s various cloud computing solutions.
In this article, we will discuss the top cloud security challenges and trends for 2020 and beyond.
- Ransomware, cybercrime & cloud security
Cloud computing enables access to information from centralized datacenter repositories at any time and from any location. Customers do not always have control over the underlying resources, and vendors are responsible for managing vulnerabilities. Cloud computing users, on the other hand, are expected to keep data safe from cyber threats such as ransomware, which uses social engineering ploys to access and control sensitive data stored in data centers.
Two factors have contributed to cloud data centers becoming popular targets of ransomware and crypto-mining:
Lack of security awareness among users
Inadequate visibility and control into cloud infrastructure
These damages cost the U.S. $7.5 billion in 2019, compromising government agencies, schools, healthcare institutions, and SMB firms using cloud-based data storage solutions.
Cloud computing exposes data on three fronts:
Data at rest: data stored in data centers
Data in transition: data transfer across the network
Data in use: data processed in servers locally or in the cloud
Prediction: To reduce the risk of data leaks and ransomware attacks, organizations must manage data access and enable end-to-end encryption.
- Lack of cyber laws, consensus & privacy awareness
Governments all over the world have called for stricter measures to ensure cloud security for business customers and end users. The 2018 UNESCO Internet Governance Forum is one example, but global or regional agreement remains uncommon. Because security, access violations, intellectual property rights, and resilience against cyberthreats are perceived differently around the world, global companies are required to comply with a variety of regulations.
Because of the geographic diversity of data center locations and the users who access them, uncertainty and diversity have a greater impact on cloud security. Furthermore, user privacy awareness drives demand for transparency, whereas customers of cloud computing resources may have only limited visibility into the cloud infrastructure’s underlying security performance.
This trend implies that cloud security, government regulations, and end-user privacy will play an important role in IT strategy and investments for business organizations. Businesses in the EU have already spent $9 billion preparing for the GDPR regulation, and 500,000 data protection officers have been hired.
Prediction: Global organizations will likely soon require increasingly stringent cloud security measures in response to
Upcoming security regulations
Increasing security and privacy awareness among end users
The growing cybercrime risk
- DevSecOps and SDLC in the cloud
DevOps is gaining popularity as an SDLC framework that enables the rapid release of high-quality software products while reducing risk and waste. Automation and infrastructure management solutions delivered as a cloud service are required for DevOps adoption. The process itself must be both quick and secure.
DevSecOps refers to the approach of integrating and automating security tasks within the SDLC process, in which the people and technology involved in the pipeline actively contribute to the full lifecycle of software products. Security must be built into the process itself, not as an extra layer of checklist items that can be automated.
Prediction: To protect the infrastructure environment and data in cloud computing, security policies must be developed for each stage of the SDLC pipeline. DevSecOps extends SDLC of cloud-based software products to app functionality and the underlying cloud resources that power the app. Throughout the SDLC, the app’s functionality and security are continuously tested and improved. (Vulnerabilities, security challenges, and regulatory issues related to cloud resources such as containers and microservices are already addressed in the SDLC strategy.)
- Cloud security investments & industry trends
Among other cloud trends, the (public) cloud computing industry is expected to grow by 17% year on year to $266.4 billion in 2020. The global cloud security industry is growing at a similar rate, increasing at a 23.5 percent CAGR to $8.9 billion by the end of this year. Global events have reshaped the way technology companies operate, resulting in increased cloud adoption—and the underlying security risks that come with it.
According to McAfee, enterprise cloud solution adoption increased by 50% between January and April 2020. External threat actors increased by 630 percent at the same time. The report also emphasizes the importance of cloud-native security considerations for enterprise workloads operating in the cloud. As a result, certain tasks must be automated, including:
Cloud security administration
Other manual processes
Prediction: Organizations must carefully understand and adhere to the shared cloud security responsibility model, which states that vendors are responsible for operating a secure IT infrastructure, while customers are responsible for access, encryption, and disaster recovery protocols.
5. AI as a Solution?
Of course, automation isn’t enough to combat the security risks associated with cloud computing. Enterprise business operations and cloud-based software products are heavily data-driven. Contextual behavior of the IT environment and business requirements must be accounted for in automated configuration management and infrastructure operation changes. This is where intelligence comes into play, and technologies like AIOps are becoming more popular in the ITSM space as a result of cloud computing and security challenges.
Prediction: In the future, security efficiency will be defined by an organization’s ability to proactively identify anomalous behavior of cloud workloads and data. AI technologies will largely drive real-time decision making. While the underlying algorithms and technologies will require expensive cloud computing resources to function, the ITSM process and cloud operations will be simplified, well-informed, and driven by insightful metrics rather than raw data from the perspective of IT users.