Software Defined Security for Cloud

Software Defined Security for Cloud

Cloud Security Challenges

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted how organizations around the world operate, cloud computing likely was an integral part of your enterprise network. The IDG Cloud Computing Survey 2020 shows that a huge majority of organizations (92%) have at least one cloud deployment, while more than half of organizations (55%) use multiple clouds.

IDG says cloud spending is on the rise and that “32% of IT budget is expected to be allocated to cloud computing within the next 12 months.” This is not surprising, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has made cloud deployments essential for organizations to support a highly decentralized workforce and remain connected with partners, suppliers, and customers.

But cloud no longer is a single line-item in the budget. Cloud has grown and evolved as a technology to encompass an array of core and associated products and services. Public, private, and hybrid are just the bare infrastructure essentials, as apps, DevOps tools, containers, microservices, and third-party SaaS platforms continue to proliferate.

Though this trend has given rise to powerful and innovative computing options for organizations, it also has introduced complexity—and uncertainty—for IT professionals charged with securing expanding cloud footprints in their organizations. And with remote work becoming the rule rather than the exception, scalability has become yet another immediate cloud management challenge for your organization.

Moreover, as every IT security professional knows, the major burden of cloud security falls squarely on you: Cloud vendor service agreements provide only for security guarantees within the vendor’s cloud infrastructure, and configuration and modification of security to protect customer data is left solely to the customer.

To reduce security vulnerabilities, technology research and consulting firm Gartner recommends a centralized, policy-based approach. Central management and monitoring plans for cloud security are difficult to implement, however, given the diverse nature of cloud technology as well as legacy on-premises security systems and intrusion detection and protection devices. Add to that cloud vendor security measures, and complexity and risk multiply. Indeed, most security professionals can clearly identify cloud security “hot spots” that require attention and remediation to reduce risks in their environments. The following are among the top cloud security challenges IT security professionals face today. Most undoubtedly will seem familiar to you:

  • Scaling security to meet the needs of a growing remote work force
  • Consolidating and centrally managing security
  • Eliminating cloud security blind spots
  • Protecting hybrid cloud
  • Coordinating multi-cloud security
  • Containing shadow IT and “rogue” device risks
  • Extending security to future cloud: DevOps, containers, and tools

Centrally Managing Cloud Security

For you to get a better handle on cloud security, it is imperative that your organization move toward centrally assessing, implementing, and monitoring security—extending from existing legacy premises systems to multi-cloud. Without central policies and enforcement, vulnerabilities and risk are inevitable, not to mention duplicative efforts in piecing together and reconciling separate security technologies and policies across differing architectures, workloads, and devices.

There’s a good chance you’re “flying blind” when attempting to secure your enterprise’s expanding cloud. A recent SANS Institute survey shows that “48% of respondents said they lack visibility into data that is processed within their organizations,” as “nearly 55% struggle with a lack of integration between current security analytics tools and cloud infrastructure.” Furthermore, “43% faced a lack of threat insights targeting cloud environments.”

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