Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Cloud Now Seen as a Security ‘Enabler’ 

Cloud security remains a challenge as more enterprises shift mission critical applications and data to hybrid deployments. As cloud adopters go native with applications and services, their cloud platforms are also emerging as a security “enabler” through broader access to managed services that can supplement traditional firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware approaches along with other steps aimed at preventing data loss.

A cloud cyber security report released this week makes the case that the vulnerabilities introduced by cloud deployments can also be overcome by leveraging cloud attributes to boost data and application security. Those capabilities are increasingly seen as critical as cloud vendors seek to convince customers to move mission-critical business applications to the cloud.

The vendor study released Tuesday (Sept. 3) by cloud security specialist Nominet confirms that security breaches have increased as more companies adopt multi-cloud strategies. Just over half of multi-cloud users reported a breach over the last year, compared with those using single or hybrid clouds.

Still, 61 percent of those surveyed said the risk of a security breach was no greater or even lower in cloud environments than keeping data and applications on-premise.

That view may reflect a turning point in terms of enterprise attitudes toward cloud security. Up to now, the conventional wisdom had it that companies kept the crown jewels in-house. While users remain nervous about fines and bad publicity related to data breaches, the Nominet survey claims a whopping 92 percent of respondents said they are adopting cloud-based security tools.

While firewalls and anti-virus software remain key defenses, cloud users are also embracing managed service tools ranging from network access controls to beefed up security of distributed applications. “The cloud is therefore being used as the delivery mechanism of choice for a very broad array of security approaches, underlining the new trust businesses have in the technology,” the survey said.

Still, the accelerating deployment of cloud-native tools such as the de facto standard Kubernetes cluster orchestrator used to deliver distributed cloud-native applications continues to suffer from security breaches.

In response, Nominet and other cloud security vendors have been steadily adding new security upgrades designed to tighten cloud security from application development through runtime protection of production workloads.

The transition to managed cloud security services is being driven by convenience, cost savings and improved security features, the cloud survey found. Indeed, the outsourcing of cloud security functions is gaining momentum in the financial, legal and healthcare sectors.

Hence, the security report asserts that cloud functionality is expanding beyond the delivery of software and other IT services to a platform for accessing and deploying managed cloud security tools. Hence, the survey’s authors opine that “the security risks of cloud are lower than with on-premise systems.”

Nominet said it canvassed 274 security and other corporate executives in the U.S. and U.K.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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