With organizational data and sensitive information stored in remote locations via cloud services, cloud security strategies have never been more relevant. Migrating operations to the cloud is steadily becoming the norm for today’s reality. According to the State of the Cloud 2023 report, 87% of the enterprises surveyed have opted in for a multi-cloud strategy with 72% utilizing a hybrid model (public and private cloud). That is not surprising, as an impressive 50% of enterprises already have workloads in the public cloud, with 7% planning to move additional workloads to the cloud in next 12 months.
Organizations migrate to the cloud aiming to take advantage of elasticity, reduction in the total cost of ownership, accessibility and overall strategic value. It is, therefore, no wonder that the public market cloud is projected to be worth $800 billion by 2025.
Security concerns over rising numbers of cloud data breaches
Recent research has revealed that 45% of breaches occurred in the cloud, but those in the public cloud cost considerably more than breaches at organizations with a hybrid cloud model. Cloud security is a daunting task, mainly due to the challenges inherent in its implementation.
The Challenges of Cloud Security
The major challenges of cloud security are:
- Lack of a Cloud Security Strategy
- Lack of information security expertise leading to misconfigurations and mismanagement of cloud infrastructures and services
- Failure to properly and proactively manage cloud services
- Inadequate identity and access management, as well as flawed security policies and controls
- Inability to meet and demonstrate compliance with regulatory frameworks
- Insider threats from staff and partners (intentional or unintentional risk), and third-party threats (risk from service providers)
The majority of the above can be largely attributed to a lack of appropriate planning and strategizing, as well as a failure to include cloud information security into the overall business strategy.
The importance of a cloud security strategy
Cloud adoption necessitates a concrete and intuitive strategy that incorporates a bulletproof plan when it comes to its security. At the core of every organization’s cloud security strategy, there needs to be an absolute understanding of the cloud’s scope of use for the organization, while considering cloud security as a primary business target. In addition, organizations must acknowledge in full the risks involved in their cloud migration, as well as the need for laying out planning and policies for their cloud management. A strategy based on such principles, together with proper guidance, enables organizations to make explicit decisions that empower their IT teams through the cloud development and configuration process.
Security at the centre of a cloud strategy
Cloud security should be an influencing factor in regard to the policies, deployment and control of cloud development. In doing so, risk assessment is central to a secure cloud strategy. It necessitates that organizations accept and manage risks in leveraging the cloud services, and making calculated decisions regarding what they are willing to do, or not do, so as to mitigate risk based on their security budgets and their chosen risk appetite.
A risk treatment model that considers unanticipated future needs, service disruptions, confidentiality and data control, as well as business changes and compliance, can help organizations in obtaining an overview of risk. This allows them to gain the situational awareness needed to accurately weigh the risks and benefits of their strategic cloud adoption decisions. This way, a cloud strategy focuses on security, risk management and risk exposure as core aspects of the overall business strategy.
Creating a cloud secure strategy empowers organizations to reap the full benefits of cloud services, while supporting their cyber resilience efforts to effectively anticipate, respond, swiftly recover, and adapt to a dynamically expanding and unpredictable threat landscape.