5 Cloud Security Trends Shaping 2017 and Beyond

A shift from the traditional IT model to cloud-based solutions can be a rewarding strategy. Approximately 85 percent of companies now have a multi-cloud strategy as part of their IT operations. Cloud computing has become one of the most sought-after technologies in the IT market, with a growth rate of 18 percent expected over 2017. And with the cloud growing to meet soaring demand, there’s an increasing need for individual companies to implement stronger security. Here’re top cloud security trends that are shaping 2017. 

1. AI and Automation

IT security experts are pressured to create better software solutions, but implementing those solutions is becoming more reliant on AI. Automation is the only efficient means for monitoring constant activity over multiple channels. The goal is to implement self-sustaining mechanisms for identifying and isolating threats.

End users and even IT staff find it difficult to keep pace with increasing options and complexity. Your staff can become overwhelmed with tracking all the connections and preparing for changing threats. If you manage a smaller organization with limited resources, it could be crucial to add security automation to your IT infrastructure.

Machine learning is making more sustainable automation possible. Amazon Machine Learning, for instance, uses complex algorithms to find patterns in your data it can utilize in developing better data models. It then uses these improved models to process new data. Constant adaptation supports more accurate predictions and better responses.

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Senior Product Manager, Venkat Vijayaraghavan, has emphasized that static security rules aren’t adequate anymore. Security systems must enable analysis of traffic in order to detect the persistent and fraudulent bots that are crawling the internet today.

The trend in 2017 is automated systems that “learn” from existing threats to predict and anticipate future dangers. Through collaboration between developers, internet applications today can manage cloud APIs (application programming interfaces) to monitor applications and restore normal status without human intervention.

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2. Micro-segmentation

Virtual networks are being replaced by highly segmented cloud architectures that are detailed to individual user endpoints. This micro-segmentation utilizes the same networking concepts but enhances security by sharing robust central functions across all segments. It uses authentication tools to validate each endpoint before client-server transactions begin.

Micro-segmentation provides a platform where certain connections will require extra security for greater privileges. This ensures isolation for certain endpoints within deployed services while ensuring that others get limited access. It allows system management to define and grant privileges at different levels of granularity, as well as lock down or block suspicious connections.

3. Software Governance

One increasing issue for IT departments is the growth of “shadow IT.” Otherwise known as “stealth IT,” this is the tendency of workers to utilize their own software solutions that IT has not approved or may not be aware of. As mobile devices multiply in 2017, it’s important that you create some accountability for shadow IT users.

Most IT departments are struggling to manage shadow IT issues that can heighten security risks. There’s a possibility that third-party software may contain vulnerabilities or malware that compromise business networks. There must be well-defined policies for software governance.

IT departments should be afforded the tools and authority to monitor and enforce security-focused guidelines. Software governance supports cooperation between IT and business functions. While IT could be more sympathetic to employee needs, employees need to understand that information security is crucial.

You should take steps to ensure that all applications are IT-approved and enforce consequences for introducing “shadow IT” to the network.

4. Adopted New Security Technologies

Leading cloud services such as AWS or Microsoft Azure have focused on better security measures to address customer concerns. Cloud providers are seeking the most advanced technologies to gain customer confidence. These solutions were once available as third-party services but are now being integrated into cloud platforms.

Some of the leading technologies today include:

  • WAF (Web Application Firewall): This monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic for potentially blocking anything that doesn’t meet configured guidelines. Today it’s a built-in feature of AWS.
  • Amazon Inspector: This is a security service for Linux and Windows hosts that allows you to evaluate any collection of resources for potential risks.
  • DDOS Protection Software: This software counters denial-of-service attacks which can occur through flooding your network with phony requests.

5. Ransomware and the IoT

Many hackers are devoted to ransomware, or malware that denies you access to your own data until a price is paid. Ransomware is particularly a threat to cloud data centers, which includes critical information from multiple clients. This could provide a huge pay-off for the hackers.

Ransomware is now the principle concern among APTs (advanced persistent threats). With cyber criminals perfecting their techniques, this becomes a crucial concern for all security vendors.

More vulnerability follows the growth of the Internet of Things, where smart devices are communicating with manufacturers and owners over Wi-Fi. Hackers want access to user information through networking components in everything from dishwashers to automobiles. Maintaining security over the data flooding in from potentially billions of devices will be a daunting task.

At the present time, developers are only beginning to establish industry standards and efficient means of deploying patches and upgrades over a wider spectrum of IT platforms. User error, protection of customer data, exposed APIs, and integration with big data are all security issues that need to be addressed in-depth.

Organizations must also realize that business continuity in the form of data backups and data recovery solutions are an essential part of cloud services. Lost data and cloud outages could represent serious setbacks to profitability and consumer trust.

To Conclude

While the switch to cloud computing provides many advantages in cost savings and flexibility, security is still a prime consideration with online operations. It’s important for you to consider new cloud technologies in 2017 for countering rising threats. Current software and sound principles for IT governance ensure that you can still reap the benefits of cloud computing safely.

 

Josh McAllister

Josh McAllister is a freelance tech writer and business consultant based in New York. In his free time, he enjoys all things geeky and gadgetry, the outdoors, and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

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