The use of the cloud has increased rapidly in recent years, especially with the habituation to remote work, companies must now be able to support their external employees and offer them important services.
Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO at Check Point
However, cloud environments are significantly different from traditional data center infrastructures, which means that traditional security solutions and approaches do not always work effectively in the cloud. As a result, many companies face significant challenges in securing their newly discovered cloud infrastructure.
Most companies even use a multi-cloud environment. While this allows you to take full advantage of the unique advantages of various cloud concepts that are optimized for specific use cases, it also increases the scope and complexity of cloud connectivity.
According to the Cloud Security Report 2022, 76 percent of companies use two or more cloud service providers and at least 24 percent use more than five. This complexity makes it difficult to consistently monitor and secure all cloud environments. In addition, more than half of companies believe that the integrated security offerings of cloud providers are not as effective as third-party solutions.
Lack of qualified personnel
There is a significant shortage of skilled workers in IT security and specialized professionals are even more difficult to find. As a result, less than half of organizations (45 percent) find qualified personnel to manage critical cloud security functions. The lack of knowledge and expertise of employees also makes it difficult to comply with regulations in the cloud, as not only knowledge about the necessary controls is required, but also about how they can be implemented in cloud environments. More than half (55 percent) of companies say that this lack of combined knowledge about regulations and the cloud itself is the biggest challenge.
Compliance with regulations
Most companies are subject to many different compliance regulations, while the regulatory landscape is rapidly expanding. Due to the transition to a cloud, 39 percent of companies say that achieving, maintaining and demonstrating compliance with regulations in this very different IT environment is a major challenge. It is also difficult to establish consistent security policies. When using multiple cloud environments, companies are also confronted with a variety of different integrated tools and settings. As a result, 32 percent of organizations believe that maintaining consistent security policies across their cloud infrastructure is a hurdle. Compliance audits and risk assessments are also an important aspect. While these can be a bit annoying on-site, where the company owns and controls the entire infrastructure, in the cloud with its limited access to the underlying infrastructure, managing the process cleanly is a challenge, as 42 percent of companies say.
Lack of overview
Cloud implementations work according to the shared responsibility model, because the responsibility for IT security is divided between the cloud provider and the customer. The former protects the infrastructure, the latter must independently guard its data and applications. However, without an overview and control at the lower levels of the infrastructure and without the possibility of using conventional security solutions, 35 percent of companies find it difficult to design security appropriately.
Each cloud platform has its own security configurations and most companies now work with several cloud providers. For 33 percent of companies, the complexity of their cloud environments makes it a challenge to quickly detect and correct misconfigurations before they can be exploited by an attacker.
In addition, the expansion of the multi-cloud infrastructure increases the digital attack surface of a company. The constant testing of cloud applications for vulnerabilities is therefore essential. However, this vulnerability management is hardly manageable for many companies.
Automation of cloud security
Continuous and automated security controls are essential to minimize the risk and impact of IT attacks on cloud-based structures. However, 31 percent of companies have problems implementing these automated controls.
The scale of multi-cloud environments makes it impossible for you to manually configure and enforce security across the entire environment. For this reason, automated enforcement has become unavoidable, but is cited as a hurdle by 28 percent of companies.
Overcome hurdles, enjoy advantages
A cloud-based IT infrastructure can bring significant benefits for a company because it offers greater flexibility and scalability as well as the possibility to reduce costs and overload because the management of a large part of the infrastructure of a company is outsourced to the cloud provider.
However, these advantages are also associated with costs and the effort to overcome the challenges. As organizations move from on-premise environments to cloud-based infrastructure, they need to integrate their cloud implementations with their existing security policies and architectures. The significant differences between on-premise and cloud-based infrastructures can make this a rather strenuous undertaking, which is why the automation of administration and the consolidation of the IT security architecture is highly recommended. However, the advantages after the well-thought-out conversion are unbeatable.