Cloud computing continues to break barriers and deliver new types of workloads and content. Just look at how many users are connecting via the Internet. Statistics show us that a typical user accesses two to three devices every day. If you work in tech, I have no doubt that this number is even larger.
The security environment around cloud continues to evolve as well. The days of the PC, as we all know, are coming to an end. With so much more information traversing the cloud, the focus has shifted from endpoint security to delivering applications, data, and a great user experience. But this leaves open questions about how we keep all of this data secure, provide a powerful end-user experience, and still maintain information integrity
Unfortunately, I left my crystal ball at home today. So instead of predicting what the future will bring, let me tell you about three important trends that are happening now that will shape the cloud computing experience going forward.
Applications and APIs. Applications are truly becoming cloud-centric. More users are ditching the standard PC and employing cloud apps through mobile devices. This makes application-layer security critical. APIs are also creating more optimized application communication. These logical cross-connects can span entire datacenters, enabling applications to utilize resources on a whole new level, via application firewalls, hypervisor-layer security, and new possibilities of inter-app security wrapping.
Next-generation firewalls (physical and virtual). Security vendors are developing security technologies that span datacenters, cloud, and various data points. Already today, we are seeing virtual as well as physical appliances running new types of security engines, scanning processes, and creating greater levels of protection. But, as these NGFW technologies progress, there will be an even greater need for visibility into the data security layer. Over the next couple of years, security platforms like those from Palo Alto, Checkpoint, Fortinet, Cisco, and others will work to create an intelligent framework that connects datacenters and information.
Data collaboration security. Compliance and regulation is driving the need for better data control and security. What’s more, all of this data will need to work with various cloud delivery options and possibly traverse a variety of networks. We are now seeing options around data segregation and the creating of optimized data controls. For example, the latest Omnibus Rule change for HIPAA allows products like Citrix ShareFile to process protected healthcare information (PHI) directly in the cloud. This new data security and collaboration methodology will allow organizations to maintain HIPAA as well as PCI/DSS compliance.
As with any technology, when use becomes more widespread, the target gets bigger. The amount of data we continue to push through the cloud will continue to increase as more services are developed to be cloud-centric. Next-generation security technologies will help keep data secure, and our ability to logically segment key data points will allow for even greater information agility. But the future of the cloud will only be as powerful as the security solutions we can wrap around these new emerging platforms.
Bill Kleyman is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment.