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Cloud Security: New Research Says IT Pros Still Skittish

Respondents complain in two studies that traditional security tools don’t work in the cloud, and can’t deliver visibility across multiple cloud environments.

What’s all the fuss about cloud security? At least two recent studies report that a significant segment of IT professionals still remain skittish about the cloud’s security – and cloud computing has been around for well more than a decade.

A new study by Crowd Research Partners based on more than 1,900 responses by the Information Security Community on LinkedIn found that 33% of respondents cited general security risks as the major barrier to increased cloud adoption.

Other leading barriers included the lack of qualified personnel (28%) and poor integration with existing IT environments (27%).

Holger Schulze, founder of the LinkedIn  Information Security Community, adds that 78% say traditional security tools either don’t work at all in the cloud, or have limited functionality. A full 58% say the tools have limited functionality, while 20% say traditional tools don’t work in the cloud.

The tools are important, but Schulze says the human touch has also become important again.

“We’ve found in this study and our study on threat hunting that there isn’t really a large enough pool of people to hire in the security field,” Holger explains. “That’s why companies are focusing on training, getting people certified and also looking to sign on with managed service providers.”

When it comes to protecting applications in the cloud, companies are turning to penetration testing (60%), security monitoring (57%), web application firewalls (47%), developer education (44%) and static/dynamic testing (43%). Bug bounty programs were much further down the list at 8%.

The study also found that 37% of respondents cite that visibility into cloud security has become a major headache for security pros, while 36% say compliance has become an issue. Other leading challenges include setting consistent security policies (33%), reporting security threats (29%) and remediating threats (28%).

Frank Dickson, an analyst with IDC who covers security, points out that the visibility issue has risen in importance because security pros now have to manage mixed environments that include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and in-house infrastructure.  

“There are tools that will help you manage AWS or an in-house infrastructure, but there’s really nothing out there that can help security pros manage across these cloud environments,” Dickson explains. “And if they don’t have good visibility into the data, compliance becomes that much harder.”

Security managers are clearly struggling with managing these complex cloud environments. Another recent study by AlienVault found that 39% of respondents use more than 10 different cloud services within their organizations and an additional 21% don’t know how many cloud applications are actually used.

 

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