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Cloud Security Spend Set to Reach $12.6B by 2023

Growth corresponds with a greater reliance on public cloud services.

Businesses are expected to spend $12.6 billion on cloud security tools by 2023, up from $5.6 billion in 2018 and with an especially close focus on public cloud native platform security, Forrester reports.

The data comes from its "Cloud Security Solutions Forecast, 2018 to 2023," which investigates the ways companies will invest in cloud security tools over the next five years. This global increase in cloud security spend aligns with a broader trend toward cloud spend overall: Researchers report public cloud services spend will reach $236 billion by 2020, up from $178 billion spent in 2018.

More than half (54%) of infrastructure decision makers have implemented or are expanding use of the public cloud, up from 25% in 2015. While respondents have become used to public cloud services, they're still wary of risk. Businesses typically use a mix of public, private, and hybrid clouds and work with multiple service providers. Different implementations serve different needs, but complexity creates challenges in monitoring data and detecting threats.

"There's more and more of a sensitivity that if data is personal, it needs to be kept private," says Jennifer Adams, senior forecast analyst at Forrester, citing penalties from regulations such as GDPR. "As more data is stored in the cloud, we need to use tools to make sure data in the cloud is safe."

Public cloud native platform security dominates the spending forecast, which she says stood out for its rapid growth. The category wasn't even specified in Forrester's earlier cloud security surveys, Adams says, and now the sector is expected to grow 20% per year. Companies spent $4 billion on it in 2018, when it made up over 70% of total spending on all cloud security tools. Researchers anticipate it'll be the fastest-growing sector for cloud security, reaching $9.7 billion in spend by 2023.

"This is a huge change from what we've seen previously," Adams noted. These tools, provided by cloud platforms, typically include data categorization, data segmentation, server access control, resource-based access control and access control lists, user IAM, data-at-rest encryption, data-in-transit encryption, encryption key management, logging and anomaly detection, and role-based access control. As more companies partner with cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, they're adopting their security tools as well.

Because companies often use multiple cloud providers, cloud workload security (CWS) tools are also seeing growth. CWS is designed to centralize and automate security controls across platforms; with businesses relying on multiple clouds, it's expected to grow 17.3% each year.

Some Businesses Still Wary 
Researchers asked respondents how worried they are about risks that software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) bring to their environments, using a scale of one (not concerned) to five (very concerned). Nearly 60% responded with a four or five for SaaS, 57% said the same for PaaS, and 57% echoed great concern for IaaS.

"I think we're finding that when we step back … the cloud isn't the biggest area of risk," Adams notes. There is a perception the cloud brings risk, but it isn't where threats typically appear.

Existing cloud security measures seem to be working, experts found, and organizations are coming around to the idea that the cloud may be better for their data protection. Research shows only 12% of breaches targeted public cloud environments; further, 37% of decision makers cited better security as an important reason to make the transition to public cloud.

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