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11/6/2018
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Most Businesses to Add More Cloud Security Tools

Cloud adoption drives organizations to spend in 2019 as they learn traditional security practices can't keep up.

Three quarters of organizations plan to buy more cloud security tools in 2019 as a means to better secure increasingly complex cloud environments, new research shows.

The data comes from Alcide, which today released its "2018 Report: The State of Securing Cloud Workloads." Nearly 350 security, DevOps, and IT pros weighed in to share their cloud security plans. Most are struggling to secure complex cloud setups, and think more tools will help.

Results show cloud security workflows remain fragmented. Across all company sizes, about 53% of respondents distribute their cloud workloads across a hybrid infrastructure; 18% use multi-cloud. The larger the business, the higher the degree of fragmentation, researchers found.

More than 20% of organizations with more than 1,000 employees are using at least 10 cloud security tools, compared with 3% of medium-to-large businesses with less than 1,000 workers. Many respondents were unsure how many solutions were being used to secure their cloud workflows, a problem which experts point out can hold the entire business back.

"Fragmented stacks and poor visibility into deployed solutions are very often constraints of business velocity, due to difficulties in scaling securely and reliable," the report said.

Despite the potential for business slowdown, 75% percent of respondents expect their cloud security stack to increase over the next year. One-quarter expect it will remain the same, and none expect to use fewer cloud security tools in 2019. The tools they're looking to buy are "quite different than existing security tool stacks," explains Alcide CTO Gadi Naor.

As it stands, organizations currently use cloud security controls for security groups (63%), host-based threat protection (59%), file integrity monitoring (44%), account compliance features (42%), and visibility tools (3%). Naor expects as they invest in security tools, they will more closely focus on microservices architecture, threat protection, and serverless architecture.

There seems to be a gap between the growth of serverless computes and the expertise needed to secure them, researchers report. While 60% of respondents say their business' serverless computes are "very secure," none were ready to admit they were "completely secure." Despite some security concerns, 57% of serverless users are running it in production and development.

Part of the challenge in cloud security is the shared responsibility model, which dictates how cloud providers and customer handle security for applications deployed in the cloud, Naor says.

Who's in Charge

So who handles all these purchases? While the responsibility for securing the cloud still largely falls to corporate IT (46%), specialized DevOps or DevSecOps teams are taking over the job within 34% of organizations. Alcide researchers say this indicates a trend toward specialization.

Most (73%) of security professionals still manually configure their application security policies. Forty-four percent of medium-large businesses, and 74% of large enterprises, have at least three people involved with configuring security for any app. It's a time-consuming process that can leave the company exposed to human error, which Naor calls "a weak link."

He advises companies to drive their security awareness and understanding before they adopt new tech. "This is where I recommend enterprises take a step back and build their security stack before you build your applications on new technologies," he explains.

Alcide is far from the only company to find holes in enterprise cloud security. In its 2018 Cloud Security Report, Crowd Research Partners found only 16% of businesses report their traditional security tools are sufficient to manage security across the cloud. Eight-four percent say traditional security tools don't work at all, or have limited functionality, in the cloud.

Visibility of cloud data is also an issue. Only 7% of businesses have strong visibility of all critical data, Forcepoint found, and 58% say they only have slight control over information in the cloud. On top of that, data from RedLock shows nearly half of databases in the cloud aren't encrypted.

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Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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