With increasing use of the public cloud, security gaps are increasing

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Cloud footprints are exploding, as is the amount of data stored in them.

And because of its low cost, simplicity, reliability and flexibility (among other factors), the public cloud — or a hybrid or multicloud model that includes it — is the choice of choice.

But everything has its negative aspects; According to experts, an increase in work processes in the public cloud in particular can cause security gaps.

“Organizations are seeing an explosion of data in their public cloud environments,” said Dan Benjamin, CEO and co-founder of Dig Security. This results in an “expanded attack surface for data that could lead to a breach or non-compliance.”


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Data: Dynamic, complex – and always vulnerable

In the public cloud model, the servers, storage, hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure are all owned and managed by the provider. And these are shared with other organizations or “clients”.

From 2022, more than 60% of all company data will be stored in the cloud. That share reached 30% in 2015 and has continued to grow as organizations seek to improve reliability and agility.

This year, revenue from the public cloud market is expected to reach $525.6 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 14%. Undoubtedly the market will continue to grow (and accelerate) and exceed $881 billion by 2027.

And Gartner estimates that public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending by 2026, up from less than 17% in 2021.

However, Benjamin pointed out that high-profile security incidents such as the Uber and LastPass breaches have shown just how vulnerable cloud data storage is, even for cybersecurity-savvy and privacy-invested companies .

“Data is dynamic and complex,” says Benjamin. “It exists in different forms and is constantly being collected, so it’s always changing in the public cloud.”

Cloud environments are often part of complex ecosystems spanning more than one public provider and on-premise infrastructure, he explained. Additionally, many organizations are running multiple Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, virtual machines (VMs), containers, and cloud instances simultaneously, adding more layers of abstraction.

As data travels between these assets, it is difficult to detect and map data flows, and it is easy to lose control of them, he said.

Hidden in the shadows

As companies move faster and ship to production faster, they give a lot of power to areas other than IT or DevSecOps, explained Shira Shamban, CEO and co-founder of cloud security company Solvo.

And “it creates, unintentionally of course, shadow data that doesn’t conform to security best practices,” she said.

Shadow data is data that is not actively managed or controlled by IT teams. It can contain snapshots, backups and copies of data used for development and testing purposes, Benjamin explained. It exists mainly in spreadsheets, local copies of databases, emails, presentations, and on personal devices.

Security controls and policies are often not applied to this data, making it difficult to track, manage and monitor. This also makes it vulnerable to unauthorized access and exfiltration, Benjamin said.

He said this poses a significant risk from both a security and compliance perspective. Non-compliance can result in fines and reputational damage, while lax data security puts organizations at risk on multiple levels. The damage caused can erode customer confidence and lead to reputational damage, fines, legal fees and IP theft.

In particular, the nature of the public cloud “makes it easy to set up a new data warehouse, but difficult for security teams to monitor the contents of that data warehouse,” Benjamin said. “As such, organizations need to change the way they think about data security.”

Complex data environment

In general, protecting cloud data is both critical and challenging – whether private, public, hybrid or multicloud, experts say.

And the most common attacks in the cloud are no different from common on-premises attacks, Shamban said. Typically, this involves credential theft; The unique attack vectors in the cloud relate to the misconfiguration of the cloud technology.

Benjamin agreed that there are a variety of ways to infiltrate the cloud environment; Attackers often exploit software vulnerabilities, leaked credentials, or misconfigured access. But regardless of how the environment is infiltrated, the goal is always either to steal or sabotage the data for financial or other gain.

“This is what makes it so important and effective to focus on data protection,” says Benjamin.

Visibility is essential

There are many tools that organizations use to protect themselves; A common one is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). It identifies and remediates risks through visibility automation, 24/7 monitoring, threat detection, and remediation workflows. It looks for misconfigurations in various cloud environments and infrastructures, including SaaS, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

For its part, Gartner recently introduced the idea of ​​Data Security Posture Management (DSPM).

According to Patrick Hevesi, Gartner VP Analyst, this includes several components:

  • Conformity Assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • operational monitoring
  • DevSecOps Integration
  • Policy Enforcement
  • Threat Protection

As Benjamin explained, this approach can work together with a similar new concept of Data Detection and Response (DDR), which (as the name suggests) provides real-time monitoring, detection and response.

“Increasingly, there is a greater awareness of the risks and a movement towards better governance and oversight of data assets,” he said. “DSPM, Cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and DDR capabilities can help organizations address challenges head-on.”

Ultimately, companies need to educate their developers and R&D teams so that security is “top of mind,” Shamban said. They also need to be equipped with the right tools to automate some of their day-to-day decision-making and corrective tasks, freeing up time for more complex projects.

“We can’t stop using the cloud, so we have to learn to use it more efficiently and securely,” she said.

Benjamin agreed, acknowledging that businesses will not abandon the public cloud because of its many benefits

“Cloud computing enables unprecedented flexibility, power and speed,” he said.

Finally, “risks should not deter organizations from using public clouds,” Benjamin said.

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Source: venturebeat.com

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