Could a traditional security mindset imperil cloud-based digital transformation?

By Gurmail Singh

Cloud computing is transforming organisations across the globe, making them more nimble, cost efficient and responsive to market demands. But security remains a perennial barrier. Unfortunately, outdated notions around how security should look in the cloud may be creating a false impression that migration is inherently more risky than keeping data on-premises. In fact, cloud-ready solutions exist to provide an environment as secure if not more so than traditional ones.

Challenges ahead
The cloud has been a lifesaver for many businesses that would otherwise have struggled to support mass remote working during pandemic-related lockdowns. Yet many firms may still be failing to maximise the value they could unlock from cloud infrastructure and applications due to security concerns. How bad is the problem? A recent Trend Micro study for CLOUDSEC Online revealed that nearly half (47%) of UK IT leaders have failed to upgrade their security strategies to take account of new cloud environments.

This outdated mindset could present serious issues. Why? Because traditional security tools aren’t architected for the cloud, meaning that trying to apply them here may create dangerous security gaps and performance bottlenecks. Some challenges include:

Shared responsibility: using non-cloud security tools mean customers will not be fulfilling their end of the cloud bargain.

Multi-layered security: Use so many tools to solve so many different security challenges, managing these can be challenging & complex. Leading to mismanagement, lack of adoption and ultimately weak security posture.

Visibility: crucially, traditional tools may not provide the insight you need across physical, virtual, cloud VM and container environments.

Manual: non-cloud tools are clunky, lack automation and require manual intervention, which can lead to human error creeping in.

Licensing: organisations may end up paying more than they need to if they’re unable to source cloud tools with dynamic licensing for cloud usage scenarios (PAYG; hourly, monthly or yearly based on use case and operating model; or enterprise contracts)

Misconfiguration: is one of the biggest threats to cloud data. It will go undetected if organisations fail to buy in cloud-ready security.

DevSecOps: requires streamlined security built into CI/CD pipelines via APIs. Conversely, traditional tools could become a roadblock on innovation and speedy development. With 23% of UK organisations having already transitioned to a DevOps model, this is a serious consideration.

Multi-cloud environment, require the ability to bring all your different security tools under a single pane of glass for visibility, monitoring, and centralized control.

Skills: are in high-demand in the cybersecurity industry. Unfortunately, on-premises security tools introduce more complexity and a need for manual operation, the opposite of what organisations with limited in-house security skills require today. 

What happens next?
The good news is that, despite the large numbers failing to update security strategies for the cloud era, many UK organisations are looking for a unified platform to manage on-premises and cloud security. Our research found that a lack of integration between security tooling for both environments was the biggest day-to-day operational headache for a third (33%) of respondents and the biggest barrier to cloud security adoption for 43%. Most (54%) said they want a vendor “aligned” to their cloud journey.

What does this mean in practice? It means a platform that offers comprehensive protection across physical, virtual cloud and container environments, including tools to spot crucial configuration errors. It means a high degree of automation to accelerate compliance and improve operational efficiency. And it means simple deployment and management with tight integration into the leading cloud infrastructure platforms.

Trend Micro Cloud One offers all this and more via a modular architecture.

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