2022 The Year in Review: Top Cloud Security Risks
2022 The Year in Review: Top Cloud Security Risks
We have collected the top security challenges and strategies to help you manage your hybrid cloud security effectively in 2023
Organizations are no longer migrating to the cloud, they are already there!
In recent years, the rapid adoption of cloud computing continued to surge due to the many benefits that it offers. Many organizations now rely on the cloud to run their servers, host cloud applications, and store critical data. It enables organizations to scale, allowing users to collaborate from anywhere, resulting in increased flexibility and productivity, all while reducing costs.
- 94% of enterprises use cloud services and cloud.
- 67% of enterprise infrastructure is now cloud-based.
- 92% of businesses have a multi-cloud strategy in place or in the works.
There is a perpetual myth that cloud platforms are fundamentally secure, but in reality, when improperly managed or configured, they can be exposed to vulnerabilities and introduce your organization to sophisticated cyber threats, no matter if you’re in the cloud or on-prem.
The Frequency of Security Breaches
A series of high-profile breaches and leaks of sensitive data in 2022 called attention to cloud security and forced companies to rethink cloud readiness, security infrastructure and security posture. In fact, according to the same study referenced above, 93% of organizations identify cloud security as their number one concern, with 66% of them being worried about data leakage as their top concern.
Hybrid Cloud Security & Compliance Challenges
As we put a bow on 2022, addressing the ever-evolving and complex security and compliance challenges continue to be a major undertaking. There are numerous challenges associated with securing diverse cloud environments. Organizations are limited when it comes to visibility in hybrid cloud environments. With a vaguely defined shared responsibility model and blurring of security boundaries, organizations fail to provide the necessary defense against today’s evolving threats.
According to a recent article published by Splunk on Forbes, the top cloud security concerns for organizations are:
Despite being aware of these challenges not all organizations are effectively assessing their cloud security and compliance postures in real time. Additionally, they continue to do so manually, spending time and money on resources, leaving room for errors resulting in exposure of sensitive data and turning it into a very costly affair.
Here are the six cloud security and compliance challenges you should consider when evaluating your security posture and cloud solutions:
- Hybrid cloud visibility
Hybrid cloud is the preferred IT model to do business today. It enables organizations to seamlessly upgrade or move workloads across private and public clouds to meet and manage the evolving needs of their business. However, due to its dynamic and diverse nature, hybrid clouds can make managing risk difficult. Organizations face the risk of losing control of their systems, especially when you have active workloads running simultaneously on premise and in the cloud.
Unless you have comprehensive visibility across your cloud environment, it can lead to a lack of communication, creating chaos in terms of integration, information flows, resulting in data silos and blind spots.
As the saying goes “You can’t protect what you can’t see.” Comprehensive cloud visibility is fundamental to effectively protecting your data assets, infrastructure and applications. You must have a detailed view of all activity (data assets, distributed architectures, containers, VMs, etc.) in your cloud environment.
Achieving cloud visibility is the first step. Once you have an all-encompassing view of your hybrid cloud, you need a security and compliance platform that can scale up and provide complete visibility through continuous observability, constantly monitoring for any drift in security and compliance posture to prioritize mitigation.
- Regulatory non-compliance
National and state governments continue to strengthen their existing laws and regulations and institute new ones. With data sovereignty and compliance becoming extremely stringent, organizations will face severe ramifications to non-compliance which can result in a detrimental impact on the business. Considering the rigorous nature of regulatory compliance, the expense of non-compliance will far outweigh the cost of implementing an automated security and compliance solution.
Examples of the cost of non-compliance: Non-compliance with GDPR EU can cost an organization 4% of its worldwide annual revenue for the preceding financial year or €20 million ($23 million). Non-compliance with HIPAA can cost an organization $1.9 annually, adding to the damage of compliance fines and breach and remediation cost is loss of reputation leading to business downtime. Compliance cannot be viewed as a checkbox you complete. It needs to be continuously monitored, analyzed, and reported on an on-going basis.
- Cloud misconfigurations
Cloud misconfigurations are one of the most common causes of security breaches. These cyber threats come in many forms such as ransomware, malware, or insider threats that use vulnerabilities that can provide attackers with unauthorized access to the environment and exploit valuable information and assets. It is commonly caused when an organization has not correctly configured their cloud-based systems which in result, can lead to severe consequences that could cost the organization millions of dollars and lead to serious reputational damages.
According to Gartner, “99% of cloud security failures through 2025 will be the customer’s fault, and these are often due to security misconfigurations.”
Cloud configuration management can be very complex. The complexity of hybrid cloud environments and the shared responsibility model of cloud security, amplifies the challenges for organizations who are lacking complete visibility and control over their underlying infrastructure.
Organizations must leverage continuous monitoring that covers the full scope of their company infrastructure, to report for drift in security and compliance posture and misconfiguration issues, on an ongoing basis to detect and remediate risks instantly.
- Insecure APIs
APIs serve numerous advantages as they enable data transmission between applications or components of the applications over the Internet or a private network, which simplifies and speeds up software development, while reducing costs.
Due to the many advantages to enabling digital transformation initiatives, organizations have been leveraging APIs to open access to data and application to partners, customers and others which resulted in APIs becoming the source of security breaches, especially if left unprotected.
“As organizations are securing their web applications, they can’t forget about their APIs”, says Forrester analyst Sandy Carielli. “Security pros must specifically build in API security and not assume that it’s rolled into their existing web application protections.”
Organizations must pay attention in the design stage to security measures and should ensure that all API traffic is continuously encrypted and authenticated at every level of every stack across the hybrid cloud environments ensuring continuous protection against threats.
- Identity and access management (IAM) misconfigurations
Identity and access management (IAM) misconfigurations are one of the most common concerns in hybrid cloud security and DevOps environments. Poorly managed IAMs that result from improper management of secrets, including credentials, certificates, and keys, used to authenticate users and machines, provides cyber criminals the perfect opportunity to exploit an organization’s sensitive information.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, 75% of cloud security failures will result from inadequate management of identities, access, and privileges, up from 50% in 2020. There are several factors driving these cloud security deficiencies.
Maintaining the least access and least privilege is fundamental to protecting your cloud.
Organizations must know the access privileges and controls of every single user and machine. To keep vulnerabilities at bay, it is imperative to continuously learn and keep track of who is accessing what, in which location, using what device and how. At any given point, only the required level of access must be granted to any specific role, whether human or machine.
Organizations must invest in a technology and personnel to control and enforce user and machine access, that centralizes IAM, enables single sign on, and multi factor authentication, keeps granular control over its user identities, governs access to resources, enforces security, and tracks activity for system visibility.
- Open-source security risks
The case for open source software is compelling, it has now become a standard part of the SDLC for many organizations, as it enables developers to access freely available libraries, frameworks and processes and accelerate development to deployment and therefore drive innovation at lower costs. According to Forrester, “More than 50% of Fortune 500 companies use open source software (OSS) for their development projects.” DevOps teams prefer open source technology as it helps create quality software at a faster pace and lets the organization customize applications or software components to meet its evolving business needs.
Though open source enables speed and agility, the growth in application development and software comes with an increased share of risks for exposures as more vulnerabilities are emerging and attacks have been increasing.
“Open-source vulnerabilities typically stem from poorly written code that leave gaps, which attackers can use to carry out malicious activities—such as extracting sensitive data or damaging a system.”
Open source introduces two significant risks: intellectual property (IP) risk from restrictive and reciprocal licenses, and security risk from components with code vulnerabilities.
Organizations must secure not just the code that they write, but also the code that they use from open source platforms.
Furthermore, application development teams need an efficient way to automate open-source security and compliance at scale and shifting security left across the software development lifecycle from development to deployment. They need to have the proper tools to be able to identify and fix application vulnerabilities without slowing down the pace of software delivery.
With organizations continuing to expand their cloud footprints, the surge in human and machine identities continue to rise, increasing the potential for a variety of security and compliance breaches. Protecting your hybrid cloud assets with an integrated solution that provides comprehensive view and control, while continuously monitoring and analyzing your cloud assets on an on-going basis is an urgent necessity. It allows you to take advantage of the multitude of benefits that cloud-enabled digital ecosystems offer to scale your business.
Additionally, an effective security and compliance implementation in a hybrid cloud environment involves deploying a successful shared responsibility model. For this, you need to understand where the cloud service provider’s responsibility ends and your responsibility begins. This clarity will help you cover all bases effectively.
Book a demo today to see how Caveonix can help your organization address today’s top security and compliance challenges head-on.