Setting Up Security for Cloud-Based Operations Proving Greater Challenge Than Expected

July 08, 2016

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

The perception of cloud-based systems has been changing over the years since its start, and these days, there are plenty ready to consider the cloud as a safer alternative to the physical version. A new study from Forrester (News - Alert) Consulting and Alert Logic, meanwhile, suggests that maybe it's not as cut-and-dried as that, and some businesses are finding that adapting security to cloud-based environments is a bigger challenge than expected.

The study revealed that the biggest challenges involved in establishing security for cloud applications are two of the most familiar: difficulties in finding talent that can handle the job, and issues of both financial and technical resources to make such a move happen. Though this isn't stopping many firms from making the necessary moves anyway, or at least starting to; the study noted 51 percent of respondents are already stepping up investment in security operations thanks to cloud computing in general, while 49 percent are bringing in new policies and controls. Another 46 percent, meanwhile, are currently looking at security operations and controls for all environments—not just cloud—and working from there. Thirty-four percent changed the way vulnerabilities were managed, this time focusing on scanning systems for hybrid environments.

What's more, security partners became especially valuable in this new environment; 83 percent turned to experts for help in threat intelligence analysis, while 80 percent sought help with public cloud security. Rounding out the top five calls for expert help were security operations, network security, and data privacy and compliance issues.

Alert Logic's chief marketing officer, Ben Matheson, commented “Cloud computing enables businesses to invest more time in innovation and less time managing IT infrastructure. In the same way, many businesses are finding that supplementing or outsourcing their security operations with cloud security vendors that offer cloud-native technologies and fully managed services is an increasingly strategic option.”

This, in a nutshell, is essentially the kind of thinking that made cloud computing into the highly-secure viable alternative to on-premise material that it is today. When cloud computing first got started, very few believed it was even worthwhile. Yet cloud vendors, seeing that security objections were common among many potential clients, worked to augment security in a big way. As a result, the greatest objection to cloud computing had been mostly removed, and a new kind of gold rush was on in cloud computing.

Security is still a big problem for companies—data is always potentially at risk—but developments in cloud security continue to this day, working to make this new platform a security powerhouse for protecting data and making sure it goes only where it should. Whether calling in outside help or improving methods in-house, the study shows that security is top priority.

Edited by Maurice Nagle