In 2016, Venture Capitalist Benedict Evans offered an insightful observation on the way technology evolves: “the development of technologies tends to follow an s-curve: they improve slowly, then quickly, and then slowly again
And at that last stage, they’re really, really good. Everything has been optimized and worked out and understood, and they’re fast, cheap and reliable.” The statement still holds an element of truth today, especially when it comes to IT security technologies.
The introduction of cloud computing has revolutionised the way data is stored, transferred and used by today’s organisations. Even now, its growth and adoption haven’t shown any signs of slowing down, with research actually indicating the opposite. In fact, the majority of enterprises have now adopted a multi-cloud strategy. Despite members of the more cynical side of the cyber community claiming that IT security has never met the demands of the industry, Evans’ statement can be applied here as IT security providers have never been far behind in developing the technologies needed to keep organisations safe. They are often extremely beneficial to the end user, regardless of whether they receive recognition or not.
With cloud, many businesses are still in the process of migrating to the platform or considering whether to leverage some of its services. Security vendors are also naturally focusing their attention on this area too either by providing innovation or just adapting existing solutions to meet the growing demand. Another way of putting it is that such businesses are taking steps to address a requirement set by customers. Steve Jobs famously said:
Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.
Within the context of so many high-level breaches and data leaks, when it comes to the cloud, security is growing in importance and on its way to the top of the priority list. As with any new rising trend, there will be those that will look to capitalise on it, whether that’s through products or services that are supposedly purpose built for the cloud. But this is all part of the journey and indeed there are benefits to both users and security providers when it comes to cloud-based security.
The cost of deployment for cloud services is certainly one reason companies choose to use it. This is because organisations can select and pay only for the licenses they need, which leads to better efficiency when the time comes to implementing a cloud service. In addition, deploying cloud-based security software also brings peace of mind to users, who can carry out their work knowing that the system is being continuously monitored and patched. This in turn will lead to increased productivity for users and security teams as minimal maintenance or monitoring is required. Furthermore, cloud platforms are designed to be flexible and scalable to meet the specific requirements of the organisation, which itself could have multiple cloud providers, and make it possible to achieve seamless integration without disrupting already established operations and processes.
Enhancing cloud security does not solely benefit the end-user; providers can also realise much value. Cloud services typically offer subscription-based payment schemes and these enable businesses to foresee and accurately predict income. In addition, fixed operating costs generally don’t rise when more customers are acquired, which offers greater stability and predictability for businesses. Also, if you look at the logistics, cloud-providers are also able to service a larger geographical area; they can easily expand into new territories because there is no need to transport appliances or maintain infrastructure in-house. Automation is yet another benefit for cloud-based providers as a number of provisions and services can be automated to provide assistance or address common requests to allow personnel to focus their attention and resources on more urgent issues.
With the cloud market estimated to grow to roughly $9 billion by 2020, it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Naturally, there will be certain industries that will not see cloud-based security as a necessity but by and large, organisations that do leverage the cloud will require it, especially as they begin to move away from appliance-based security solutions.
Cloud security is not a requirement that will be needed in the future…it’s needed now and organisations need to realise this, preferably at the start of their cloud journeys so that they can implement the appropriate measures up-front, long before a breach or incident occurs.
About the Author
Javvad Malik is a London-based IT Security professional and security advocate for AlienVault. Better known as an active blogger, event speaker and industry commentator who is possibly best known as one of the industry’s most prolific video bloggers with his signature fresh and light-hearted perspective on security. His expertise ranges from host of cyber related topics including threat detection & intelligence, cloud, GDPR, cyber insurance & risk and open source.