Public Cloud Adoption is Forcing Companies to Rethink Their Overall Security Operations Strategy

This week, Alert Logic released the results of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting (June 2016). The study was based upon a survey of 100 U.S. and U.K. IT professionals responsible for cloud security infrastructure. The purpose of the study was to reflect the priorities and challenges security teams face due to increasing business demand for scalable, on-demand, cloud-based IT service delivery. 

You can download the full study and infographic at alertlogic.com/forrester.

Cloud Adoption: A Catalyst for Broader Change in Security Operations
Study participants reported increasing investment in security operations (51%) and instituting new policies and controls (49%), both as a direct result of cloud adoption. These data points underscore some of the basic IT security considerations associated with cloud adoption, namely, managing a quickly expanding IT footprint, and interpreting and implementing the shared responsibility model set forth by public cloud providers.

Public Cloud Adoption is Forcing Companies to Rethink Their Overall Security Operations Strategy

Perhaps a less expected data point is this one: 46% are re-evaluating their entire security operations and controls, across all environments, as a result of cloud adoption.                

What are the drivers that are forcing broader changes in security operations strategy? What are the ways that cloud adoption is indirectly influencing change?

  • Adoption of cloud and hybrid environments requires advanced security capabilities. IT departments have been challenged to meet the business need for on-demand infrastructure, while also maintaining data privacy and compliance requirements and supporting legacy business applications. Companies have responded to these needs and constraints by adopting new cloud and hybrid IT service delivery models.  But, detecting changes in assets and network topology and responding to the resulting vulnerabilities in a coordinated and proactive way is a capability few companies are prepared to deliver.
  • Legacy security tools and systems are not designed for cloud. Many companies are finding that the tools and systems they invested in to protect their on-premises infrastructure are not instrumented to protect cloud-based environments. Further, those tools and systems may actually impede the flexible and dynamic nature of cloud infrastructure. 
  • Desire for increased security maturity in response to an evolving threat landscape. The threat landscape is constantly evolving. As a result, IT security professionals are shifting from a reactive “prevent” approach to a proactive, “detect and respond” approach.  This shift in approach is applicable to all types of environments, not just cloud.

These conditions, combined with the potential loss of money and reputation as a result of a security breach, are leading many companies to re-evaluate their overall security operations strategy.

Rethinking Your Security Operations Resourcing Strategy with Cloud
For most companies, achieving security maturity exclusively through in-house security operations is impractical, and ultimately raises new questions.

  • Does my IT organization have the right methods, tools and skillsets to secure all of our environments?
  • Is it beneficial to continually invest in building new security capabilities in-house?
  • How do I know when I’ve achieved my security operations objectives?

For these reasons, few companies choose to provide security services and capabilities exclusively through in-house security operations centers (SOCs). More commonly, companies seek to augment their in-house capabilities with managed security services, and managed detection and response services built for cloud, like those provided by Alert Logic.  

What's driving this choice - as ranked by study participants - is aligned to team's top challenges for building cloud security capabilities within their SOC. Among the challenges they report are: managing security content (44%); identification of multi-vector attacks; threat intelligence (40%); and, correlating threat data (33%).

Public Cloud Adoption is Forcing Companies to Rethink Their Overall Security Operations Strategy

Alert Logic provides the people, processes and technology to solve these challenges across cloud, on-premises, hybrid and managed/hosted infrastructure. Alert Logic combines deep expertise in advanced threat detection technologies, SOC infrastructure and threat intelligence, as well as the security research and content development needed to deliver cloud security and compliance outcomes. Learn more about our cloud security services.

About the Author

Allison Armstrong - Vice President, Product and Technical Marketing

Allison Armstrong

Allison Armstrong has worked in the Cloud and Data Security, IAM, BPM, ITOM and ITFM markets for over 20 years, working with global customers across every vertical from small office through to multi-national corporates, Fed and SLED organizations. In her role as an expert product and market strategist for Alert Logic solutions, she is responsible for developing and implementing the Technical, Product, and GTM strategies for the global business.

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