Cloud computing and storage has been a hot topic in recent years, with cloud systems like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud becoming increasingly popular within enterprises. But what makes the cloud so popular among businesses?
By definition, cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote, internet-hosted servers to manage, process and store data. While it may not sound significant, cloud computing poses an enormous range of benefits to businesses. Not only can organizations of all sizes use these powerful servers without paying for new equipment, but they can also access their data from any internet-connected device, easily scale their cloud subscription to fit their needs, and integrate applications into their systems more efficiently.
With almost everything in the digital realm connecting to the cloud, it only makes sense to take advantage of the incredible storage power, connectivity and accessibility of the cloud. Many innovators are doing just that, using the unique properties of the cloud to push for new capabilities and technologies.
Although this is an exciting prospect, some organizations remain skeptical of the security of cloud technology, choosing to stick with their local data storage options. While it is true that cyber attacks are continuing to increase in size, scope and sophistication, innovations in cloud security are keeping up the pace, and they’re expected to be as extensive and groundbreaking as any other technology developed through the cloud.
Interested in what the future of cloud computing might look like? Read on to learn more about cloud innovations and data security predictions for the near future.
Cloud Computing Predictions
The popularity of the cloud is extremely promising and particularly common among startups and tech companies, with enterprises adopting the cloud at a significantly lower rate. Overall, corporate utilization of and spending on the cloud is expected to grow considerably by 2020, with even reluctant corporations making the switch within the next few years. One prediction says 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by the end of the decade.
A few things you can expect to see advancing over the next few years include:
- Crowd-Sourced Storage and Data: Crowdsourced storage and data is expected to become a cost-effective option for businesses within the next few years. Currently, the cloud tends to be expensive, slow and sometimes insecure. Crowdsourcing storage means you can share a friend’s or stranger’s storage to keep your data at a lower cost. Crowdsourced data, however, means major cloud players give away free cloud storage as a means to collect data for analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.
- Serverless Cloud Computing: Serverless Cloud Computing allows developers to design and operate applications and services without having to configure or manage a server. This ability to use the cloud without managing infrastructure helps improve costs and efficiency while making it easier for developers to create and release updates.
- Edge Computing: Edge computing is essentially processing data at the edge of a network. This method helps to optimize cloud computing by streamlining the flow of traffic from network devices and is expected to increase in popularity over the next few years.
- Hybrid Cloud Solutions: Cloud to cloud and cloud to on-premise connectivity are expected to be very popular, especially among enterprises who are looking for flexibility in a cloud system. With cloud to cloud connectivity, businesses can connect and integrate multiple solutions by taking advantage of cloud providers who have opened up their APIs. In cloud to on-premise connectivity, however, an enterprise can blend their cloud solutions and on-premise solutions using heavy customization to fit their specific needs and desires. Cloud to on-premise connectivity is particularly useful for enterprises who want to control their data flow and for enterprises who balk at the idea of migrating all their data and systems to the cloud.
- Cost Wars: The cloud is still relatively expensive, even for corporations, and the more businesses looking into cloud solutions, the more competitive the market is going to get. Over the next few years, competing cloud providers will look for new ways to cut costs without cutting quality, taking advantage of new technologies to help push their prices down.
- Artificial Intelligence: Half of all IT professionals believe artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a huge role in the adoption of cloud computing going into 2020, with predictions placing the growth at 67 percent. Much of this has to do with the fact that private servers and devices will not be sophisticated or extensive enough to host AI, but the cloud will. With access to the cloud, organizations can gain access to AI and machine learning, benefiting from the program’s ability to learn.
- Increased Volume of Data: Increased utilization means an increase in data stored on the cloud, and with the Internet of Things (IoT) continually expanding, there’s more data in the cloud than ever before. As such, professionals are expecting significant changes to occur in data organization and infrastructure.
All of these advancements and developments are expected to come with major changes in everyday life. Cloud computing, improved automation and the introduction of artificial intelligence may significantly change the way organizations work. Cloud computing allows for greater accessibility to company data from any location, increasing the capacity for remote work and potentially reducing the number of brick and mortar locations for small to mid-size companies. A more interesting question, however, is what happens when artificial intelligence becomes a common and accessible tool?
Automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace introduces an interesting question that many businesses and governments are contemplating — what happens to the traditional human work week when most processes are automated?
While many jobs in the trades will continue to require consistent work hours, skilled office and tech jobs may not require as much work, as automation and artificial intelligence become more accessible. Several potential solutions are currently in rotation, from universal income to decreased workday hours to a transition to primarily remote workplaces. Several businesses and countries are experimenting with the traditional work week, and we can expect even more proposed changes as artificial intelligence draws ever closer to being an accessible reality.
Data Security Predictions
While cloud computing offers a bright future with attractive potential, you do need to consider the matter of security. Currently, cloud service providers are far from equal in their dedication to security, with varying quality of configuration, authentication, access control and patching. In the present day, a poor quality cloud system can leave businesses vulnerable to attack, which can be devastatingly costly.
According to a 2017 report by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2017 was $3.62 million, with each lost or stolen record costing an average of $141. While this represents an overall decrease in cost over 2016, the size of the average breach actually increased in that year by 1.8 percent. Its also worthwhile to mention that $3.62 million, while affordable for some enterprises, can easily destroy small- and medium-sized businesses.
These issues are only expected to get more complex over time. A few predictions for data security in the next few years are:
- Threat Complexity: One of the arising issues of data security protection is the increase in threat complexity. As more devices connect to the cloud and enterprise networks, more breach points are connected to the system. Each one of these points may have vulnerabilities, leaving the whole system open for an attack. Addressing this issue usually has to do with limiting the number of devices connected to a network, but this is becoming increasingly more difficult to control. However, by combining intelligent threat detection systems with organizational security measures like mandatory security checkups, these issues can be minimized.
- Limitations of Security Detection: Currently, the standard network security system has relied on intrusion detection systems, which track specific activities to identify intruders. However, these types of security detection systems tend to miss breaches coming from inside the company. For examples, employees may unknowingly let in intruders, thinking they are trusted users. These intrusions will not be identifiable using a traditional intrusion detection system — and if attackers gain access to administrative roles, the whole system could be compromised.
- Skilled Attackers: Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, as attackers gain knowledge and funding. State-sponsored hackers are becoming more common in the world of international espionage, backed by enormous funding efforts, skilled tactics and advanced technology. Defense technology must be equally advanced to keep up with such threats.
- Broadened Definitions: Security historically covered consumer and financial data, but the definition of what constitutes as “secured data” has been changing for organizations over the past few years. An increased focus has been placed on intellectual property, which is why increased measures have been put in place to protect these among businesses. Additionally, reputation and service delivery have been of increased focus, especially as consumers become more influenced by online research and the convenience of delivery. Bad press or an undelivered service can lose businesses their customers, which destroys profitability over time.
While these predictions and concerns have been a dark mark on the potential of cloud computing, providers have carefully considered and developed solutions to address them.
Rethinking Traditional Security Technology
As big data and cloud technology continue to advance, security for the cloud will need to become more proactive and less reactive, using innovation both for customers and their security. Here three potential changes in cloud security technology to look out for.
1. Increased Automation
One of the biggest and most common expectations for cloud security is an increase in automation. Cloud computing allows businesses to make more use of real-time analytics, which can be paired with programs that look for certain trends and behaviors to identify security threats.
After identifying a pattern or combination of behaviors, a security system can implement an automated response, quarantining systems, changing settings, locking accounts and issuing alerts to security teams and affected individuals. By accomplishing this through automation, companies can shut down breaches more quickly, minimizing the effect of an attack.
2. Holistic View of Threats
Security analysis viewpoints are also changing to keep up with the new advances in cloud technology. Instead of seeing security threats as modular, security teams are starting to look at threats in a holistic manner, collaborating with other teams to understand the range of threats they are dealing with. This type of collaboration in cybersecurity is expected to expand, with users and companies creating accessible and shareable tools and data systems.
Some speculate we may eventually see a type of global threat monitory system using all the accumulated data from corporations and users across the globe. This type of data would allow for the creation of sophisticated predictive security systems that would stop cyberspies for years to come and help us identify new potential threats as they arise.
3. Third-Party Security
One of the big predictions for the future is the prevalence of third-party data security and infrastructure providers. While some businesses still point to the security considerations of the cloud as a reason not to switch, the reality is that the cloud is ultimately safe for data — as long as you take the right precautions, like enforcing programming infrastructure and applying automation to security processes.
In fact, Gartner predicted that in 2018, the enterprises that implemented the right combination of cloud visibility and control tools would experience one-third fewer security failures than the 40 percent of enterprises that did not. Gartner also predicts that through 2020, cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads will experience at least 60 percent fewer security conflicts than those in conventional data centers. By 2022, at least 95 percent of cloud security failures won’t be attributed to the cloud, but rather to the customer for not implementing appropriate policies, risk avoidance strategies and security measures.
These are only a few examples of what may be coming shortly — the only thing we know for sure is that the cloud is going to change, and corporations and cloud security companies must change with it. Any company using the cloud needs a flexible, forward-thinking partner in cloud security.
How BlackStratus Can Help
If you’re looking for a cloud security partner that is ready to take on advances in the cloud as they come, BlackStratus is here to help.
BlackStratus offers advanced, high-tech SIEM products and services that are highly scalable and effective for even small- to medium-sized businesses. Instead of dealing with cybersecurity threats yourself, we can provide advanced security options that can help prevent attacks before they happen and mitigate the effects of successful breaches.
How do we do all this? BlackStratus is a security operations center (SOC) providing a professional team of cybersecurity experts, analysts and engineers whose sole job is to protect your system. Our teams work tirelessly to create and improve programs and analytical systems that stay on top of the latest security threats and cyberattack trends, so you don’t have to.
At BlackStratus, we offer a full range of services, designed to help businesses like yours achieve the security they need to operate safely in the modern marketplace. To learn more about our products and services, contact us today for more information.