The use of cloud computing, while by no means new, has become more and more popular, and has shown a massive growth over recent years. In fact, according to this report by Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3% in 2019, to reach a total of $206.2B, which is a significant rise on the 2018 total of $175.8B. With capabilities that have great economic and applicative benefits, such as resource sharing, micro-segmentation, serverless computing, and delivery of software applications and storage “on-demand” (SaaS), Cloud is becoming a dominant design for DevOps, AI and Machine Learning, storage and file sharing, and even networking infrastructure and security.
Initial Response to Cloud
The response of the companies in the traditional industry space was mixed. There was no automatic widespread recognition of Cloud for its benefits, nor was there a broader comprehension of precisely what Cloud had to offer. It took time, but the current understanding across the board is that moving to the cloud is essential, although the majority are still retaining an on-premises (on-prem) presence for at least some of their assets. This allows us to draw the conclusion that on-prem is not yet dead per se, though as a standalone “strategy”, it most definitely is. According to Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, CTO of Microsoft Israel, “in ten years from now, approximately 90% of the assets in the world will be cloud based.”
Cloud and Security, Two Perspectives
1. Cloud is Wonderful, But…
Migration to cloud services is by no means a simple proposition. When migrating, companies open themselves up to a broad variety of new cyber risks. Considering the cloud-based infrastructure is important, as it is very different to the traditional enterprise network. Migration to the cloud means that many organizational and sensitive assets (including data, apps and so on) are located outside of company premises, with limited visibility, which is a further challenge to a comprehensive and watertight security approach – if such a thing can even be considered a plausible reality in the age of cybercrime. There are different kinds of cyber attacks. There are those which are entirely cloud oriented, those that are hybrid, and those aimed only at on-prem installations. Targets can exist on-prem, and yet the attack can begin in the cloud – and the other way round. To compound things yet further, traditional security products are becoming almost irrelevant for protecting assets over cloud services. According to Gartner’s analysts, the projection is that “enterprises that implement appropriate cloud visibility and control tools will experience one-third fewer security failures.” Many traditional security vendors are now expanding their portfolios of products to include solutions that tackle the ever-increasing surge of new, Cloud-focused threats within their suites. Examples of this include CheckPoint, with their CloudGuard offering, made possible by their acquisition of the Israeli-based Dome9, Cisco Systems, with their Umbrella and CloudLock offerings, and AlgoSec.
Cloud is a far more dynamic approach than on-prem. The economy of scale that this affords is precisely the advantage of the cloud. Rather than becoming the cause of any security problems, Cloud can be taken advantage of, and can be used for advanced analytics, visibility, and can help keep data more secure.
2. Cloud is Wonderful, Especially for Security and Risk-Management Issues
“Security vendors who don’t embrace the cloud in some way, will not survive.”
Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, CTO of Microsoft Israel
All next generation cybersecurity solutions are already being consumed over cloud. This is a perspective best represented by Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, quoted above, and her paradigm of “The future of cybersecurity is in the cloud”. This paradigm means that the great capabilities of cloud can and should be exploited in the service of layers of effective defense. Cloud is a great computing power that enables the comprehensive analysis of massive amounts of data, and it is the fact that it is in the Cloud which makes it so very successful. Were the large majority of the capabilities afforded by the Cloud used in an on-prem setting, it would be extremely expensive, and likely almost impossible to execute.
A further and even more radical paradigm indicates that if we move all of our network and applications to be over cloud – i.e. cloud-native architecture– we will be inherently more secure because the nature of cloud computing is de facto more secure. While it may seem as though “Cloud-native” sounds like a buzzword, there is much truth in what it implies. The level and quality of services and capabilities offered by the Cloud are not really available through any other medium.
Early Identification Has Led to a Flourishing Ecosystem
“Israeli start-ups are usually the first to spot and identify a trend early-on, so it was no surprise that so many pinpointed Cloud as a rising and effective trend in such a timely manner. As a result of this unique and intuitive far-sightedness, the Israeli Cybersecurity ecosystem is flourishing, which is great to see. Many of these prophetic companies and their solutions are both in and leveraging the benefits of the Cloud.”
Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, CTO of Microsoft Israel