Assessing the Evolution and Future of Cloud Security

Assessing the Evolution and Future of Cloud Security

For those in the cybersecurity industry, the cloud is a well-known, often-cited technology. But for as common as it is now, cloud security hasn’t always been as reliable and popular. Its history and evolution are certainly interesting, and, though it has advanced significantly along the way, there are still endless possibilities for its potential.

Continue reading to learn more about the evolution of cloud security and to get a peek into its trends for the future. 


What is the Cloud?

This may be common knowledge for cybersecurity and IT professionals, but in order for us to know where we’re going, we first have to establish a solid understanding of the current state of cloud security. 

Generally speaking, the cloud is a vast network of remote servers around the world that are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem. These servers are used to store and manage data, run applications, or deliver content or a service such as streaming videos, web mail, office productivity software, or social media.1 Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are among the top providers of cloud security and cloud computing services. 

There are currently four types of the cloud available: public, private, hybrid, and community. The public cloud is open to anyone, and the cloud service provider manages and operates all of its resources; Gmail is a great example of a public cloud platform. In the private cloud, an organization manages and stores resources by itself according to its unique needs. A private cloud is only available to a single entity and usually requires authentication to access its content. 

As the name implies, a hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private clouds. This is often the best method for businesses since you can keep some information confidential while allowing multiple users to access other information. Lastly, a community cloud is recommended for wider sharing of resources between organizations, such as with governmental agencies.


The Evolution of Cloud Security

It may seem like the cloud is a more recent advancement, but some say its origin can be traced back to as early as the 1940s.2 After famed mathematician and logician Alan Turing’s 1930s work on early computing, some general-purpose mainframes, like the ENIAC, were introduced. A few decades later, the field of cloud computing advanced again when computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider devised an interconnected system of computers to share data. In 1969, this concept evolved into the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), a primitive version of the internet. 

From there, there was slow and steady progress: IBM released its Virtual Machine (VM) operating system in 1972, Salesforce became the first company to offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) over the internet in the 90s, and in 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was created, Google introduced its shareable Google Docs, and Netflix launched its massive streaming library.2

Now, businesses of all kinds have adopted the cloud as a way to improve security and save money. To put a quantifiable measurement on this growth, the U.S. cloud computing market has exploded from a value of 73.6 billion dollars in 2018 to 274.79 billion in 2020. And things aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon—that market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1% from 2021 to 2028.3

Effects From the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic was a dark time for many sectors, but cloud security actually hit a growth spurt. As most people began to work from home, businesses could no longer rely on local servers and in-office hardware (which is a blessing in disguise; surveys suggest that about 60% of business-sensitive information on hard drives is held insecurely).3 Because of this, companies were forced to either adopt a cloud platform (if they hadn’t already) or amp up their current platform’s capabilities. This included creating and stabilizing virtual private networks, document storage, and communication channels.

Without the cloud, it would’ve been impossible—not to mention highly inefficient, expensive, and dangerous—for most of the world’s companies to continue operating as they had. Yet almost as soon as workers had begun to settle into their new systems, attackers launched a “cyber pandemic” of their own to exploit new work-from-home weaknesses. With fewer protections on personal internet connections and more long distance communications, it was the perfect setup for hackers to step in.4 The result is staggering: cybercrime has increased by 600% since the beginning of the pandemic, and it only keeps getting worse.5


The Future of Cloud Security

As the cyber war continues to rage on, data security and privacy are the primary concerns for organizations going forward. To advance this mission, security professionals should stay aware of new cloud features, capabilities, and providers, specifically as they pertain to data encryption, authorization management, access control, cloud integration, communication security, monitoring, auditing, and business continuity services.3

Here are some of the top trends for cloud security to keep an eye on:6

1. Managed solutions
It’s certainly time-intensive to learn how (and spend time) to migrate, manage, organize, and optimize an entire cloud platform, especially for large-scale clients. By working with a vendor (preferably from the cloud security provider) to manage their day-to-day cloud operations, organizations can focus on larger business goals versus security tasks.

2. Continuous monitoring
With continuous monitoring, businesses can be made aware of issues immediately, rather than at a set time. This follows a Define, Establish, Implement, Analyze, Respond, and Review/Update process 24/7 to make sure nothing slips through.

3. Predictive security
Instead of reacting to threats after they occur, predictive security will help to identify and mount a defense before they happen. This proactive approach will save time and money, as well as removing the element of surprise for cybercriminals.

4. AI and machine learning
The main components behind predictive security are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These systems continuously track business patterns to identify risks, send alerts, and maximize efficiencies, all without human interference.


Staying Ahead of What’s Next

There’s no doubt that cloud security will continue to evolve, and so will our abilities to manage and harness its power. If you’d like to stay up to date in cloud security and other cybersecurity trends, consider enrolling in courses that are focused on the future of the field. Your advanced expertise in this area will either help you add immense value to your current organization, or find a new position to match your heightened skills. Either way, you can be confident you’re gaining crucial knowledge for the modern market. 


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