The Cloud in 2019: Current Uses and Emerging Risks

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In the current tech landscape, one would be hard-pressed to find an organization that operates without the help of cloud environments and capabilities. From data storage and document sharing to enabling remote access and communication, the cloud represents the most critical linchpin of today’s IT-focused business processes.

What’s more, the power of the cloud is only continuing to grow. Organizations across every industry are increasing their cloud investments right alongside their migration plans, shifting a rising number of workloads and key applications to off-prem environments. While this certainly bodes well for key cloud benefits like flexibility and productivity, there are some risks to be aware of.

Enterprises aren’t the only ones with their eyes on the cloud – hackers are attacking these environments more frequently than ever before. As businesses ramp up their cloud initiatives, it’s also imperative that stakeholders keep up with emerging use cases and approaches, as well as the potential threats.

Current cloud use by the numbers

By now, there’s simply no arguing against the cloud as a requirement for business. According to current industry research and predictions, nearly half of all IT expenditures were devoted to cloud initiatives last year, and by 2020, this will increase to as much as 70 percent of all tech spending, Forbes reported.

Let’s take a deeper look at the current cloud market:

  • There’s considerable growth for all types of cloud architectures, including public, private and hybrid. The worldwide public cloud services sector, in particular, is on track to expand by more than 17 percent in 2019 alone, growing from its 2018 value of $175.8 billion to $206.2 billion, according to statistics gathered by Forbes.
  • Financial resource allocation on the part of enterprises is growing as well. This year, IT infrastructure-focused spending, including expenditures on things like server, storage and switches, will experience a more than 10 percent year-over-year growth rate, surpassing a value of $52.3 billion this year.
  • Spending will continue to shift toward cloud initiatives through 2019 and beyond, with over $1.3 trillion in overarching IT spending being impacted by rising cloud allocations by 2022. This includes 22 percent of spending in key enterprise IT markets shifting to the cloud over the next three years, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2018.
  • SaaS is on the rise as well, with the market now contributing $20 billion to software vendors’ quarterly revenues. These profits are also on track to grow by 32 percent each year.

A rise in spending signals a few things, including increasing workloads being supported by cloud environments, as well as a more prominent focus on off-prem operations. So how, exactly, are these cloud investments being harnessed this year?

Cloud usage trends

There are a few trending use cases and cloud-centered approaches coming to light this year. These include emerging initiatives like:

  • Increasing use of cloud services across the board: While this may seem obvious, it’s important to understand that critical role that cloud services, including SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, now play in enterprise infrastructure. As Forbes Technology Council’s Asokan Ashok noted, usage of these cloud-based, as-a-service offerings will experience “an explosion” over the next few years, with the SaaS market on track to grow 18 percent by 2020, and rising investments in PaaS offerings making it the fastest growing sector of cloud solutions currently. Finally, the IaaS market is forecast to reach $72.4 billion by 2020, signaling the fact that more enterprises are jumping on board with subscription cloud solutions.
  • Hybrid continues to grow: While there are certainly key use cases centered around purely public or private environments, 2019 will continue to rising investments in hybrid cloud solutions that can offer the best of both. This is particularly true for businesses that are still getting up and running with their cloud infrastructures. “Making a full transition to the cloud has proved more challenging than anticipated. So here is where hybrid cloud solutions will play an important role,” Ashok wrote.
  • Cloud security become more imperative – and more complex: As enterprises continue to make more investments in cloud solutions, stakeholders’ focus on end-to-end security must increase as well. At the same time, though, emerging threats and new security standards like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation are making cloud security more complex than before.

Key cloud threats

While cloud-focused malware samples are certainly nothing new, there are a few dangerous threats poised to impact enterprise cloud usage this year.

As RedLock contributor Michael Higashi noted, one issue that’s continuing to create vulnerabilities for enterprise cloud environments are insecure account credentials and other insider threats. Shadow IT continues to pose an issue, and this combined with a critical lack of insight into cloud operations can compound the overall threat. Higashi reported that only 7 percent of businesses can say they have “good” visibility across their cloud-based data, and the vast majority of successful breaches – 80 percent – rely on the use of privileged account credentials.

In addition, inconsistent patching can create additional holes for malicious actors and other threats to slip through the cracks. One RedLock study found that nearly one-quarter of all businesses leverage cloud hosts that lack the proper high-priority security patches in public cloud environments.

Cryptojacking is also threatening cloud platforms and resources across industry sectors. While this threat may not appear as malicious at first glance, the unauthorized use of considerable resources required to support cryptocurrency mining can severely impact performance levels, impeding legitimate user processes.

Cloud security in 2019

Given current across-the-board cloud usage – which is only on the rise – alongside the increasing threats to cloud-based platforms, there are a few key security processes that enterprises should be sure are in place.

As statistics show, simple passwords are no longer enough to safeguard key accounts. Wherever possible, IT stakeholders should ensure that two-factor authentication is in place to reduce the chances of compromised credentials and a successful breach.

In addition, security leaders should utilize advanced monitoring to ensure they have the proper insight into the cloud architectures, access and usage. It’s important to regularly take stock of the cloud apps employees are using in order to prevent shadow IT and reduce holes in the business’s security posture.

Finally, it’s critical for enterprises to have innovative and intelligent security solutions in place to safeguard the cloud apps that they use the most. Trend Micro’s Hybrid Cloud Security solution helps uncomplicate cloud security while providing you with the high-level visibility needed to manage your on-site and cloud environments.

To find out more about securing your cloud infrastructure connect with us about adding Hybrid Cloud Security today.

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