The majority of enterprises have moved critical workloads to the cloud, with providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform vying for market share. However, many businesses remain unclear on which parties are responsible for which elements of cloud security, according to a Tuesday report from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat research team.
The Shared Responsibility Model of cloud security designates that cloud service providers are responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs all the services offered in the cloud, the report noted. Meanwhile, the cloud customer is responsible for monitoring risky configurations, anomalous user activities, suspicious network traffic, and host vulnerabilities.
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The year 2018 saw multiple high-profile breaches involving public cloud environments. However, none of these breaches were due to negligence on the part of the cloud service providers, the report noted.
Here are five key cloud security trends businesses must pay attention to to keep their workloads and data safe in 2019, according to the report.
1. Account compromises will increase in scale and velocity
Some 29% of organizations have potential cloud account compromises, research from Unit 42 found. Credential compromises in particular are growing, and organizations need to enforce strong governance and access hygiene policies. Enterprises should operate with the mindset that it's a matter of when, not if, an account compromise attempt will occur, and must implement monitoring to detect and respond to suspicious user activities, according to the report.
2. Cryptojacking attacks in the cloud will drop
The dropping value of cryptocurrencies combined with improving detection capabilities has led to fewer cryptojacking attacks in the cloud, the report found. Only 11% of organizations analyzed found cryptojacking activity within their public cloud environments. This means enterprises have a chance to get ahead and implement necessary protections before the next wave of attacks.
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3. Compliance will remain a work in progress
Nearly one third (32%) of organizations publicly exposed at least one cloud storage service, the report found. These risky resource configurations are the root cause of many high-profile breaches. Organizations are beginning to implement protections to address this problem, but there is still a long way to go before most have reached comprehensive compliance and governance across public cloud environments, according to the report.
4. Vulnerability management will continue to improve
Organizations that have moved workloads to the public cloud have an advantage over their on-premises peers when it comes to vulnerability management, as cloud service providers update their infrastructure to provide a first line of defense. However, companies need to do their part by identifying and patching vulnerable hosts, the report noted, as 23% of organizations have hosts missing critical patches in the cloud.
5. Managed container services will grow in popularity, but security risks remain
Managed container services in the cloud are becoming more popular, as they make it easy for developers to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications, the report found. However, many organizations lack basic security hygiene when it comes to these services, making Kubernetes pods vulnerable to attack, according to the report.
- Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Cloud computing, big data, security: What CIOs are spending their budget on this year (ZDNet)
- Google Cloud Platform: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Five major pitfalls to avoid in a cloud migration (ZDNet)
- CIO Jury: 75% of companies have moved to hybrid cloud (TechRepublic)
- How to make CISOs comfortable with cloud security (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.