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With a global data volume expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025, it’s clear that data is growing rapidly. Together, with massive amounts of data to store and manage, organizations are embracing cloud adoption. Especially during the pandemic, since remote working became the norm, cloud adoption soared as many organizations migrated their applications and data from data centers to the cloud.

This year, Gartner predicts that global cloud revenue will reach $474 billion, up from $408 billion in 2021. By 2025, Gartner predicts that 85% of all organizations will be cloud-first.

With increased cloud usage, the security of the cloud becomes a great concern. Whether organizations adopt private; public; or a hybrid cloud, cloud-based data and applications must be protected from malicious thefts and attacks, similar to how data must be kept secured for on premise systems. Cloud security also works to prevent human error and negligence which can result in data leaks. Through planning and policies, cloud security is the cybersecurity of cloud computing systems founded on a set of technologies, processes, and best practices to prevent cloud-native information from being breached.

A weak cloud security system can expose organizations to cyber security threats that arise from malicious attacks, internal threats which stem from human error, and creates risks to cloud-based infrastructure. Statistics from IBM and the Ponemon Institute revealed that from 2020 to 2021, the average cost of a data breach grew from $3.86 million to $4.24 million — a hefty price to pay for data breaches which could have been prevented.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global cloud security market is expected to grow from $33.13 billion in 2022 to $106.02 billion by 2029. A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1% can be attributed to a surge in activities such as storage applications and managed container services. Of which, the Asia Pacific is predicted to contribute significantly to the burgeoning global cloud security market.

For instance, in Japan, cloud services have been identified as a priority for securing economic growth, which in turn places importance on the cloud security market. In a survey by PWC, cloud security is found to be the top investment priority for organizations surveyed in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Strategies for Cloud Security

With the cloud, there is no border. This highly connected environment poses greater vulnerabilities. Compared to managing data in local data centers, managing privacy and data protection present more complexities in the cloud. Among many organizations, a rapid shift to the cloud creates many blind spots which must be identified and resolved quickly.

Organizations should weigh the risks in adopting a public cloud, and before implementing it, have in place a comprehensive risk management strategy to reduce and manage risks. Such threats increase in multi-cloud environments as organizations are exposed to a greater attack surface and reduced visibility. Organizations have to adopt multi-cloud protection, identify a framework to support different authentication models across providers, and have a holistic view of systems to monitor and counter incoming threats.

A key step is implementing end-to-end encryption for data uploaded to a cloud environment. An encryption code converts data from plain text into an unreadable format before it is uploaded to the cloud. This protects data in transit and at rest from unauthorized or malicious users to ensure that data is not compromised.

In addition, cloud security powered by AI and automation enables real-time threat detection and risk assessment of cloud-native data and applications to help anticipate and preempt risk exposures. Sound cloud security policies and governance in dynamic cloud environments also play a large role in ensuring security standards meet industry requirements.

As vulnerabilities on the cloud continue to hike, and threat actors are constantly evolving their strategies, cybersecurity mesh will become an important feature for enterprises as they introduce cloud services into their zero-trust architecture.

Major cloud players including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have already been investing heavily to improve cloud security, with several acquisitions into cloud security in the past year. Last year, for example, Microsoft acquired CloudKnox Security, a provider of cloud infrastructure entitlement management technology, as well as RiskIQ who specializes in threat intelligence and attack surface management. Owing to strong market demands, Microsoft continues to ramp up spending on cybersecurity. In fact, Microsoft’s security business reportedly grew faster than other main products last year. 

Moving forward, cloud services will continue to drive unprecedented business innovation and growth. Organizations have to keep abreast with evolving risks and stay ahead of stricter compliance requirements as they confront a more sophisticated threat-scape.

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