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Friday, 01 July 2022 16:51

What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud

By George Tsoukas, ANZ manager, Gigamon
George Tsoukas, ANZ Manager, Gigamon George Tsoukas, ANZ Manager, Gigamon

GUEST OPINION: Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.

The resulting survey of 300-plus executives in ANZ, Singapore and Japan reveals that cloud adoption has been growing rapidly as organisations undergo digital transformation to address the rapidly changing business environment.

For cloud adoption, 53% of respondents have more than half of their workloads in the cloud, while 45% of cloud adopters consider themselves cloud native and 60% have 11-20 applications in the cloud.

The majority (56%) of respondents prefer a hybrid cloud approach. Generally, they want more granular control and visibility of their networks. In multi-cloud, the most popular (61%) number of cloud service providers in use for multi-cloud organisations is two.

Cloud responsibility and security is always top of mind. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a cloud service structure used to access cloud compute, storage and networking on demand. In IaaS models, the CSP is solely responsible for physical security, and shares responsibility with the customer for the host infrastructure and network controls.

In security, an alarming 72% of cloud adopters in APAC do not have all their cloud workloads secured, while 63% of respondents have experienced at least one incident in the past year.

Visibility into container traffic is seen as the most important functional area for deploying network-based security and analytics. Some 68% of respondents refresh their security tools every three to four years.

The main cloud security concern is network threat detection and response. Organisations seek the ability to see both north-south and east-west traffic across their networks.

Network challenges

Respondents disclosed that their five main network visibility challenges are:

1.  The high cost of network traffic sent to tools, inability to aggregate and forward optimised traffic to the proper tools, difficulty in scaling out network visibility, and an inability to monitor traffic between virtual machines and/or containers.

2.  Ransomware on cloud workloads: The rising frequency of ransomware attacks could cost organisations millions if not properly protected against.

3.  Cryptocurrency mining: Cloud cryptojacking would not only mean that compute resources are being stolen, but also the communications service provider (CSP) could be compromised.

4.  Hosting malware on cloud resources: CSPs have knowingly hosted malware in their cloud storage which may compromise the resources of other cloud tenants.

5.  Data exfiltration: Inadequate protection on the CSP’s part could lead to costly data exfiltration of sensitive data stored on the cloud.

A breakdown of how organisations are using cloud reveals that 23% use a multi cloud approach, and 93% have a third party network-based cloud security solution in place or are planning to implement within 12 months.

Use of an observability tool to monitor on-prem/cloud workloads is favoured by 89%, while 61% seek the ability to streamline all cloud traffic without compromising fidelity.

For managing security across multiple clouds, the most popular approach is to cover some, but not all, cloud workloads. This implies that a significant number of cloud workloads are still potentially exposed to threats.

Our survey found that only 28% of organisations secure their cloud workloads across all cloud vendors and environments, while 48% secure cloud workloads across some cloud vendors and environments, and 23% have a third party responsible for securing cloud workloads.

Some 61% are able to streamline all cloud traffic without compromising fidelity, and 47% have 101-1,000 virtual machines running in the cloud.

Visibility is key

A high 91% of respondents say visibility of network traffic is important or critically important when considering cloud security tools.

Organisations need to see their entire threat surface in order to protect it, and seek to find a way to streamline cloud traffic without giving up on data fidelity. Protection across deployments is critical, and monitoring must be able to cover all assets regardless of deployment.

According to the Frost & Sullivan research, 89% of respondents currently have existing tools monitoring both on-premise and cloud environments. They are placing the highest weightage on the minimisation and elimination of tool or vendor specific agent deployments.

Maximise efficiency

The most common challenge respondents face in managing their cloud workloads is the high cost of network traffic. Zero trust is perceived to be the most crucial emerging cybersecurity concept.

Organisations will need to evaluate how future-ready potential security solutions are and how well they fit into existing environments before committing to a purchase.

The most common challenge respondents face in managing their cloud workloads is the high cost of network traffic. Zero trust is perceived to be the most crucial emerging cybersecurity concept. Clearly, businesses will need to evaluate how future-ready potential security solutions are and how well they fit into existing environments before committing to a purchase.

Ideally, they should seek a deep observability pipeline that harnesses actionable network-level intelligence to amplify the power of their observability tools to manage hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures.

Such a solution would deliver the control required to simplify workload deployments to the hybrid cloud. It must be able to extend on-prem and cloud-based tools to maintain security and compliance, while applying context from network and application data for consistent observability.

Finally the solution should provide pervasive deep observability into data-in-motion between on-premises, virtual and public clouds, and the tools used to secure and manage them.

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