Keeping up With Rapidly Evolving Cloud Security Tech

Innovative technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and advanced encryption have significant implications for cybersecurity. At the same time, introducing new technologies can produce a skills gap. When this happens, it creates uncertainty for security professionals who do not understand how to best safeguard their infrastructure and data in the face of changing technology, leaving them vulnerable to hackers. As technologies evolve, malicious actors shift their techniques, including adopting new technology themselves and developing strategies that target weaknesses in new systems. To stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape, it is essential that businesses and their security teams continually adapt and improve their defenses.

Maintaining Security in the Cloud

Cloud computing allows consumers to access a shared pool of resources available on demand, including, but not limited to, networks, applications and storage. The rapid shift to cloud computing shows no signs of slowing down. A 2022 Thales report showed that 88% of enterprises stored a significant amount (at least 21%) of their sensitive data in the cloud. Cloud infrastructure is hosted by the cloud provider rather than on an organization’s premises and must be accessed through the internet. This creates the potential for “man-in-the-middle” attacks, in which information is intercepted in transit from one party to another. The same report showed that 45% of organizations had experienced a data breach or failed an audit involving data and applications that reside in the cloud.

On the other hand, integrating cloud technology gives organizations access to increased security expertise, as well as security technologies like multi-factor authentication, encryption and continuous monitoring. Once these security features are in place, the inherent adaptability and flexibility of the cloud allowed organizations to scale their applications with existing security features in place. Strong security in the cloud requires a division of responsibility between the cloud provider and the business. Companies cannot simply rely on third-party providers to be responsible for security. The future of cloud computing may see an increased use of the hybrid cloud model, in which organizations and cloud providers share responsibility for the management of cloud structure, allowing organizations to manage their most sensitive data privately.

Innovative Technologies and Changes in Cybercrime

As advances in digital technology create new opportunities for businesses to innovate and grow, they also force cyberattackers to transform their tactics and techniques. For example, the increasing use of advanced security measures like encryption has made it harder to steal data in transit. One way to utilize encryption technologies against hackers is to encrypt sensitive information and send the key in a separate message, using a different method of information transfer.

As encryption grows stronger, increasingly hackers are using social engineering techniques such as tricking users into revealing their login credentials or installing malware on their devices. This is why regular employee training in security practices is crucial. Employees need to use VPNs, steer clear of free Wi-Fi, avoid manually entering passwords in public and only discuss sensitive information with trusted co-workers in private.

At the same time, technologies like AI and ML are being adopted by cybercriminals to create customized attacks that are difficult to detect and defend against. Attackers can analyze vast amounts of data with AI and ML and use predictive algorithms to identify weak points in a system. Also, code generated by AI/ML can contain potentially exploitable vulnerabilities.

While AI and ML can pose a threat in the hands of hackers, these technologies also have the potential to enhance security. Organizations can use AI/ML to segregate and analyze data, identify patterns, pinpoint suspicious behavior and respond to threats. For example, ML could be used to analyze a consumer’s financial habits and flag suspicious activity that might point to identity theft.

Finally, the expansion of the internet-of-things (IoT), in which a variety of devices are connected to the internet, raises its own set of cybersecurity concerns. The IoT generates vast amounts of data that can be used to improve security. At the same time, it comes with an increased risk of data breaches. IoT devices are often not equipped with the security features of standard machines, and this can create opportunities for cyberattackers. If an organization chooses to make use of the IoT, ensuring the security of connected devices is crucial.

Ensuring Cybersecurity in the Face of Technological Change

Maintaining effective cybersecurity measures requires a combination of proactive measures and ongoing vigilance. Organizations can benefit from employing a “defense-in-depth,” strategy that consists of multiple levels of security to secure their data and infrastructure. Regular software and systems updates are well advised, as are thorough risk assessments and threat monitoring. Careful permissions monitoring is vital. Compliance, including security operations and audit compliance, is another important piece of the cybersecurity puzzle.

It is essential that the human element of security is not neglected. Employee training on how to keep sensitive information out of the hands, eyes and ears of malicious actors is vital. It is also important to prepare for the inevitability of breaches by maintaining a robust and regularly updated cybersecurity incident response plan. Proper network segmentation can reduce the damage done by a single cyberattack by limiting its spread. Data loss prevention (DLP) tools, used when appropriate, help prevent sensitive information from being compromised. Despite advanced security measures, all types of data—from personally identifiable information to operational data—are vulnerable to cyberattacks, so organizations in all sectors stand to benefit from a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

The future of cybersecurity is likely to be shaped by the increased use of AI, more stringent regulations and the continued growth of cloud technology. Threats from cybercrime will increase in the face of new and rapidly changing technologies; however, with proper security practices, these same technologies can be harnessed by businesses to keep their data and infrastructure safe. By staying up-to-date on the latest threats and innovations in cybersecurity, businesses can better protect themselves and their customers from the growing risk of cybercrime.

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Ashok Kumar Padmaraju

Ashok is a technology leader with strong experience in network, storage, cloud, backup, server, security and virtualization analysis.

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