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CIOs lose visibility and control over apps and workloads in the cloud

The visibility and control of applications and workloads is expected to increase as most organizations race to move to the cloud because of the size and complexity of cloud attacks, according to an experienced security expert.

"Companies store data in more than one environment, and so the hybrid IT environment challenges existing security standards and creates complexity while eliminating existing older cyber defense tools & processes," said Sunil Varkey, Chief Technology Officer and Security Strategist for Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe at Symantec, told TechRadar Middle East.

"Organizations have completely lost visibility and control over the environment by switching to the multi-tenanted cloud providers and the heterogeneous environment of the cloud. They cannot properly manage the identity and authentication of the organization due to the highly fragmented set of security and compliance checks, "he said.

Basic safety

He said the fundamental thing about safety is that companies need visibility and control over the environment in which they find themselves.

"Traditionally we worked on a protrust model where we know where data and security are stored and which devices and IT have access to it, and we also had control over it. When we moved to the cloud, we touched all these aspects Previously, control was under the CIO or an IT manager, where the infrastructure is used to work, "he said.

In addition, he said that companies run their own IT and that users have their preferences or choices in apps and CIOs run their apps, so the cloud is extremely decentralized.

"So the responsibility is not established. The control over the environment is lost and therefore the number of attacks in the cloud is increasing," he said.

CIOs don't get a better grip on the cloud apps used by their organizations, because every department can use a public cloud app service, he said.

Unless CIO ' s don't get a better grasp of the apps, he says this will lead to ' unwanted surprises ' both in the scope of the problem and in the way threats enter the environment.

When you look at security in the cloud, he said there are four components:

Security during access to the cloud

Security of apps and information that are in the cloud

Security of the cloud

Good governance and accountability

Quality skillset is an urgent challenge

So who is the actual owner of the data in the cloud? Is it the developer who pushed the apps to the cloud or the entity?

Varkey said it is a shared responsibility directly from senior management to the cloud providers.

"There are centralized solutions for the cloud to get visibility and control, but quality qualification is an urgent challenge. There is no traditional way to do that, but there are automated solutions and analysis services, including AI and machine learning, for risky behavior to identify and prioritize, identify malicious users, and escalate critical security notifications, "he said.

It is not the lack of technology that is the hurdle and it is also not an expensive affair, he added.

For the time being he said there is a way to encrypt the data in the cloud, but this is generally accepted, no. "Ideally, this is required because we have unauthorized access in the cloud. Multiple attacks are carried out due to overexposure of data in the cloud. The question is whether we should do coding or masking. There are different ways depending on the environment and regulatory compliance. To start coding, you need to know what you are talking about and where it is stored, "he said.

Insider threats become a problem

Organizations need to re-align and reinvent their security programs for the new era, he said. External bad actors are not the only cause of security incidents and data breaches, but the cause of an attack in the cloud can also be an insider.

"Insider threats are becoming a problem; it is purely coincidental and not malicious. Malware is another major problem in the cloud," he said.

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute in the Middle East, the main threats to the exposure of sensitive or confidential data are errors by employees and temporary or contract workers.

Immature security practices such as weak passwords, the use of personal work devices and shared unique credentials lead to serious gaps in an organization, he said and added that users should become the owners of avoiding bad data hygiene practices.

"Organizations need to redesign their security architecture and policies while embracing automation to meet the challenges of evolving cloud threats," said Varkey.

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